Two lonely men cross paths and their lives change forever. When Oren’s mother takes a spill, it’s her neighbor, Pete, who is there to get her to the hospital. Oren, who was out of town at the time, returns immediately and, after making sure his mom is doing well, seeks out Pete to thank him for all he’d done. Pete is a divorcee—something Oren doesn’t know. What Oren does know is that the man is deliciously attractive and there seems to be something brewing between them. When Pete fills Owen in on his past and the fact that he is bisexual, Oren decides that he really wants to get to know this knight in shining armor a whole lot better. Given that both men are older, they are up front about their desire to communicate and get to know one another rather than just rushing into sex—not that they both aren’t physically attracted to each other as well. Pete and Oren soon discover they have much in common, especially when it comes to the desire to find a love that will last.
Nell Iris has released a beautiful romance in Of Autumn Leaves and New Beginnings. While this one barely makes the novella page requirement and could even be argued that it’s more a short story than anything else, the story still seems complete in many ways. A sure sign of an author who really understands how to craft a shorter story that packs all the punch of a full length novel is the way in which they can give just enough background while still moving the plot to a swift conclusion. That must be done without sacrificing any of the rich emotion needed for the reader to feel as though they come away understanding the characters involved. This is something Nell Iris does so well—she genuinely loads her short books with deep emotional pathos and men that grab your attention right away.
I really enjoyed the fact that Oren and Pete were older and knew what they were looking for in a potential partner. This novella was low to no angst with more focus on establishing their interest in one another. With just enough passage of time marked in each chapter, this was no insta-love trope, but rather a quick acknowledgement of how well these two fit together. Oren was delightfully shy and a bit awkward at times and Pete was just incredibly sweet. They made a lovely match.
If you are one that enjoys a quick, but fulfilling romance with no real angst, then look no further than Nell Iris’ Of Autumn Leaves and New Beginnings. It left me with a warm glow and a big smile—just the right prescription for a bit of escape from these turbulent days we live in.