Title: Four Corners
Author: Kate McMurray
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Amazon Buy Link
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novel/220 PDF pages/74K words
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5
Review Summary: A wonderful story of a love that overcame personal demons and major obstacles.
Since childhood, Jake, Adam, Kyle, and Brendan have been teammates, best friends, brothers. Then one day, when they were twenty-five, Adam disappeared without a word, devastating his friends—none more so than Jake, who had secretly loved Adam since they were teenagers.
Now, five years later, Adam is back, and he has his mind set on Jake. But those years of anger, hurt, and confusion are a lot to overcome, and Jake doesn’t find it easy to forgive. He isn’t sure they’ll ever fit together the way they did.
Jake, Kyle, and Brendan have moved on with their lives, but Adam’s high-profile career keeps him in the closet—the same place he’s been for years. Still, his apologies seem sincere, and the attraction is still there. Jake desperately wants to give him a chance. But first he has to find out why Adam left and if he’s really back for good.
It’s always a pleasure for me to read a book by Kate McMurray because of her characters. The title of her latest book, Four Corners, is an homage to baseball and is a term for the four infield positions. It’s used loosely here as an analogy for the four positions that Jake, Kyle, Adam and Brendan play in each other’s lives.
As indicated in the blurb, Adam had disappeared 5 years ago when he was 25, something that devastated Jake who had been in love with him all his adolescent and adult life. The day before he disappeared he had kissed Jake for the first time and built up his hopes that maybe Adam’s feelings for him had changed from friendship into something more, and he immediately broke up with his current boyfriend, but Jake never saw him again. None of his friends had heard from Adam during those years until his sudden re-appearance at the funeral of their old baseball coach and it was obvious that he was there to mend fences, particularly with Jake to whom he had been very close.
Now that Adam was back in Chicago for a little while he wanted to start over with Jake, without explaining why he left without a word all those years ago, but Jake had grown up in the intervening years and he demanded specifics. Adam admitted for the first time that he wanted a romantic relationship with Jake – a man – this from someone who could never even use the word “gay” when referring to himself. However Jake wasn’t turning cart wheels like he had won the lottery, because Adam had broken his heart without looking back. Kyle and Brendan were also angry at Adam but mostly because of how much his abandonment had hurt Jake, his best friend.
Jake had figured out Adam’s sexuality about a year before he left, but Adam never admitted to anyone but Jake that he wasn’t hetero, despite being unable to have a sexual relationship with any of the women he dated sporadically. When he realized that Jake was on to him he asked him not to say anything to the other guys. Since Jake was out and Adam was going to remain in the closet, he decided not to wait for him to have an epiphany and found himself a boyfriend, but he and Adam still remained friends.
In the intervening years Adam had become quite successful. He owned his own technology company in New York and was a household name in industry circles; his name and that of his company were always in the news and the world seemed to be his oyster, yet he was back home for Jake. During his absence Jake had moved on and he had carved out a relatively successful career for himself but it was nothing like Adam’s meteoric rise to success. On a personal level he was still smarting about being left behind, but he missed the friendship and what he could have had with Adam and needed some kind of affirmation that this time things would be different, before he put his heart on the line again. The explanation Adam offered Jake for hurting him and being away for so long without contacting him was that he wasn’t emotionally ready at that time for a relationship with a man and was scared of going there.
Adam turned out to be the most complex and vulnerable protagonist. He was so well drawn that once I got over hating him for leaving Jake, I realized how tough his life must have been despite his financial success. He had left his lifelong friends, especially Jake whom he loved, to move to a strange city and start over with no support system. Adam had achieved incredible business success and maybe his success was due in part to the fact that he had no life so he spent all of his energies on his company. When he realized years ago that he was gay and loved Jake he was between a rock and a hard place. He could stick around and endure the stress and fighting with his family, or leave town and remove himself from Jake’s influence as they wanted him to do, but that route would cut him off from the only man he had ever loved as well as his friends. However, he was afraid of his feelings for Jake and what exploring them would mean so he made what to him seemed to be the only decision possible. Coming back to Jake, making his feelings known, and even having public displays of affection in front of his and Jake’s friends, was a big step in admitting his sexual orientation.
Jake was caught between his feelings for Adam or taking the safe route. Should he take a chance on the conflicted man he had loved for most of his life and get to know this new Adam who had so many demons and hangups about being gay that he still couldn’t admit it? Despite loving Jake and wanting to be with him Adam had some major issues around being gay – one concern he expressed to Jake was how could a gay man just be a man and not be defined by his sexuality? I loved how he eventually made a believer out of Jake and proved to him that he loved him and was proud of being gay.
The thrust of the story is mostly about Adam, a man who found his place at last when he realized that Jake was the most important person in his life. It’s also about how Jake dealt with his closeted lover, the camaraderie between four friends who had their own personal challenges and demons, and how they supported each other through good times/bad times, heartache, growing up, dealing with life’s curve balls and everything in between childhood to thirty something. There is so much to enjoy in this book – the wonderful characterizations, the emotions, the love, the joys, the paths not taken, and most of all the love between Adam and Jake. Best of all the author didn’t allow the angst to overwhelm the story. She showed the heartache of each character, especially the MCs, but provided a balance of fun breaks in between so that the reader didn’t drown in angst.
Don’t miss out on Four Corners.
There are many flashbacks in the book but I thought they were used quite effectively. YMMV.