Delaney and Marcus have one thing in common they wish they didn’t. They met in a grief group after both of their wives died and they both long for the way things were. They have developed a friendship that they have both come to rely on. Marcus doesn’t have any children and, while he is close to his family, he’s lonely. Delaney has a teenage son, Grant, and while Delaney tries to be the best father he can and support Grant, he knows Grant had much more in common with his mother. Delaney is trying to bridge the divide he feels between him and Grant, but Delaney is also navigating his own grief.
When Marcus announces that he’s going to start dating, it stirs up unexpected feelings in Delaney. Delaney has even more to think about when Marcus goes on a date with a man and Delaney has to examine feelings he hasn’t had to think about for 20 years. During an emotional night, the men seek comfort in each other and just a simple hug becomes anything but simple.
When their friendship catches fire, the men have to consider their new feelings, along with the expectations of everyone around them. But the time they spend together feels so incredibly right to both of them and they start to crave more each time. Making room for someone new after so much loss is scary, but Marcus and Delaney have found something worth holding on to for all time.
This contemporary novel offers a large dose of hurt/comfort as both Delaney and Marcus have experienced heavy losses. They were both settled and happy in their lives and the loss of their wives is not something they will ever fully recover from. Incandescent is stated to be a standalone novel, but the opening of the book had me feeling that I was dropped into a series already in progress. There are a lot of side characters that get page time as early as the first chapter and the book had too broad of a focus for me when it first started.
What the characters experienced is clear, as both Delaney and Marcus are grieving and there is plenty of backstory on both of them. They both have had limited experience with other men when they were younger, but it didn’t factor into their lives when they were married. Especially Delaney, who never put a name to his feelings. They come to rely on each other as someone that understands the loss and grief they are experiencing and it’s a natural transition to becoming more than friends.
I struggled in several areas of this book. While the pace of their relationship fit where they were in their lives, the entire book was slow for me. Both men were hesitant to enter into a relationship, which was understandable, but there wasn’t enough story beyond to keep the interest high. The characters also felt off to me. From Delaney’s son to each of the men, their interests felt forced and didn’t succeed in coming off as feeling truly part of them. I then would have liked to see the men together a little more at the end once they moved their relationship forward.
Lee is an author that has been inconsistent for me, but if her writing always works for you, then maybe this one will too as Marcus and Delaney find love for a second time.