safe and soundRating: 4 stars
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Length: Novel

 

When Isaac and Regan were teens, they were best friends and in love. But Isaac had a loving family and was headed for college and a bright future. And Regan grew up in a violent, abusive home with a miserable father and was barely surviving. Regan knew he had no chance at a real future. It was all he could do to hang on, holding multiple jobs and hoping that one day he could take his younger brother and find a safe place for them to live. In the meantime, as much as Regan loved Isaac, he wasn’t going to hold Isaac back. The fact that Isaac would do anything for Regan, that he wanted to stay home and take care of Regan was enough for Regan to know he had to cut things off between them before Isaac ruined his life for Regan.

Regan never expected to have much of a future, but he never counted on losing his hearing, which made life even more complicated. And when he was wrongfully imprisoned for 15 years, it threw things into more chaos. Now, Regan has been out of prison for five years, he has embraced his deafness, and he is working multiple jobs, just like he did as a teen. But he is also finding his way into a new life for himself, including living his dream of working as an artist. He misses Isaac painfully, but he hasn’t heard from Isaac in years, even when he went to jail, and he figures the love of his life has finally moved on.

Isaac is now living as a writer in California and is struggling on his latest novel. When his publisher suggests he move back to his hometown for some possible inspiration, it is a chance for Isaac to see Regan. He has no idea about anything that has happened to Regan over the past 20 years, from his incarceration to his deafness. He just knows that he has never loved anyone the way he loved Regan.

As the two men reunite, they both know the love they once shared is still bright between them. But 20 years is a long time and both have grown and changed without one another. Now they have to figure out if there is a way to rebuild the trust and connection they once had and find a way to happiness together.

Safe and Sound is a friend to lovers, second chance romance from E.M. Lindsey. It is intense and sometimes hard to read, particularly early on as we see how much Regan is struggling. But it is also sweet, romantic, and so rewarding as Isaac and Regan find their way back to each other.

The book opens when the men are teens and are finally working up the nerve to share how they feel with one another. Isaac is headed for college and Regan sees no future for himself. So as much as he loves Isaac, he knows he needs to push him away so that Isaac can live his own life. As I said, this section is intense and not always easy to read. It is clear just how horrible Regan’s home life is. He is abused and neglected and frozen and starving. But it is not just how difficult his life is, it is also that he sees no value in himself or anything worthy of loving or sacrificing for. This portion of the book really establishes the bond the men have, the feelings they share, and the determination each has to sacrifice for the other. I think it works well to set things up so that when they come back together 20 years later, it is easy to understand why each made such an indelible mark on the other’s heart.

The story then mostly jumps ahead, though we do get to see the period where Regan loses his hearing and has to come to terms with what that means for him. The rest of the book focuses on how these men can merge their lives that have diverged so much over the years. There is also so much that Isaac doesn’t know about Regan’s life and there is definitely trust that needs to be rebuilt between them. But Lindsey has set this up so well that I could really feel that connection between the men and really enjoyed watching it grow as Isaac and Regan learn how to be a part of each other’s lives once again.

I really liked this book and think it is going to be a great choice for fans of lovers reunited stories, especially those who enjoy some angst and intensity.

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