Title: The Finest Thing
Author: Lily Sawyer
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novella (71 pages)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Aidan Mason and his partner moved to San Diego to start a new life, but soon after, Aidan’s world changed when Kyle died. Now a wedding invitation from friends back home in Connecticut has arrived, and Aidan decides to attend. He knows he’ll have face his prejudiced family, but he doesn’t even suspect he’ll find a way to heal his heart.
Aidan’s very good friends are getting married in his hometown and he’s ambivalent about attending the wedding because he doesn’t want to see his family. He hadn’t seen them since he left several years ago and even the death of his partner had not caused them to change their minds about disowning him, due to his sexual orientation. But he decided to attend the wedding because he knew how much his being there would mean to his friends.
When he arrived in Connecticut he lost no time catching up with Peter and Elliott just before the big day. There still was no contact with members of his family other than a phone call from his mother before he left California to tell him that she and his father had separated. He hoped to avoid any scenes with his father and brother by getting out of town shortly after the wedding since he didn’t want to risk any more unpleasantness.
On his friends’ wedding day he bumped into a very good looking man, and for the first time since Kyle passed away he felt interested in someone, but speculated that the man might already be taken. They met again at the reception and talked for awhile and it soon became clear that the attraction was not one sided. Aidan’s new friend Paul was a cousin of one of the grooms who, they found out, had been trying to set them up. Not wanting to disappoint his friends, but also because he really was very much attracted to Paul, Aidan decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth and to pursue the attraction and the man. Soon they were getting up close and personal and eventually spent the night together.
The next day they exchanged stories and were moving in the right direction in their budding relationship, but there was a major impediment – Paul lived in New Haven, Conecticut, far away from California, and a long distance affair did not seem very practical for either one of them. In addition there was still the issue of Aidan’s family and whether he and they could mend the rift caused by their treatment of him. While his mother was saying the right things and making the appropriate moves, her motivations didn’t seem to be genuine.
The protagonists were well drawn and they did seem to care for each other and there definitely was a connection between them. The characters worked well together although the fact that they were both in the medical profession seemed to be too much of a coincidence, but it was plausible. I also liked Peter and Elliott as well as Aidan’s friend Martin in California.
What didn’t I like about the story? The reconciliation between Aidan and members of his family seemed to be too pat. For someone who had been estranged from his family for so long and had been treated so badly by them, even when his partner died, I thought that Aidan mended fences too quickly but I suppose since the story took place over a very short period of time there was a need to wrap everything up. I also found the characterization of his father to be a bit over the top, especially in this day and age; all that fire and brimstone and an incident in the book between his father and Paul seeemed to be overdone. In addition, I didn’t get the sense that Aidan’s mother was really sincere in her efforts to reconcile with him and I felt that, based on the dialogue, she only made up with him because her husband was no longer in the picture.
Notwithstanding the above I would recommend this book because I really enjoyed it and Aidan and Paul.