Rating: 4.5 stars
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As a soldier there were none braver than Micah Hudson. But in his private life, Micah never stopped running. He ran from his wife and child, ran from his home, and ran from Jude. As teenagers, he and Jude found a measure of truth in one another. And then anger and fear broke them apart. Now, Micah has returned from the war missing an arm, struggling with PTSD, and wrestling with his sexuality.
Jude MacMillan has come a long way from the overweight teen mourning the loss of his mother while attempting to care for his alcoholic father. His biggest regret is the day he drove Micah away and he never expected to see the man turn up on his doorstep. Gone is the confident Army brat who stole his heart. A man broken by war and burdened by secrets has replaced him. But they fit perfectly once and that hasn’t changed. In order to make what they left behind work again, Jude and Micah will need to confront the past and accept the men they have become.
Unsteady was an excellent book that found its stride from the beginning and rarely foundered. The writing is strong and evocative without being melodramatic or maudlin. The angst is heavy and the author doesn’t pull a lot of punches. There is a lot of pain and none of it easily resolved. Micah is truly a broken man. He’s return from war missing an arm and wrestling with more demons than most. He loves his son and even cares for his wife but has known he was gay since he was teen. Lying to her and to himself isn’t an option anymore. Jude has carried the burden of his alcoholic father nearly all his life and finds himself torn between duty and a desire for freedom. These men are only whole when they are together and that sense of belonging comes through time and time again. Both are sweet and endearing and it’s impossible not to champion their romance.
The only real flaw that Unsteady is its rather disjointed sense of time and place. There is a lot of jumping back and forth in time from chapter to chapter and occasionally even within the same chapter. Added to this is a frequent change of voice from Jude to Micah, who are both written in the first person. This all creates a bit too much confusion regarding who is speaking and when in time the action is occurring. This is frustrating enough that it can yank you out of the deeper moments this book does so well.
Unsteady is a wonderful book. The pacing is solid, the characters are well rounded and relatable, and the plot is strong. It falters with setting a solid sense of time and place and this tends to be a bit jumbled. But it doesn’t take away from the overall strengths of Unsteady. If you like angst and broken men who manage to heal one another, consider this one a must read.
This sounds intriguing. Thanks for your review, Sue.