Title: Unquiet (Resilient Love #3)
Author: Melanie Hansen and Michael Stellman (Narrator)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 13th 2017
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5
Loren Smith has been in love with Eliot Devlin almost his entire life. During their turbulent childhood and teen years, Loren didn’t always understand Eliot, and sometimes he could be a challenge, but Eliot was the only one to ever truly ease Loren’s deep loneliness and accept him. When Eliot’s increasingly erratic and self-destructive behavior culminates in a suicide attempt at seventeen, Loren is devastated.
Upon meeting again by chance nine years later, Loren is enjoying a successful career as a police officer while Eliot’s life has been a constant struggle for stability. In and out of mental hospitals, with a rap sheet a mile long, he continues to be buffeted by the twin storms of mania and depression. Loren’s love and protectiveness for Eliot are deeply ingrained in him, however, and their feelings for each other are quickly rekindled.
Loren has issues of his own he’s dealing with, and trying to understand and cope with Eliot’s bipolar disorder isn’t easy. They believe they’re meant to be, and Eliot brings a fulfillment to Loren’s life that no one else will ever match. But as they both come to realize, love by itself can’t cure all.
I’m not going to lie – this story gutted me and I almost gave up listening several times. I had to walk away a couple of times and listen or read something else just to take a break. But it kept drawing me back because I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters.
This is one of the best stories I’ve read where mental health is not demonized, or belittled, but rather almost tenderly explained. Eliot has rapid-cycling bipolar 1 disorder with hypersexuality compulsion.
Trigger Warning: Cheating, Suicide attempts
Eliot and Loren constantly struggle to find balance with each other and Eliot’s disorder. Through the dual POV we are witness to Eliot’s manic episodes, his highs and lows, his hypersexual moments, but also his hope and love for Loren. We get to witness Loren’s own love and hope, but also his fear, his indecision with his job, especially seeing the stress and anxiety being a police officer triggers in Eliot.
Nothing about this story is easy. Even the best parts are tinged with a kind of sadness or a waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-drop feeling. You don’t even get respite in the epilogue. While happy and showing the couple years down the line, there is recounting of more struggle and the ever present need for vigilance.
We get to see a realistic representation of a relationship with ups and downs that requires work by both sides.
The narration works perfectly for the story.
Michael Stellman doesn’t do a lot of character voices, and his performance is quieter, more emotional. He delivers the author’s words to you in a way that draws you in to the story completely, surrounding and blanketing you in the world, he’s not about the flash, he’s all about the feeling. Stellman does a really wonderful job conveying all the emotion of the story.
The story is beautifully written with friends to lovers, first heartbreak, second chance romance, and hurt/comfort themes throughout. There is what I consider a high level of angst throughout the book.
It put me through the wringer, and I’m exhausted after finishing it, but I am very glad I picked it up and listened and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.
NOTE: Unquiet is the third installment in the Resilient Love series (with Everything Changes #1 and Signs of Life #2). Unquiet stands alone from the series, with the characters from the other books making appearances, but explained in a way that doesn’t leave new-to-the-series readers out.