Title: What Remains
Author: Garrett Leigh
Publisher: Fox Love Press
Release Date: July 4, 2016
Page Count: 278
Reviewed by: Renée
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Web designer Jodi Peters is a solitary creature. Lunch twice a week with his ex-girlfriend-turned-BFF and the occasional messy venture to a dodgy gay bar is all the company he needs, right?
Then one night he stumbles across newly divorced firefighter Rupert O’Neil. Rupert is lost and lonely, but just about the sweetest bloke Jodi has ever known. Add in the heady current between them, and Jodi can’t help falling hard in love. He offers Rupert a home within the walls of his cosy Tottenham flat—a sanctuary to nurture their own brand of family—and for four blissful years, life is never sweeter.
Until a cruel twist of fate snatches it all away. A moment of distraction leaves Jodi fighting for a life he can’t remember and shatters Rupert’s heart. Jodi doesn’t know him—or want to. With little left of the man he adores, Rupert must cling to what remains of his shaky faith and pray that Jodi can learn to love him again.
Garrett Leigh wrote another beautiful story…… shrugs . The end.
Ok, not really. But here’s the thing. Magic happens for me when I read m/m because of stories about every day people who go through every day things. I’m “ok” if a not-so-every-day side plot is thrown in there from time to time, but I just love it when authors can make magic out of the lives of you, me, our co-coworkers, cousins, siblings, crazy best friends, neighbors, etc. It just makes reading more relatable and I literally IMMERSE in the story and totally buy into the character- and relationship-build more.
For some reason, Leigh likes to write about characters who go through monumental, happened to one-in-a-million, fuck with your head events. And that’s ok – nothing wrong with that. The event from this book, amnesia after an accident, robs Jodi of discovering his bisexuality and living the past five years of his life with his partner, Rupert. So, not only does Jodi go through this horrific medical event. Rupert loses the man he loves.
I concede – it was written really well. As a nurse, a former Neuro nurse even, the medical parts were pretty fairly sketched out (although – like I said – this kind of amnesia is so rare, I’ve never seen a patient with it, so I can’t be entirely sure). The dual POVs beautifully showed both Jodi’s and Rupert’s pain as they grasped at what was missing in their lives and interactions with each other. All of that was run-of-the-mill Garrett Leigh beautiful.
But I couldn’t connect to any of this. Who does this happen to? No one that I know of. Likely no one that you know of either. And if this was one book that the author has written a story like this, no worries. But it seems like EVERY story lately has been like this. And many more based on blurbs and reviews that I’m reading. It’s like she needs this to be the foundation to create the story, and she doesn’t, because she’s so talented.
Honestly, my favorite so far was My Mate Jack. It was just about the MCs with no big dramatic, life-changing event. Simple, everyday people. That’s what I’m looking for. I know I’m in the minority. Everyone seems to 5-star the hell out of her books. And she’s crazy talented, so I get it. I enjoy the shit out of her writing and story telling. But I’m kinda done with this “trope” of hers with all the drama. I think I’ll wait until a book comes out about the everyday people who just fall in love with a side plot or two.