Josiah Nelson has come home after five years. If he’d had his way, he would have never come back. But his father has died and despite the way things ended, Josiah has to deal with the family ranch and tie up loose ends. He just wants to be done with it all, but when Wyatt Aames shows up, Josiah remembers that not everything was terrible back home.
Wyatt is the boy Josiah left behind, the best friend who was out and proud and, while there may have been something more for them, Josiah left before they could explore their feelings. But Wyatt is ready to make up for lost time and help Josiah remember that he always has a family waiting to love him, if he’s just courageous enough to risk his heart.
Finally Home – Josiah is the first in a series exploring a son’s return home after a difficult childhood. On one hand, Josiah’s traumatic experiences offer a level of emotional depth that I truly enjoyed. Unfortunately, the pacing is awkward and the relationship between Josiah and Wyatt strains believability.
After his mother died, Josiah’s tense relationship with his father devolved further, thanks to the man’s chronic alcoholism and homophobia. After a violent beating, Josiah fled and left everything behind, both good and bad. His emotional struggle upon returning home plays out with a visceral angst and I felt this came through with painful clarity. It was easy to feel sympathy for him and to want that pain to find resolution. And while neither Josiah or Wyatt’s characters are fully developed, with regards to his grief, Josiah offers the reader a measure of real depth.
When Josiah left, he and Wyatt were close friends but nothing more and Josiah has been gone for years. Within a day of his return, Wyatt is proclaiming his love and promising Josiah forever and the moon. And Josiah is cool with it. Aside from the fact all this is happening when Josiah is burying his father, the idea that these two men are just going to jump into relationship is pretty ridiculous. It didn’t come off as romantic to me, but as too much too soon. Part of this comes down to pacing; so many things in this book feel rushed or uneven and, as a result, the story ends up lopsided and lacking credibility. If we’d read anything of their previous friendship, then maybe I could roll with it, but as it stands, the entire thing seemed to come out of nowhere.
Finally Home-Josiah does a good job of portraying grief and the myriad of conflicting emotions that come with it, but as a story it falls flat. It never manages to find an even balance between its pacing and weakly supported plot. This one just didn’t work for me.