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Charlie David's voice is amazing! His telling of this story had me sitting in my car outside of work trying to hold back my tears. He brought so much life to this incredible book. He conveyed every moment perfectly. My favorite was that sexy little rasp he had to his voice whenever Jason was really turned on. It was to die for! I might have played those scenes back a few times - especially that scene in front of the fireplace!
I was already a huge fan of the book - this made it even better!
‘Reunited’ begins shortly after ‘Rescued’ left off. Jason and Ryder are married, they have a beautiful 4-year-old daughter Gemma, and their dogs, Trooper and Pearl, are happy. Sounds perfect, right?
I’m going to take a moment to address what I didn’t like about the book. In the first book, Jason had a hard time stopping an ardent moment, even when Ryder was insistent that he wanted Jason to stop. He believed he knew what was best and the bedroom scene where he didn’t respect Ryder’s wishes disturbed me. He grew as a character, a man, and a partner, so I held out hope that he had matured, especially because he’s now a father.
In some ways, though, he has regressed. Is it because of the stress of the illness? Perhaps. But this was his opportunity to step up to the plate. Of course, none of us can say what we would do in those dire circumstances, but there were moments I wanted to reach out and throttle him. Or smack him. (Metaphorically, of course.)
Jason is a traditionalist, and I respect that, but the ‘I know best’ and ‘I’m going to make all the decisions’ means he often rides roughshod over Ryder.
Ryder is conflict-averse, so he simply agrees to go along with Jason’s dictates, even if it often leaves him lonely and resentful. This was probably the intention of the author, but for anyone who has been in that kind of relationship, or even watched someone they care about go through that, this can be upsetting.
Okay, the last thing I will say about this is regarding Jason’s complete lack of respect to honour Ryder’s desire to reconnect with his mother. Jason has only seen the damage Astrid has wrought, so, to his credit, he wants to protect Ryder. He just goes about it in all the wrong ways, blaming Ryder when he doesn’t do EXACTLY what Jason wants him to do. Controlling and jealous partners are always a red flag for me.
Yet I’m giving this book a good review.
There were things I loved about this book—the fact that Jason’s and Ryder’s families dropped everything when illness befell the men’s little nuclear family; Ryder’s best friends Connor and Emily dedicating themselves to helping, despite the fact they have children of their own.
To know so many people care and have your back is amazing – exactly what you would wish your family would be.
The re-emergence of Ryder’s mother rips open an old wound that had barely begun to heal. In the first books – and most of this book – she was a cardboard cutout of a homophobic bitch who rejected her gay son in the cruelest way possible.
I liked that the author turned that around. Ryder’s mother was slow to change, but once her story was fully told, the reader could decide whether or not she deserves forgiveness.
Crises bring out the best and worst of people. Ryder’s and Jason’s little family will never be the same due to the illness, but the question throughout the book is will their marriage falter or get stronger?
I will again tip my hat to Charlie David, only of my favourite narrators. He is easy to listen to, carrying the story.
This was another great Felice listen.