Summary Review: A reunion with a first love that struck sparks, which augured well for the future.
Weathermen are predicting an incredible blizzard for New York City, but with old snow melting on the sidewalk, Seth Roland is a little skeptical. Despite moping over his ex-boyfriend Evan, who recently dumped him, Seth pretends all is well as he steps into his regular local bar, where he’s surprised by a blast from his past. Enter Kieran O’Malley, Seth’s very first boyfriend, in the city for a conference.
It might have been just a chance meeting, but first a train derailment and then the predicted blizzard keep Seth and Kieran in close proximity. It’s enough time for old feelings to surface, rekindled attraction to take hold, and new hopes for a future together to fill them both. But once the storm passes, the real challenge begins. Will Seth and Kieran work to make the relationship last, or will they let it melt away like snow in the sun?
Seth Roland was careful not to let anyone know who he was and he hid behind a series of masks and even wore dark clothing so that he looked drab and colourless. He had a mask for every situation – work, play, even relationships, because he didn’t want others to get too close, which was probably one of the reasons he was alone. Only his teenage friend and first love Keiran O’Malley had managed to break down Seth’s barriers and see the real person. But that was a long time ago and Seth had not communicated with Keiran since he left home for college over a decade ago. As teenagers they became best friends and had fooled around a bit because they were the only gay boys around, but they were so young then it was natural to drift apart when they separated for college and eventually became adults.
One evening when Seth went to his regular watering hole, Lachlan’s Pub, he was still miserable about the breakup of his 3-year relationship with his previous BF Evan who had left recently for California. Even though it was obvious that for Evan it was over, Seth wasn’t quite ready to give up since he still cared about Evan. In the middle of bemoaning the lack of someone in his life fate took a hand. When he walked into the bar his teenage crush Keiran, who lived in New Jersey, was there unwinding after attending a conference in Midtown NY. Keiran was so happy to see him that Seth had a hard time keeping up his usual defenses. As they reminisced the weather kept getting worse and the prediction was for a blizzard with several inches of snow. The news reporters kept on about the blizzard which Seth treated with the usual nonchalance that New Yorkers did for this kind of weather, but a train derailment along the line that Keiran needed to get home made it clear that he would have to make arrangements to stay in New York that evening. Seth did what any old friend would do, he offered Keiran his couch, which he gratefully accepted.
As they travelled on the train to Seth’s apartment in Brooklyn they talked about the past and their families, and their bodies kept touching as they remembered how it was when they had experienced that first flush of love, and what it was like when they were together all those years ago. They filled in the blanks of what had happened to their careers until they arrived at Seth’s apartment. Both men were thinking about how the evening would end and it played out as expected. After the usual skirmishes they went to bed together, but the sex was very different – it was like making love and exceeded all of Seth’s expectations as they set fire to each other’s bodies and emotions. Seth eventually fell asleep but Keiran who suffered from insomnia, stayed awake and thought about his life and what would happen the next day when Seth awoke. However, he need not have worried as they seemed to pick up right where they left off when they were teenagers and spent the day getting intimate emotionally and physically as they tried to lay the ghosts in Seth’s life. Could they possibly have the elements for a relationship or was this just a pipe dream and wishful thinking?
Right off the top I knew that I was going to like this book because it didn’t commit the cardinal ‘offense’ that seems to be the prevailing theme in a lot of M/M romances recently- there was no Big Misunderstanding. 🙂
Kate McMurray wrote two very realistic characters and didn’t attempt to romanticise them by making them bigger than life. Keiran and Seth were two ordinary joes who met after being separated for over a decade and in the interim a lot had happened to them — life happened. Each man had had relationships which didn’t last, but they had recovered and moved on (except for Seth who was still pining over his ex). Now they had met again but would they be “the one”? As Seth and Keiran tried to find common ground and somehow meld the past and present they realized that they could not recover their lost years but perhaps there was a possibility for a new start. There was a lot going on with Seth who was trying to get over being dumped by his ex. How much of that was love for Evan and how much was the thought of being alone again was something he had to decide, but gradually he opened up to Keiran as his many masks started to crack. As they tried to figure out if they were just reliving the past or whether there was a future somewhere for them, the author skilfully showed us how they navigated between past and present and tried to be realistic about what lay ahead for them, if anything. I loved the fact that the protagonists actually talked to each other as adults, despite Seth’s initial attempt to remain closed off.
There was one thing that bothered me in the beginning, even though it was a good strategy on the author’s part. The two characters’ ‘voices’ were heard in the same or alternating paragraphs, almost like head hopping but it wasn’t too intrusive as the majority of the book was told from Seth’s third person POV since he was the one who could not get over an old lover, but there were bits and pieces of Keiran’s life as well among the details of Seth’s. Both characters were three dimensional and it was clear that their eyes were wide open in terms of thinking of a future together. BTW there was a lot of snow in this book. 🙂
I definitely recommend Kindling Fire With Snow which had many ‘moments,’ and there was a lot of fun as the characters caught up with their teen years and made adjustments for being adults.