Love Comes In Darkness
Title : Love Comes in Darkness
Series : Senses Series, Book #2
Author : Andrew Grey
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 204 pages (e-book)
Published : August 9, 2013
Rating : ★★★★
Howard Justinian has always had to fight for his freedom. Because he was born blind, everyone is always trying to shelter him, but he’s determined to live his life on his own terms.
When an argument with his boyfriend over that hard-won self-reliance leaves Howard stranded by the side of the road, assistance arrives in the form of Gordy Jarrett. Gordy is a missionary’s son, so helping others is second nature—and he does it in such an unassuming manner that Howard can’t say no.
Life is barely back on track when Howard receives shocking news: his sister died, leaving him her daughter to care for. Howard now faces his greatest challenge yet: for Sophia’s safety, he’ll need to accept help, but will he learn to accept it from Gordy, the one man who will not curb his independence?
Andrew Grey has once again written a warm hearted story depicting genuine, brave characters working their way through hardships and heartache to a HEA.
This book is the second in his “Senses” series, with the wonderful Love Comes Silently (which I highly recommend reading) being the first. It could be read as a stand-alone, as the main characters are new, although characters from the first book do play a prominent role here. It is told in third person, and features some expressive dialogue.
Howard is a successful, fairly independent man who has his own business, home, wonderful friends and family and….he just happens to have been born blind. He also has Cedric, his boyfriend of several months who is very pushy and controlling – basically a jerk. Early on I got the strong feeling that Howard wasn’t the type to take BS from anybody, so it seemed perhaps the real reason he fancied himself in love with Cedric was to “have someone” to count as a significant other, a helpmate, and also to have a warm, available body for sex. Only after Howard got dumped by the side of the road by Cedric during one of Cedric’s snits did his friends and sister tell Howard that they had all felt Cedric was a low life, and no good for him. Between getting left stranded at an indeterminate location, his friends’ distaste for Cedric (ok, so they wanted to throttle him after he left Howard at the side of the road), and having heard Cedric in bed with someone else a few days prior, Howard quickly made that relationship history. Hallelujah!
Getting back to the side of the road….this is where Howard’s life began a major change. As he was calling his good friends Ken and Patrick (the amazing guys from Love Comes Silently), to see if they could come pick him up, he heard a vehicle stop and a deep, melodious voice asking if he needed help. This would be Gordy. Gordy entered Howard’s life that day and his heart shortly there-after. The two quickly began dating, learning of one another’s pasts, and discovering their fears. Seems Gordy had a less than understanding family, to say the least. After working through some issues together, they settled into a romantic and sexual relationship.
Howard’s only family is his sister, Lizzy, and her six year old daughter, Sophia. They are all very close to each other, and although Lizzy does live 2 hours away, they visit often. Sophia is also fast friends with Ken and Patrick’s daughter, Hanna. The children in this book were so genuine, I loved their un-filtered comments, especially when they were relating things they were seeing or doing to the sightless Howard. I enjoyed the author’s portrayal of how Howard experiences the world around him utilizing senses other than sight. At the same time, it was really nice to get more of Ken and Patrick and see how they were doing. I specifically enjoyed how Patrick and Howard interacted and communicated, with Patrick being mute and Howard being blind. This seemed well researched and I found it enlightening.
Unfortunately, tragedy strikes and Lizzy dies in a car accident. Howard not only finds himself navigating a relationship with a new man in his life, but he must now deal with the grief of losing his sister and the uncertainties and trepidation that comes with being Sophia’s guardian. Howard was uncertain as to how much he should lean on Gordy – their relationship was so new, they had not spoken of love or commitment. Now he was facing the questions of whether he should take custody of Sophia as Lizzy had wanted, where they should live, would Gordy stick around through it all, would Sophia implode, would child services approve of blind man raising a child, would Cedric cause issues, and on and on. I really liked the characterizations in this book. Howard was shown to be stubborn and independent, yet also working to come to terms with needing help, with allowing Gordy to help him. Gordy could be stubborn too, but he was a solid rock, always there to truly help Howard maneuver through life rather than take control of, or from him. Ken, Patrick and Hanna were right there providing any support Howard needed, be it emotional, physical or logistical.
I did feel as though I wasn’t shown quite enough evidence of how and when Howard and Gordy’s personal relationship developed to the point of love and commitment. I would have liked more scenes of the two of them alone together, to witness deep emotions developing. I realize it was a short relationship, and gaining guardianship of Sophia was a huge curveball for them. Yes, Gordy was by Howard’s side through thick and thin, which indicated a lot about how he felt, they just seemed to lack a strong sense of togetherness and emotional interdependency.
Right around the time Howard met Gordy, he received a guide dog, Token. Token and Howard bonded immediately and Howard was awarded a whole new sense of independence that came with having this incredible dog at his side. It was gratifying to see this portrayal of a guide dog at work. I have the utmost respect for these remarkable dogs and their trainers, however, due to my personal background, I had a huge “what the heck” moment when Token’s trainer brought the dog to Howard’s house, spent one afternoon working with them, and proceeded to leave Token with Howard – never to be heard from again. Not a realistic portrayal according to what I know and have been informed about guide dogs. Generally the bonding, the actual training of the person with the dog, and the transition – including the person learning to trust the dog – takes weeks. Sometimes people go through more than one dog before they find the right “fit”. I had a hard time suspending disbelief with this aspect, due to what I know, and it took me out of the story quite a bit.
All in all this was an endearing story about people coming together to work through the complex and heartbreaking challenges that life has thrown them, and finding love in the end. I did find I favor the character development and relationships in Love Comes Silently over those in this book.
Rated 4 stars by Dianne