Sean is a bit of a jerk—an angry, mean-spirited jerk. One could argue that losing one’s legs from the knees down gives a person a pass at being a decent human being, but Sean’s physiotherapist, Paul Gill, isn’t so sure. After all, if being a brown-skinned Sikh wasn’t enough to set off the racist in his patient, the fact that he is also gay probably did the job. But Paul soon finds out that Sean hides a lot beneath his petulant, nasty façade—namely courage, determination, and a hopeless belief that his life is basically over. His virulent tongue also hides a huge heart—one that might not be as homophobic as he passes himself off to be and is definitely invested in seeing if Paul can ever find any value in a broken loser like Sean.
Kate Sherwood delivers a marvelous hurt/comfort novel in her latest book, The Long Way Home. Sean is an absolute mess and not very likeable at the beginning of this story, but once his best friend Luke takes him in hand and tells him to straighten up or else, Sean begins to reluctantly change. However, the real turning point in this story is when Sean finds that plastic bag. Honesty, I so wish I could tell you more about that, but suffice it to say, this entire story takes this phenomenal turn into the brilliant stage when that happens. The dialogue, the interactions between the characters, the way in which Sean slowly but surely transforms —it all works incredibly well. It’s entertaining, it’s magical, and it is most definitely the sweetest and most clever of ways in which an author has morphed an intensely hateful character into someone you just want to wrap up in a huge hug.
I loved Paul and Sean together, almost as much as I did Mark and Luke from Mark of Cain. This foursome and the time they spend trying to talk Sean into living his life again rather than shutting everyone out and acting like a rabid dog is pure reading gold. I can’t find enough superlatives to express how much I enjoyed this novel. I want to tell you all kinds of things about it, but to do so would really spoil what I think are critical secrets that you should discover for yourself. Suffice it to say that this is a hard fought romance. Paul makes a stupid mistake at one point, but thankfully is quick to realize that sacrificing a life he once thought he needed for the one that Sean promises to give will bring him true happiness.
The Long Way Home is a beautiful story of second chances, recovery, and coming out. It’s a novel that encourages its characters to finally be true to themselves and have the courage to accept who they really are. It packed a huge emotional punch, using humor, a tiny bit of angst, and a whole lot of truth. I loved this story and I highly recommend it to you.