It’s been a few years since both of Archer’s parents were killed and the grief is still sharp and all consuming. He drags himself through life going to college and trying to put on a good front for his best friend, Danny, but Archer is wickedly depressed. The only solace he can find is at the gun range where he excels and also feels closer to his father.
When Danny invites Archer to come home with him for the holidays, Archer meets Danny’s father, Mallory. Mallory understands grief since his wife, Danny’s mother, died of cancer and the men form an understanding despite their age difference. Mallory lives a solitary life in Banff and when Archer unexpectedly stays for longer than expected, the two of them bind in ways they never could have anticipated. But love between the men is difficult when you are already starting with half a heart.
This is the third book I have read by Nash Summers and they have all been vastly different. Arrows Through Archer is a contemporary novel that follows Archer and then Mallory as they slowly make their way through grief and to each other.
The book is divided into two sections with both Archer and Mallory getting point of view. The first section is the before with the second section being the after and this directly relates to the relationship between Archer and Mallory. Archer is heavily depressed since the death of his parents and more than once he has considered taking his own life. Danny is a great friend to him and is about the only tether that Archer has to reel him back in time and again. That is until Archer meets Danny’s father.
When Archer stays with Mallory for an extended period of time, the men form a bond. They innately understand each other and it’s a slow build in getting these guys to open up. But Mallory isn’t really ready for anything. He’s never had a relationship with a man, he feels guilty due to the memory of his wife, and he has no way to process the age difference between him and Archer. In the one moment he pushes Archer away, he alters their lives.
I liked the story that was being told here, but I felt fairly removed from their relationship. The author does a great job of exposing both Archer and Mallory’s grief, yet their relationship and the attraction stayed on the surface for me. We are told more than we are shown of the attraction and growing bond between the men and there was consistently something missing for me throughout the entire book. There were also various details that built up that often left me distracted. While I’m not going to list all of them, to give you an idea, after Archer was injured he was on crutches for a while. Both his arm and leg were injured with his arm sustaining the worst of the injuries. We are told often of the pain he is in due to this arm, his arm is in a cast as well as a sling, yet we are constantly told how he is using crutches and it’s details like this that pulled me from the story time and again.
I was mostly fine while reading this book, but when I would put it down there was little motivation to pick it back up again. The ending was also less than satisfying for me as again there was just something missing. However, if you enjoy this author’s work this could be one to look into.