A guest review by Jenre
This sequel to Loving Edits was a little melodramatic in places but still a good read overall.
In the aftermath of Mick Henley’s death, his two lovers, Paul Alcott and Tono Garat, find themselves at odds. Tono has rejected Paul on the pretext that the public will find out about their love affair, thus tarnishing Mick’s memory; the reality is that Tono fears Paul will lose interest in him because they’re not intellectual equals. Tono’s fear is compounded when Mick’s final novel, Momentos, is presented to Paul posthumously with a request to start a trust from the proceeds to aid artists and writers suffering from ALS. Mick’s only stipulation is that Tono spearhead the organization.
Paul is energized by Mick’s request, but Tono is angry and conflicted about the challenge. After a five-month separation, they reunite, rekindling their strong physical attraction—and illuminating their many differences. As always, Mick’s presence lingers, intruding at unexpected times. Are their memories preventing Paul and Tono from finding true happiness as a couple? Can there be a life for two vibrant alphas without the gentle Mick to buffer the discord?
I really enjoyed Loving Edits, despite its sad premise and I was looking forward to reading this book and seeing whether Paul and Tono could work things out without the presence of Mick. The story begins a few month’s after Mick’s death from ALS. After the funeral, Tono had been unable to cope and had pushed Paul away and now the two men are living in different countries and not speaking to one another. Paul receives a manuscript written by Mick just before he died along with a letter asking Paul to publish the book with any profits going to a charity which Mick wanted to be headed by Tono. These instructions gives Paul the excuse to head off to Spain and find out whether there’s anything to salvage from their former love, or whether the loss of Mick also meant the loss of their love forever.
I have to admit the author had a bit of a hard task ahead for me, mainly because Tono and Paul were my least favourite characters from the last book, Tono especially. I found them both to be stubborn and selfish, and couldn’t see how they would work without the buffer of Mick, smoothing over their obvious problems. As the story begins I was equally concerned about what I felt was a rather melodramatic beginning with both men losing their tempers, jumping to conclusion and behaving like rutting animals rather than intelligent men. Fortunately, after the first couple of chapters the book settles down, moves, thankfully, away from melodrama and into a more thoughtful tale of two men who are just too similar for their own good. The men still clash, still jump to conclusions and still make mistakes, but that was to be expected with two such strong personalities and I thought the way they coped with that quite realistically done.
What I also thought was done well was the way that the two men work out their roles in each other’s lives, now that Mick has gone. The grieving process for both men is still in the book, although it helped that the story starts a few months after Mick has died, but the joy for me was seeing how Paul and Tono forged a new life and new memories away from Mick. I also liked that after all the shouting, the recriminations, the sulking and the bad behaviour that both men display in the book, they learn to listen to one another. It made me very hopeful for their future.
Another thing to say about the book is that it’s a bit of a sweet read. When the men are in accord then the romance is a little mushy. Now, those of you who know me will know that I usually find mushiness a bit of a turn off. Well, surprisingly in this book I didn’t. This is possibly because it contrasted well with the times the two men are bickering and arguing. They would switch from being all lovey dovey one minute to shouting the next and I liked the disparity. These are volatile men and therefore it seemed natural that when they give their hearts it’s all or nothing.
One niggle I did have was the way that the book seemed a little drawn out towards the end. There was a point when I wondered what the point was in what I reading, which seemed more like a protracted HEA than adding anything to the story. However, I’ll forgive this slight self-indulgence because some readers may like to read about Paul and Tono’s life once all the details are sorted and they are happy.
Overall, I enjoyed Tono, despite the melodrama and the drawn out ending. Those readers who liked Loving Edits are sure to enjoy this book, and although I didn’t enjoy Tono as much as I did that first book, it’s still worth reading.