This is a satisfying read about how dangerous suppressing who you truly are can be and how wrong assumptions about a person can be. Logan, in his quest to fit in, has suppressed who he truly is, a gay man, and it explodes out of him one night in an argument with his wife that lands him in an abuser program. Nick grew up in an abusive household and now runs a program to help women and kids of abusive men, so he believes he knows who Logan is even before they meet. However, these two men meeting will start them on a path of self-discovery that neither expected and both MCs will have to work through all their baggage to reach a place with a relationship can last. The emotions in this book are raw and you feel for what both Logan and Nick have been through. It's hard to make a romance, especially a m/m one, out of domestic violence, but since Logan isn't truly an abuser, it works. The things you learn outside of the romance are what holds the story together and are truly important. Recommend.
I was assigned this book to read in a reading group and had asked for something that wasn't a complete formulaic romance. At first I was suspicious as I couldn't see how one could successfully mix m/m romance with domestic abuse. Well, Ms. Watson succeeded and I look forward to her future books if this is any indication.
The main characters in the book felt real; their issues were complex and tragic. I was immediately sucked into both Logan and Nick's stories and I felt bad for and was angry at both men at various times. The issues around domestic abuse were handled with knowledge and sympathy and the back stories of the secondary characters were a good way to illustrate some of the aspects of abuse and recovery without being overly depressing. There were some tough parts of the book and some serious issues confronted but the overall tone of the book was more healing than tragic. Ms. Watson created a very good balance when setting the tone.
I wasn't always happy with the dialogue; accents wandered a bit. But, other than that, it was a fantastic novel that I couldn't put down. As I mentioned, I'm looking forward to her future novels with anticipation.
Ms. Watson has surprised us with a realistic view into the life of a married man and those around him. She describes his demeanor, his inner thoughts of himself and how he feels about those close to him, and his own feelings of inadequacy. He is willing to sacrifice his own happiness for the sake of his family. The reader understands him, but his counselor doesn't, but his new "friend" does. Yes, an unfortunate "accident" did cause Logan to begin counseling for his anger issues (actually, I understood why and you will too when you read this) but never really opens up. When the friendship with Nick begins to expand, then they both begin to see for themselves (can't give away too much)what changes need to be made. This was an excellent story and I once heard a writer say "How can you write about it if you haven't been there yourself?". That made sense then, but even more after reading this. Great job Ms. Watson!
I was hesitant to purchase this book after reading the book description. The subject of abuse did not sound like an enjoyable read and could have been handled badly by the author. Having finished the book, I am now glad I did purchase it. While there are some very serious issues addressed, the author does them in a respectful manner. While not the typical "light" m/m romance novel, it is definitely very worth the time to read. My only complaint is that the romance that develops between Nick and Logan takes a back seat to each of their own issues. While we watch them develop first a friendship and then a romance, at times it seemed a lot was left out. Besides initial attraction, what else drew them together? The author never really seemed to address this directly but did so in an indirect, "read between the lines" manner. I would definitely recommend "Where the Allegheny Meets the Monongahela" and look forward to reading out books by this author.
I liked working class men in books, so it was nice to meet Logan and feel that both he and Nick are not just cookie cutter romance heroes. Instead they have complicated pasts and love doesn't make the future simple either. The theme of domestic abuse is explored here, from lots of different points of view, but you don't feel lectured, it's just part of the world, and Nick, who lived through it, is trying to make sure he does his part to make it stop.
I liked Logan and felt for his inarticulate fear and grief, the comfort of denial, but the impossibility of it as well. I liked Nick a lot too. Neither man was perfect, both had struggles but together, they could build something fragile and beautiful.