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In fact, the book comes with the following reader advisory:
‘This book contains polyamory and infidelity, expressions of homophobia by multiple secondary characters, divorce, scenes of M/F/M intimacy, references to parental neglect, disownment, one brief scene involving an physical altercation.’
And you know what? As a result Wake was one of the most fascinating, captivating, and engrossing reads I’ve enjoyed this year so far.
Riley and Carter — bear with me while I sigh — I fell for these two men as soon as they were introduced to the reader and to each other when they both start at Harvard. The two men are friends from the moment they meet, and only grow closer as time goes by. Things get confusing when especially Riley realises that his feelings for Carter run a bit deeper than ‘just’ friendship. But Carter and Riley being who they are and preparing for futures that have been determined for them long before they were old enough to have a say in the matter, have no idea how to deal with whatever it is they can feel developing between them.
Sharing women allows Riley and Carter to be intimate without actually having to confront the confusing and possibly life-destroying connection they feel and it works for them, more or less, until it doesn’t anymore.
When I’m honest I have to admit that this book should have been too angsty for me. It is testament to the quality of the writing these two authors produced that it wasn’t. Quite the opposite in fact. As much as it was clear to me that these two men belong together, I completely understood the reasons why they weren’t. Despite the fact that I’m not a fan of cheating, I couldn’t help admiring the solution they found for their dilemma. And yes, I did fully appreciate the very hot scenes their ‘compromise’ resulted in.
My heart broke, time and again, for both men, but more for Riley than for Carter. In fact, I have to admit that although I adored him, I did feel like slapping Carter on several occasions. I’m not going to tell you why — read the book — but really! In all fairness, I did understand where he was coming from but that didn’t make it any easier to watch Riley’s suffering.
If my review is somewhat obscure, that is on purpose. While I do want to let you know what this book is about, I do not want to give any spoilers or give so much away that you start this book with preconceived ideas. All I can say is that this book is more than worth taking the risk, regardless of how you feel about any of the topics laid-out in the reader advisory.
Exquisitely written, beautifully told, and gripping from start to finish, Wake is a book to experience as much as it is a great read. And it is only the start of Riley and Carter’s journey. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the book ends on a cliff-hanger, but it is obvious there’s a lot of story left to be told. And I for one can’t wait for Calm, the second book, to be published. I’ll be hitting that early download button as soon as Calm becomes available. Is it August yet?
Overall I have to say this may well be the best 5 Euro I’ve spent in recent times.
It's about two men who meet in college who, up until then, considered themselves heterosexual. It's their long journey to a realization that labels like "gay" or "bi" or "straight" truly shouldn't matter in the grander scheme of happiness. It's a circuitous route, and includes the Big NO-NO (or so I've been told by readers of my own books): "CHEATING." So if you were with me until now, you are free to skip the rest of this. We all like different things in our fiction and I prefer mine on the realistic side so the particular reason these authors included marital infidelity felt, well, real to me. And believe me, the people involved pay consequences for it. People are hurt by it, including themselves.
But I digress. It's what I do.
WAKE is book 1 and introduces us to Carter and Riley at Harvard. A couple of guys rich enough to never have any material worries, even though their parents on are the spectrum of shallow to mostly absent to utterly hateful. Both guys are hot and sexy (as is required). And they become fast friends. Riley wants more, or at least he admits that to himself a lot sooner than Carter does. But as lives of wealthy and powerful families do, theirs move on a trajectory towards "taking over the family business" and marrying a woman, making some kids and being if not happy, at least content with a Manhattan apartment and plenty of dough in the bank.
They are not (happy), of course, and the authors treat this unhappiness with what I found to be a deft hand. Not overdoing the internal moaning or whinging, balancing it with what both men really do know are lives blessed with people who care about them and, as I've said, a ton of money to cushion any blows.