To find and to keep by Serena Yates

Blurb: Four years ago Ryan’s parents disowned him for being gay. To escape their threats, he ran away to Canada. Now his twin sister Nicole is getting married to his best friend Peter, and Ryan will risk anything to attend. Help arrives in the most unexpected form: Peter’s older brother Daniel, the man Ryan had loved from afar.

Review: There are some aspects in this story that I really liked and some that I couldn’t really connect with.

The story is extremely sweet. And when I say sweet I mean it. Nothing destroys the atmosphere, except for a short intermezzo with Ryan’s parents, to which I will come later. Everybody is very nice, understanding, supportive. When Daniel meets Ryan in front of the church, there is an instant connection and nothing can sever it again. The reaction of Ryan’s sister and Peter, her husband and Ryan’s old friend, was just what Ryan needed. I don’t mind sweet stories with only little conflict, so that is not what bothered me about this story.

What I didn’t find so great were the following:

  • Daniel went to the church that evening because he followed a gut feeling. Fair enough, we all have them, but it was too vague for me. He just felt like he had to go there. It is possible, but somehow it was mentioned too much in passing only afterwards. I would have liked that to be explained or explored a bit more.
  • Ryan’s parents were just horrible, but for such villains they faded into the background too quickly. They kicked him out, disowned him, lied about his leaving, made threats to even harm his friends if he let them help him. Reason for all this: he’s gay. I’m not saying there are no such people, but that was just too much. When Ryan met them at the wedding, there was a short moment where I thought, now is the moment where the conflict will erupt and get settled one way or the other, but it didn’t. The moment went by and nothing… After that they were gone with one more short mentioning of them.
  • Daniel and Ryan were both virgins. Possible again, but feasible? I don’t know really, it didn’t feel right.
  • Daniel and Ryan have known the other for a long time. Loved each other without knowing that their feelings are returned. Now found each other again. Made love. Unfortunately there was no sexual tension to speak of, at least I didn’t feel any. And without tension there is not much fun.
  • Daniel’s proposal came way too fast. He proposed the day after they met again. Even considering that they have known each other for years  before Ryan left, they were only friends at the time. A bit more together time before deciding to get married would have been better.

Even though the initial storyline sounded good, there was stuff that just didn’t work out for me. That’s why the story wasn’t as enjoyable as it could have been. But if you like it sweet and without any complications whatsoever, this might be for you.

Available at Dreamspinner Press

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