Bennett lives in a small town in Washington state. He doesn’t normally have to commute to Seattle, but as he’s trying to land a promotion, he’s been commuting by train to the main office. Bennett’s life is busy. With his wife living out of town to attend college, the care of his two young sons falls mostly on him. He loves his kids, but his life is lonely and routine and he knows he feels resentful. Every morning Bennett sees the same man on the train and slowly the men start to exchange a few words.
Kieran commutes every day and maybe he looks for the same man on the train. The men strike up a casual acquaintance and then their lives intersect in unexpected ways. The draw between them is undeniable and too strong to resist. Bennett has never been attracted to a man before, but Kieran is everything he didn’t even know he wanted. Kieran has known he was gay since he was a teen, but he knows his conservative Irish family would never have accepted it. While his wife knows who he is, she thought he would change after they got married and it’s not something they discuss. Kieran loves his daughter, but his life is choking him and Bennett is the only thing that makes him feel complete.
Neither man wants to be in the position they find themselves in, but they cannot stay away from each other. The love and passion they share is all consuming, but remains hidden until Bennett can’t stand keeping their relationship a secret anymore. However, Kieran can’t find his way to come out for fear of losing everything. Neither man wants to go back, but there doesn’t seem to be a way forward either.
I have read a number of books by Cara Dee and she excels here in her characterization. The book is told through Bennett’s eyes and we get a great sense of who is and where he is in his life. We also get an amazing sense of who Kieran is without ever being directly in his POV.
One of the main topics that needs to be brought up here is that Kiernan and Bennett are both married to women and both have children and carry on an affair. We are given a great sense of their lives, but they are still cheating on their wives and I know that is an absolute deal breaker for some readers. However, Dee shows a scenario that is not black and white and this story on the edge completely drew me in.
Since the book is highly character driven, not a lot can be said as their day-to-day life unravels, and we learn the circumstances of their marriages and how they came to be where they are. The book doesn’t try to excuse the cheating, but shows what drew the men to each other. Kieran has a lot of issues to work through regarding his family and has all but resigned himself to never living authentically, and this is not an easy road for him or for them as a couple. When the men are together you can see the passion they have for each other. They both also make their children a priority and here the children add another layer to their story.
The book did have a dated aspect to it and it was never directly stated that the book was not in present day. Same sex marriage was not yet legal in all states, but we aren’t told this until later in the book. Before that, we get glimpses of them using a film camera, getting their first iPhone, and using the Sunday paper for classifieds and for most of the book these details read as being off to me as the year the book took place in was never indicated. The book is also part of the Camassia Cove series, which connects the books by the small town they are set in. While you may see a previous character make an appearance, this book does stand alone.
This book could be controversial for some readers, but I was completely caught up in this heartfelt, intense story that dug deep into the lives of the men and showed the difficulty encountered as Bennett and Kieran reach for a life together.