Review written for Hearts On Fire Reviews
- 3.5 stars
When I began this story, I had a hard time figuring out what was going on. For starters, the blurb is very misleading. Often, I found myself going back to it to see if I was reading things correctly. For starters, it starts out with Benji and the reporter, Charles, getting together. I had to keep questioning why I cared about Charles knowing all along he wasn’t the other main character. The answer, of course, was that I didn’t. I suppose it solidified the kind of life Benji was living, but I’m not sure this was the best way to go about it, as many seem to have been scared away at this point. Eventually, the blurb does match up, but it takes a while.
At the point when Benji meets Neal at the coffee shop, this story did a complete turnaround for me. It finally felt like the story I wanted to read about. Neal is wonderful, and I fell in love with him from the start. He is sweet and funny and sexy. He’s out and proud but doesn’t really flaunt it (total opposite from his bestie, Kyle). He has been cheated on by his previous three boyfriends and was about ready to leave town when things fell in place for the coffee shop. He falls for Benji, knowing he probably shouldn’t, given Benji’s closet status. Things just sort of move along with them though, and while Neal doesn’t just take what he can get from Benji, he is extremely patient and tolerant.
Benji, on the other hand, is a bit frustrating. We sort of learn that his upbringing and family life was not the greatest and played a huge role in why he chooses to remain closeted, not to mention the restrictions of his job/career. It is easy to see why he has made the decisions he has concerning being out to the public, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. When a few close people do learn, they basically shun him, but that doesn’t last for very long. Through everything, Neal is by his side, giving whatever support he can for every little baby step Benji takes. The biggest hurdle seems to be Benji’s inability to accept being gay himself. All big hurdles, but I enjoyed seeing Benji overcome them a little at a time.
In the end, Benji’s feelings for Neal are what give him the extra courage to make changes in his life. There were niggling little inconsistencies throughout. There were a few things in the blurb that didn’t seem to match up to the actual story, but I ended up enjoying this by the end. Unfortunately, many have not made it past the beginning to get to the good stuff. My rating is, therefore, an average of how I felt reading the first four chapters and the rest of the story.