Law isn’t looking for love, but he certainly is all for a one-night stand with the gorgeous younger man he meets at his favorite bar. After a great night of sex, Law’s shocked to find out the guy is well into his thirties—still quite an age gap from Law’s sixty-five, but Curtis doesn’t seem to mind so why not take a chance and have a second date? The more time they spend together, the more Law realizes that hiding the fact that he’s a mechanic from a surgeon like Curtis is probably not wise. However, if the past has taught the older man anything, it’s that if someone of Curtis’ stature finds out he is a lowly blue collar kind of guy, he’ll want to have nothing to do with Law and all bets will be off.
Curtis is ready for change in his life. As he’s about to embark on setting up his own practice with his best friend, Marjorie, and leaving the hospital where he’s worked for the last several years, Curtis is looking forward to putting down some roots. He’s never had great luck with dating. But something tells him this new guy, Law, is the one that will make the difference. The age gap doesn’t bother Curtis at all, but the fact that he knows so little about Law has him worried; he needs to get to know the man he is sure he is losing his heart to before things go any further.
Caraway Carter is beginning the new Professions of Love series with the novel, Hearts Repaired. Featuring two men who both have been pretty unsuccessful at love, the story concentrates on bringing them together for the much wanted, but feared, second chance at love both have longed after for quite some time. For Law, it’s due to a terribly difficult prior relationship that has left him with a wounded heart and commitment doubts. Curtis, on the other hand, has never found that one person who felt like home to him and so his cynical outlook on dating is quite upset when Law feels so safe and comfortable right away.
The moments when these two men truly connect and comfort each other in this story are quite lovely. These are the times when the story comes alive and you can see how talented author Caraway Carter is at building dynamic, yet fragile, characters who each are seeking to find someone to call their own. The more vulnerable segments of this story appeal to me, primarily because this is when I feel pulled into the story. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in this novel due to a few issues I felt derailed the flow of the story overall.
I’m unsure as to the why, but I must say that there is a definite unfinished feel to this novel. It’s not because of the ending, as everything wraps up quite well; rather, it’s in the telling of the story itself. Perhaps it is because there are so many ancillary characters that appear without warning and it’s not explained how they fit until later in the story. That often made me a little confused and sometimes prompted me to stop and reread a passage to see if I had missed how they connected. Or perhaps it’s because some of the transitional moments within the plot feel awkward and/or jumpy. I can’t quite put my finger on the cause, but I never synced fully into the flow or pace of this book, it felt too choppy at times, as though I had missed something important in the story.
Also, there a few too many coincidences are rolled out and that made the plot feel that much more forced. For instance, the fact that both Law and Curtis end up having a direct tie to each other due to their past dating experiences. Then we have Curtis’ best friend turning out to be someone Law is very close to as well. And if that is not enough, they effectively even drive the exact same car. It felt too contrived when the similarities just kept coming.
Finally, the story never gives us a clear picture of the past of either main character and yet there is an awful lot of alluding to Law’s younger years when he was quite a swinger. That doesn’t seem to gel with the current day Law, who has a pretty shattered sense of self-esteem. I understood he had really been burned by an ex, but his obsession with being a blue collar guy as opposed to white collar and more highly educated felt a bit over the top. Then there is Curtis, who flirts outrageously with just about everyone, but breaks down in tears at every opportunity, seemingly so unable to find love. It all just felt a bit to unrealistic without some kind of background on the characters to pin it all to.
Hearts Repaired is a novel with some very lovely tender moments when characters connect in a real way and I could feel the love begin to blossom between them. I think perhaps with some better edits and a bit more fleshing out of Curtis and Law’s past, this story would have been so much better. I am interested to see if how this series evolves and if the next installment pursues one of side characters introduced in this first novel.