Title: Second Helpings
Author: Charlie Cochrane
Publisher/GR Link: Riptide, GR
Vice: Loss, new beginnings, Contemporary
Cover Impressions: I like the simplicity.
Best Line: "I'm not sure if its been too long a time or too short a time, but its the right time."
Synopsis:Stuart Collins’s life might as well have ended a year ago when his partner died in a car crash. Even Stuart’s widowed father has found new love with an old friend, Isabel Franklin, so why can’t Stuart be bothered to try?
Then he gets a phone call from Isabel’s son, Paul, who wants to check out whether or not Mr. Collins is good enough for his mother. During dinner together, though, they end up checking out each other. Trouble is, Paul’s got a boyfriend—or maybe he doesn’t, since the boyfriend’s supposedly giving Paul the push by ignoring him. Or maybe Paul just wants to have his cake and eat it too.
Honesty with each other is the only way to move forward. But maybe honesty with themselves is what they really need.
Impressions: This is a character building book that really examines what it takes for someone to move on and to find happiness again. We begin by seeing two older people, the parents of the MCs, gaining the courage to seize their second helping at happiness again, and we quickly meet the two men who need to do the same.
This is a not a book about action, it is really a book that examines what it takes for each person to feel that they can grasp happiness again. Stuart had a wonderful life with his husband, and now struggles to realize that no one can help him grab happiness again, except for himself. I really liked Stuart's struggles, and I liked that Cochrane didn't send us any voices from beyond to guide Stuart. As for so many who have survived tragedies, the choice of happiness is in his hands, and he knows it.
Paul was more of a struggle for me to like, but it was because the impediments to his process of moving on were also himself, and his inability to accept that things had ended. When I learned more about his situation my compassion increased, and I saw that part of Paul's challenge was the gray area he was living in. Stuart knew his happy times with Mark had passed, but Paul was in a more common, and in some ways more tragic position. He had the hope that things would improve and that he could find his happiness again.
This book was a different book, and more filled with a slow exploration of what it takes to heal, and it is wonderfully written and definitely worth a visit!
Review posted on Amazon and Goodreads.