Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Renae Kaye - The Blinding Light

Jake Manning’s smart mouth frequently gets him into trouble. Because of it, he can’t hold a job. Combined with some bad luck, it's prevented him from keeping steady employment. A huge debt looms over him, and alone he shoulders the care of his alcoholic mother and three younger sisters. When a housekeeping position opens, Jake’s so desperate he leaps at the opportunity. On landing, he finds his new boss, Patrick Stanford, a fussy, arrogant, rude… and blind man.
Born without sight, Patrick is used to being accommodated, but he’s met his match with Jake, who doesn’t take any of his crap and threatens to swap all the braille labels on his groceries and run off with his guide dog unless he behaves.
Jake gets a kick out of Patrick. Things are looking up: the girls are starting their own lives and his mum’s sobriety might stick this time. He’s sacrificed everything for his family; maybe it’s time for him to live his life and start a relationship with Patrick. When his mother needs him, guilt makes his choice between family and Patrick difficult, and Jake must realize he’s not alone anymore.

Comment: I had this book in the pile since 2015. I finally decided to add it to my monthly reads, after all it had to be added for some reason and I ended up liking the majority of it.

In this book we meet Aussie Jake Manning, a hardworking, clever man who is doing what he can to make ends meet and help his younger sisters since his mother is no good help. When the story begins he is hired to work for mr Stanford as a housekeeper of sorts and the reason why is that the employer isn't that kind and many have quit. Jake, however, is bubbly and determined and he quickly gets on his employer good side and isn't too shocked to know he is a blind young man. As the days go by, they start exchanging notes and when they finally meet, they click rather easily. Their relationship starts to change, though, and they seem to be falling in love but will they get past the obstacles and the difference in finances between them?

I think this was a good story. There were some details I wasn't too fond of, but for the most part this was more romantic and appealing than what one might imagine. 

One of the things I liked the most was how Jake was portrayed. He is a good guy trying to do his best to support his younger sisters and life dealt him a rather unfair path, but he is going on with kindness and hard work and I love these types pf protagonists, people I could root for and that, at times, I imagine myself trying to emulate were I to be in their shoes. He isn't perfect and that was obvious from the moment he started to work for Patrick, mr Stanford. He was too cheeky considering they have never met and it made me uncomfortable to think he assumed the other person wouldn't mind his informality.

Of course, if it weren't so, there would no story and thy hit it off rather quickly. I'm glad the author took the time to set them up in domestic/easy situations related to their professional relationship before the personal feelings each one had started to become obvious. This is narrated in third person but always from Jake's perspective so we only have Patrick's POV in dialogues and it made me think it was quite weird how some answers wouldn't be immediately obvious to Jake... I mean, there's not paying attention and there's obliviousness, and I don't think Jake had the personality for either.

At some point they get together and I should say that from then on the story lost some impact for me. I'd say the fun part of this was to see two different people - mostly in personality - find common ground in their opposed experiences in life and have something besides attraction to sustain a relationship. I liked them together, I liked how they slowly opened up to one another but yes, for me, as soon as they got intimate, things did seem to move a little too quickly, both in how they addressed their feelings for one another and how they just accepted the issues which stared to surround them, family wise.

Jake is a great protagonist but Patrick isn't bad either, and his blindness doesn't turn him into a pitiful person. I actually liked that his blindness wasn't such  big obstacle for them or for how they were seen by others as a couple. It affected his/their life but it wasn't an impossible or too angsty situation. It was also well done that it didn't get to be used as a means to insert conflict for them. It was there but it was just a physical feature Patrick had, not a tool to out distance between them so we could like or dislike Patrick for his actions/behavior if the situation called for that.

The end was a bit sugary and so.... easy. I know other readers have not liked how things played out but I can put aside reality here, and just go with the fantasy of such a HEA. It's not as black and white as it was made to be for certain and I know that, but I feel weirdly distanced from that and somehow it didn't fully affected my enjoyment of the book, although it's there all right and each reader might feel it differently. It's nothing bad, only unlikely.

All things considered, this was enjoyable. I liked the author's style and I see there's a sequel, which I'll get to, at some point. Potential serious issues aside, the romance was cute and hopeful and I felt glad to have read this story.

Grade: 7/10

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