Trevor Estes became a single father as a teen, but there was nothing that he wouldn’t do for his son, Riley. When Riley joins the military, Trevor is constantly on edge and his worst nightmare becomes reality when Riley is killed in combat. Trevor is lost in his grief with seemingly no way out.
Jesse Byrne did not make the best first impression on Trevor the only time they met. Jesse was so jealous of Trevor being comfortable as a gay man that he was rude and disrespectful. His attitude harmed his relationship with Riley until Riley realized what was going on with Trevor and the two become best friends while fighting a brutal war. When Jesse arrives at Trevor’s door with the last of Riley’s personal items, Trevor and Jesse bond over their shared grief. Neither man thought they could find what they needed with each other, and their grief may just be too much to overcome to secure a future together.
I have read most of Melanie Hansen’s books and Point of Contact is so well written and to my view stands out from her other books. This story is largely about grief. There is the relationship between Trevor and Jesse and there is a glimmer of hope, but the thread of grief is predominantly strong throughout the book.
The impact of the grief is also strong due to the delivery of the story. The first part of the book counts down from the months before Riley’s death and Riley is an on-page character. We see his bond with Trevor and then his bond with Jesse through their eyes, and then the grisly reality of war. When Trevor gets the news, it alters him completely and forever.
Trevor was a teenage father and developed an incredibly close bond with Riley. Trevor worked hard and their reward was a beautiful home in which they made a lifetime of memories. Trevor was also in a relationship with, and engaged to Carl, and their relationship shattered under the force of Trevor’s grief.
Jesse comes from a completely different place. His parents were older when they had him and they both have since died, leaving him on his own. He can’t come out due to his place in the military and when he meets Trevor for the first time, he is overcome with jealously at seeing Trevor so open and secure with his sexuality.
After Riley dies, Trevor and Jesse bond over their grief and become dependent on each other while falling in love. Their relationship moves forward in increments, much like how they process their grief. Still, the relationship is second to the grief that drives every moment of Trevor’s life. The writing completely draws you in to the atmosphere as Trevor takes one fragile step at a time as he reluctantly learns to live without Riley. The book completely captures the feeling that while over time Riley’s presence will begin to fade, the long-standing memories remain.
The only part of the book I hesitated with was Jesse’s character. While he became what Trevor needed, he wasn’t a dynamic character for me and he stayed largely on the page and was a bit bland. Given the overwhelming sadness in the book, I could have used a little more from the partner chosen for Trevor.
The ending and epilogue offers hope, but the thread of grief and sadness remains even during those times. Point of Contact is a well written book depicting grief, moving on, and finding the will to love again and is certainly a recommended choice for a book that carries heavier themes that will stay with you well after the last page.