In the days after the winter storm that threw Aaron and David into each other’s arms, the men have some things to work out as far as their relationship is concerned. They know they want to spend more time together, but there is some unfinished business they have to work out before they can truly start their lives together. Aaron’s PTSD begins to show itself even more, especially through nightmares, and his ex is in Boston…dying. David’s ex does and says some very cruel things that cut him to the core, and he doesn’t expect that. Aaron and David have some choices to make, one of them being whether or not they’re going to take the big step into the unknown…to happiness.
Right off the bat, I’m going to tell you how I was a little nervous when I discovered one of my favorite books of the year, Into the Gray, had a sequel. That book was perfection and I hold it very close to my heart. However, there’s no reason for me to worry. A Lighter Shade of Blue is the sequel of my dreams. It’s as perfect, or close to perfect, as the original. Instead of taking away my memories of Aaron and David, I think it brings me even closer to them that I already am. It’s one of those books that I call “So Nice I Read It Twice.” In fact, as I write this review, I’m skimming it again.
The story picks up right as the first left off. Aaron and David have spent a wonderful weekend together in what amounts to a bubble. Snowed in, they have deep conversations and make love (a lot). David realizes he’s definitely bisexual, and Aaron seems to settle on what he wants to do with his life. Now, they have to decide of that magical weekend will be the beginning of a life together, or if it’s just that weekend, leaving them with wonderful memories, but leading separate lives alone.
The author brilliantly bares the souls of Aaron and David here in this story. They’re at a very important place in their lives and Feeley has such a smooth writing style, I’m able to “see” everything that’s happening. I know what Aaron and David look like. I know what the snow in Detroit looks like, I know what the little bar where they sing karaoke looks like. In a relatively short book, the amount of detail is perfect. It’s not overwhelming, so the characters are the main focus. It’s just right.
The issues the men are dealing with are very real, whether is Aaron’s PTSD, or his ex wasting away in a hospital in Boston, or David’s ex wife. Nothing is sugar coated, and the ugly side of humanity is exposed. This ugliness allows us to see the light Aaron and David create as they comfort each other. Also, the dialogue in A Lighter Shade of Blue is skillfully written. Nothing feels forced or stilted in any situation they face. Their first Christmas together is beautiful. With a smile on my face, and tears in my eyes, I finally feel secure. That scene alone is one of the best reasons this book is a true delight.
There are a few background characters who play an important role in the story. Aaron’s friends Dee Dee and Erica become David’s friends as well. They’re supportive of both men, but more than anything, they want to make sure Aaron will be ok. They’re fiercely protective of him. David’s ex, Laura, does exactly what she’s supposed to by being so mean to him, but surprises him in the end. Then, there’s Roger, Aaron’s ex. He’s almost like the boogie man of his past, and when Aaron heads to Boston to face that demon, Roger is able to wordlessly help Aaron feel free.
The ending left me with a feeling of hope for the new year and beyond. Things tie up nicely…I would even say perfectly. I am completely satisfied with it, but I’m going to admit I’d absolutely love a third book because I don’t want to give Aaron and David up. They’re in my heart and head, and they’ll be there forever.
Just a quick note here. I don’t believe A Lighter Shade of Blue should be read without reading Into the Gray first. There is some exposition, but I don’t think it’s enough for you to read this as a stand alone. However, with as much as I’ve gushed over it, you won’t be sorry. Aaron and David are worth your time, and I can’t recommend these books enough.