Saturday, April 18, 2015

NR Walker - Learning to Feel

Resigned to living a sexless, loveless life, Doctor Nathan Tierney knows something is missing. In a rash decision, he leaves his life-consuming job at Mass General Hospital, Boston, to be the small-town doctor in Belfast, Maine.
With the job comes a house, and with the house comes a handyman-painter. Trent Jamieson, a nomadic artist, and his dog Bentley, are offered free accommodation for the few weeks he fixes up the hospital-owned house.
Nathan is transfixed by this free-spirited, undeniably gorgeous man. Confused but amazed to feel any kind of attraction - much less to a man - Nathan convinces himself to put aside any preconceived ideas, and allows himself to just feel.
As their attraction for each other grows, one man learns to live, the other learns to love. But just who is teaching who?

Comment: This short story was recommended to me by a fellow m/m reader. This book is a free read as stated on the author's site and it's available at ARe, where I got my copy. The story looks promising from the blurb alone and I was actually looking for to read it.

This is the story of doctor Nathan Tierney, a young man who' dedicated his whole life to studies and work but has always felt apart from others and not even his wonderful close family helps every time. When the chance to change airs and start working at a quieter place comes his way, he signs up and moves to a small town, away from the stress of the hospital where he is at.
At the house part of the deal, he finds Trent Jamieson, a painter who's finishing some walls. In the meanwhile they have to share the house and Nathan starts to feel attracted to Trent although that has never happened to him before. What can happen with them?

I liked the story for the most part. This was the first story by this author I've tried and it wasn't that bad as I may have thought when I knew some insta-love would be going on.
The story is pretty simple, Nathan is a tired doctor who wants a change of pace. He meets a man he begins to be attracted to and then develops feelings for him. There are some obstacles which I think were slightly oversimplified but this is a romance and I liked the fantasy of it.

Still, I can't help but wrinkle my nose at how fast it was for Nathan to go from a overstressed man to one used to quiet and even more from someone without libido - his words - to be practically in love with another man, while he never even thought about being gay.
I know gay-for-you plots can work, I've read some that, while not believable, were done in such a way I loved them anyway. But in this case I think his evolution was too fast and for such an analytical person as a doctor should be, I think he didn't think properly about what was happening in his life. I assume such a discovery would make one think a lot before coming into any truths or positions in life. Sure, the goal is to be the opposite, like the title says, Nathan should let go and feel, be alive. But there's new thinking and there's life changing.

Trent seems a good man. I did find some faults with him, which is great because or things go too wrong or too perfect and that's harder to come across as something usual people would be like.
Trent is one of those with bad experience in his past when it came to come out of the closet, but he's a good man and has a good heart, despite some bad decisions that influence the development of the story. I mean, nothing bad, but as always, any words we say or don't say can be read differently by others, thus miscommunication and that can set the potential for problems. Or not, as we could saw everything worked out well here. A bit too much, but still.

I liked how Nathan's family accepted him and was here for him no matter his own feelings of fear or anticipation. Again, this isn't certainly the norm for gay individuals out there, but it was sweet and uplifting and that exists too, so I can't really say it would not happen.

I think some situations in the story were there only to exemplify something and to make the characters do something, as the plot is very simple once they admit their feelings for each other. The end was a bit too sugary for my taste, but it's a HEA and sometimes that's the best thing anyone can ever hope so.
I think it's very difficult to balance a believable story with a realistic one plus a HEA. I think this one wasn't done perfect on all counts but it came out good and that's what I remember the most.
Grade: 7/10

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