Eric and his two friends, Mark and Devin, may have changed their names, but they can never change their past. Being brought up in an orphanage run by priests has left its share of scars and memories that Eric would love to forget. Unfortunately, the day Jimmy arrives at Eric’s business seeking a job, he brings with him the worst bits of their shared past and Eric cannot help but try to make amends—without actually revealing who he is and the bully he once was to little boys like Jimmy. Now, wading through waves of attraction, remorse, and guilt, Eric is poised on the edge of losing his mind and heart to the one man who holds the key to a past that haunts Eric to this day.
A.F. Henley has re-released a wrenching novel that begs the question, can we ever really undo past mistakes? We Three Kings looks at three boys who survived unspeakable abuse at the hands of men who should have cared for and nurtured them while watching over the boys at their orphanage. Never delving into actual explicit memories, but always skirting the edge of informing the reader of what made Eric, Mark, and Devin the men they are today, this novel grapples with the idea that guilt is a powerful force—one that can make us better and one that can keep us trapped in the past.
But this novel is also about forgiveness and healing, as well as rediscovering a romance that has laid dormant for years, but still remains strong. There was so much about We Three Kings that worked. The emotional turmoil Eric experiences felt incredibly real and I found I didn’t need graphic details about his past in order to understand the trauma he had endured. The dynamic between the three men was intense and sometimes felt a bit forced, especially in regards Mark’s behavior, and yet the ending where the three confronted the past together was so very powerful.
Then there was Jimmy, who really was the catalyst for Eric to begin to understand that he alone held on to memories that were not always kind to him and that painted a skewed picture of just how much culpability he really had in terms of his past behavior. Jimmy was the balm that Eric needed and yet feared. But through his gentle attempts at simply loving Eric, he causes the dam to burst and the past to finally purge itself.
We Three Kings is a lovely hurt/comfort romance that allows two men to finally leave the past behind and embrace a love that has lay dormant for so very long.
Note: This book is a re-release of a story originally published elsewhere