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The Luckiest Paperback – July 7, 2015
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This book is beautiful.
The author manages to take a familiar trope, that of old friends gathering together to celebrate a life event, and imbues it with new life and meaning. Themes are reminiscent, but in no way derivative of, The Big Chill. The novel has a solid and tactile sense of place -- the coastal Texas setting is so real, you can smell the salt air.
The real star of The Luckiest, however, is the characters. Aaron and Nik's romance is brimming with the kind of passion that can only be brought about by a long, unwilling separation. Nik's determination to win Aaron over again, despite a singularly heartbreaking breakup, brings to mind Jane Austen's Persuasion. The extended cast of vibrant characters are rich with detail, and rarely if ever fade into the background -- their stories feel as real and as present as Aaron and Nik's main-plot romance, and their relationships with each other feel authentic.
The Luckiest is that rare romance novel that sticks with you long after you've set it down. I found myself reading slower and slower, just to prolong the pleasure of reading; after I finished, I wandered around the house smiling at nothing -- and everything.
My second big problem was that there was no conflict. Nothing happens. Nada. ***Spoilers*** there is tension between Nik and Aaron for about 30 pages and then...they're together...and nothing else happens. Well aside from the incredibly boring description of all the wedding preparations, which I'm sure is exciting if you're there in person, but isn't so fun to read.
I don't think I'll look for anything by this author again. This wasn't really to my taste, and although I don't usually comment on price, $8 was a very steep price for this one.
The Luckiest follows Aaron, a Texan who is currently making it in New York City as he travels back home for a whirlwind weekend helping throw a wedding for his best friend. The fact that his best friend is marrying the best friend of his former love complicates things a tad, but the story sparkles with their careful (and maybe not so careful) return to each other's orbit, all set to the backdrop of a beautiful Texas week.
The Luckiest brought back sharp memories for me of that on the cusp era of just post-college when everything and nothing seemed possible all at once. The people involved in your life at that time are so important to your formation of self, and reading as Nik and Aaron rediscovered each other all while in the presence of the friends and family that shaped their original bond was what made this book work so well for me. I will say that while there are other character to root for, I was so focused on Nik and Aaron that I did let the auxiliary friends fade into the background a bit. It was no loss to me, though!
Also, McWarren's ability to describe not only amazing sexual connections, but the emotional side of those connections, is superb. It doesn't feel like a gay romance novel in any way, but a novel about the enduring connection between two humans. It helps as well that this book has a great level of diversity, in a way that feels authentic and not overdone, and completely true to its Texas setting. I'm so thrilled to have this on my digital shelf to turn to time and time again, and to lend to all my friends.
The story is that of Aaron Wilkinson, who travels from New York back to his growing-up-home of Texas to help a group of friends prepare for a wedding. Once there, he’s thrown back into the dynamic relationships from his younger days, and winds up rekindling his romance with Nik, his once-upon boyfriend and boy-who-broke-his-heart. The lovers get the best of both worlds in this narrative: a torrid, secret reawakening of passion culminating in a clandestine hook-up, and then a public display of their relationship in front of their friends (who react with a range of joy and mistrust).
There is nostalgia here, and joy, and old pain drummed up, too. This is one for us mature readers, because it’s not an ignorant romance: their pasts and their passions both weigh on these characters. Old feelings–both love and hurt–come back from the dead. Chickens come home to roost.
It’s romantic; they are dashing; one roots for these old lovers, it’s true. But it’s touched with the bittersweet. I like my love stories this way–love isn’t interesting if it comes too easily, and this is as much a story about healing as it is about finding love.
The characters are good to spend time with; I like these guys. There’s a lot of vicarious happiness to enjoy. The friendships here are important, too, and weigh almost as much as the central love relationship–that’s another, nice, mature element here.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bittersweet and fun - i know it sounds contradictory but you'll have to take my word for it ... or read it for yourself !!Published 4 months ago by Tajszeydler Noémie
A beautifully sweet and gentle novel that left my heart pining for these two young men. I loved the backdrop of the preparations for and the wedding itself, as well as the neatly... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Suzey Ingold
Oh - I loved this. A group of high-school friends gathers after their college graduations to celebrate the group’s first marriage. Read more
i really liked the story a lot. it read very much like a memoir/personal account of aaron's life and it took me a few pages to get the hang of things but once i did, i liked the... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Christina Wade