Eli Burke and Alec Sumner are finding out that falling in love isn’t the happily-ever-after they expected. Their efforts to move forward as a couple and put their broken pasts behind them are made all the more difficult by new fears and old secrets.
There are other stressors too: disagreeing over where to live, dealing with other men intruding into their relationship, and deciding if they must abandon the families of their pasts to build one for the future.
It may hurt, but being honest about what they fear, what they’ve done, and what they want may be the only way to forge a happy home.
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Home is the sequel to Broken, which you should read first. You don’t have to of course but Home deals with the development of the relationship established in Broken so it has more of an emotional impact if you’ve read the first book. The sequel is a very good story that lets the reader into the difficulties of relationships. The first book ended with a happy ending, everyone in love, but it’s nice to see that love doesn’t conquer all fears and problems and the two actually have to work at their relationship. Eli has some considerable issues stemming from his lover’s death and unresolved guilt, while Alec finally becomes a separate entity that is not just about putting Eli back together.
The story is very character driven and somewhat repetitive. The cycle is started early with the two having sex – there is incidentally a lot of sex in the book, perhaps to make up for no sex in Broken. The main couple of Eli and Alec have sex, fight, make up with sex, are lovey dovey for a day or two before fighting again, having make up sex, and so on in a circular pattern. The issues they fight about are genuine and real issues. From jealousy to fear, resentment, and anger these are authentic issues that someone as conflicted and difficult as Eli really goes through. Alec as a psychologist remains calm, patient, and lucid during Eli’s many fits but he’s far from perfect himself.
The emotional impact of the story is high as we watch Eli and Alec work on their relationship. They’re determined to stay together so there’s no real concern they’ll break up but they are anything but easy. They love each other but that love hasn’t erased the insecurities and doubts. On the one hand this feels honest and like a real relationship. Unfortunately the story throws in several road blocks that don’t feel authentic. Eli’s guilt over Dray (not to give spoilers but what supposedly happened) is pretty ridiculous. I didn’t believe at all that such a thing would happen and thought it was a poor way to introduce more tension into the relationship.
Secondly the supporting cast feels misused. In the first book, the house members and friends were very important. They had their own personalities, their own identities and contributed to the story and the relationship. Now they seem superfluous and only appear to add a bit of wisdom or tension to the story. They lack the color and interest they had in the first book. Especially the relationship between Carrie and Ilsa, which has all the hallmarks of a horrific crash from the comments and actions, yet inexplicably, gets a happy ending. I wasn’t sure why the story continued to set these two up as incompatible just to throw in that they live happily ever after together.
As a sequel, this is enjoyable to read for the emotional impact and continuation of a good relationship. The characters grow and change while keeping a solid happy ending. I enjoyed this more than the first book for the deeper emotion, better connection, and more realistic relationship issues. I didn’t enjoy the secondary cast anywhere near as much and not all obstacles felt genuine but over all this is a good sequel. The two book story is one I’d read again when I want some emotional romance.
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