In high school, Pax Marshall realized he was gay because of his attraction to his older brother’s best friend. In the intervening 20 years, Pax hasn’t seen Brad Watson often, but the attraction between them is still as strong as ever. When Pax’s brother dies, Brad is there for him. And now, two years later, Brad is back in town for his 20th high school reunion.
Brad has wanted Pax since they were teenagers, but it took him a long time to accept that he was gay. And when he told his best friend, he also admitted his attraction to Pax, and Rob warned Brad away from Pax. But now, Brad has a plan in place. He’s going back to tiny Ames Bridge so he can attend his reunion, but he’s using the excuse to finally act on his feelings for Pax.
Once Pax and Brad finally get together, their emotions explode. But Ames Bridge isn’t the most accepting place. When Brad decides to make a statement in order to announce his sexuality, things go as badly as Pax fears. Pax is certain Brad won’t want to stay, and Brad can’t believe Pax is giving up. If the two men can just listen to each other, then they’ll be able to find their happily ever after.
The Past Comes Home is the second book in Silvia Violet’s Ames Bridge series, and it works fine as a standalone. I read the first book, and while Pax is a secondary character there, you don’t have to have read that book for this one to make sense.
Where Violet excels for me is characterization. Here we have two MCs who have both pined for the other. While this could have been too over the top, the author makes it work. These guys are believable in their attraction to each other, and how that could sustain over twenty or so years. I especially like that Brad had very realistic trouble of coming to terms with his sexuality, and then feeling like he needed to hide it for years before he was ready to tell his family, and then subsequently friends. It really added a nice layer to the story.
What I loved about this story is the connection between Pax and Brad. It was easy to see, right from the beginning, and I liked how it continued to grow as they got to know each other again. I also liked how there were hints about who they were when they were teenagers, so the reader could see that they’ve grown and changed, but are still, ultimately, the same type of people. These guys really worked, and their chemistry was outstanding. They drove the book.
The plot was a little predictable. Not necessarily a bad thing, but there were no surprises here. It all worked within the confines of the story, but I would have liked to see a twist or something that I wasn’t expecting to really take this story to the next level. I was here for the characters and watching them figure out how they would make a relationship work, so even though the plot was a little lacking for me, it didn’t bring things down too much.
All in all, this was a nice read. The MCs drive the story, and their connection and relationship makes it all worth it. If you’re looking for an easy read with a bit of angst to give the story some weight, then this is for you.