Title: To Love Again
Author: Andria Large
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 14, 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 127 pages
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Jack: Leaving was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. He would have killed me if I stayed, though. I couldn’t have done it without Warwick’s help. Not only did he give me the out I needed, but also a safe place to live. With my ex looming around every corner, looking for the chance to get his hands on me, I received the best gift ever—a month in England—and I took it!
Warwick: England was supposed to help Jack get away from his ex and find himself again. I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with him there. Especially when I knew he might stay… indefinitely. With my busy schedule as an ER doctor, an ocean between us, and the trust issues his abusive ex inflicted, the chance of a successful long-distance relationship is close to zero. Loving Jack may be the one thing I can’t fix.
TRIGGERS: Domestic violence, abuse, rape. Jack and Warrick meet at the hospital when Jack is admitted with a broken arm. ER doctor Warwick senses this is not a simple accident and Greg, Jack’s rageaholic controlling boyfriend fueled by steriods, makes him suspect domestic violence. Warwick gives Jack his number to call if he ever needs help and when Jack does finally contact him for help after basically escaping with his life and little else, Warwick vows to help Jack any way he can.
This plot deals with a lot of very emotional triggers and it is gut-wrenching to read of Jack’s abusive relationship with Greg, and the abject terror and helplessness he felt knowing he could die at Greg’s hands. When Greg manages to track Jack down, Warwick bring Jack to the safety and stability of his mother’s home in England, far removed from Greg’s reach, giving Jack a safe place to heal and start anew.
The chemistry between Warwick and Jack is palpable and while Warwick is very attracted to Jack, he wants to move slowly and wait until Jack is ready. There are deep feelings and emotions here, and the characters feel realistic and fully-fleshed out. As a reader, I care about Warwick and Jack and the secondary characters and setting really hold my interest. On the other hand …
- Greg is a truly despicable human, but at times he feels like a caricature in that he is able to find Jack anywhere and is almost unstoppable. Also, what ultimately happens to Greg is stated in one or two sentences, and feels unexamined and tacked onto the ending to bring about a quick resolution.
In only 127 pages, the author covers a lot of ground and personally, it seems like not enough time passed for Jack to truly recover from the serious physical and mental abuse he suffered. There is a lot to digest here, and more on-page time is needed to process everything rather than rushing to a HEA ending. For me, the plot definitely held my interest, I was invested in the main characters and their romance, but I felt the resolution was too quick and would have liked 100 more pages to really delve into the many serious issues the story presented. 3.5 stars. (YRMV – Your results may vary!)