Easton lost his husband five years ago to a tragic accident. As much as it crushed him to let Paul go, Easton donated Paul’s heart to save another man’s life. Now Easton is living as a shell of his former self, still lost in grief for Paul and their life together. He thinks knowing a bit about the man who has Paul’s heart will give him some closure, but he never plans on actually meeting River. However, when circumstances bring the men together, the two men connect in surprising ways.
Ever since he got a new chance at life after his heart transplant, River has felt a sense of loneliness, a feeling that something is missing that he just doesn’t understand. When he meets Easton, suddenly River finds a friendship that begins to turn into more. The men are a perfect fit, and even though they take things slowly as Easton begins to move on from Paul, it is everything that River could want.
Easton never expected to find a love again like he had with Paul, but meeting River is bringing a light back into his life. Things would be perfect, except for the fact that Easton hasn’t been able to bring himself to tell River that he has Paul’s heart. He knows that he must tell him, but Easton worries it will drive a wedge between what they are building. Now Easton must come clean about their shared history if there is a chance for the men to build a new life together.
Change of Heart is a sweet and romantic story about moving past grief and finding a second chance at love. At its root, this is a simple story about two men falling in love. While we know that Easton’s secret about Paul’s heart is a conflict waiting to strike, most of the book focuses on Easton and River’s developing relationship. It is a slow build as Easton comes to terms with the idea of finding love again after Paul. He has been living mostly in stasis for the past five years and, at first, he isn’t ready to explore things with River. But River is incredibly patient, always going at Easton’s pace and building a friendship that eventually turns into more. For his part, River has always known he is bisexual, but never been involved with a man, so he too needs time to adjust to this new relationship. Neuhold does a really nice job here with the pacing, giving the story the slow build that it needs, but also providing a really warm and sexy connection as the guys build their relationship.
Sometimes with books where you know the conflict from the start, it can distract from the story just waiting for the crisis to finally hit. However, in this case, I really found that things worked. Perhaps it’s because Neuhold does such a great job building the connection between the men and the story really focuses on their love and their growing relationship. So while I knew the conflict was coming, I still was able to sink into the story as I watched Easton and River falling for one another. It was easy to understand Easton’s hesitation to share the truth about Paul’s heart right away and so I didn’t feel the frustration with lack of communication that I can sometimes experience with this type of story.
Overall, this is really a lovely book about two men finding happiness together. It is sweet and romantic and a little bit angsty and it just really worked for me. I loved seeing Easton move forward with a second chance at love, and for him and River to find happiness together.