Author: Eden Winters
Cover Artist: Christine Griffin
Length: 210 pages
At his death, Byron Sinclair left behind more than just his much older partner Alfred Anderson. The couple helped raise their respective nephews, and while Paul Sinclair and Alex Martin are now adults, they still have some growing up to do, particularly when it comes to getting along with each other.
If they refuse to be in the house at the same time, how can Alex be so sure Paul is an opportunistic suck-up with the morals of an alley cat? Paul isn’t impressed with aloof and arrogant playboy Alex, either. Both swear they know all they need to about the other—and about themselves.
Byron’s dying wish is for Alfred to help Paul and Alex see how perfect they are for each other. But when the boys stubbornly refuse to acknowledge what's right in front of them, Byron must get creative—though it’ll be difficult without hands, or a voice, or a body….
Honest to goodness, I don’t know how Eden Winters does it—she can start a novel in a funeral home, and still produce not one love story but two, plus chuckles, groans, gasps, and tears of the happy sort as well as the sad. By the end of this story I was well and truly run through my emotions.
Byron and Alfred are one love story, though we see Byron as a young and vibrant lover only in the memories of those he left behind. Alfred, his much older life partner, always expected to be the one to go first, as befits a man nearly a generation older. In the thoughts of their nephews Paul and Alex, we see both Byron and Alfred as trailblazers for gay love and acceptance, and as men thwarted in their desire for family by law, the times, and conventions. Still, they manage to be huge influences in the lives of their nephews, though not in the same way for both youths.
Byron is an opinionated man—a little drawback like being dead and incorporeal isn’t going to keep him from achieving a last deed before leaving—such a busy little busybody he is! A few of his wispy little nudges have the possibility of going horribly awry, but that just might get his two hard-headed nephews to talk, something they’re decades overdue for.
Paul and Alex are two of the most stubborn men to walk the planet—Paul is bent on independence to a degree that almost requires a slap and a lesson in graciousness, while Alex can hold a notion so tightly it dies of strangulation before he can reassess it. These two have to knock heads over and over before they can come to any appreciation of each other, but ghostly Uncle Byron has ways of shaking them up that provide some giggles along the way. When they do release their assumptions, they are sweet, hot, and more startling to one another than any manifestation of ectoplasm could be.
We get to look at the cogs turning in Alex’s head and know the tragedies that can accompany a privileged upbringing. He’s the one who changes the most in his understanding of love, and with his newfound appreciation of Paul, he can be a bastion of strength when it’s needed. His numerous wrong assumptions are the grist for the comedy, although Paul has his share of preconceived notions to give up. Paul’s almost a little too goody-goody, until he slangs back as good as he gets.
The style is sometimes bouncy and sometimes serious—it’s a strength of the writing that some very serious notions permeate the work but don’t bog it down. Aging, ill health, death, and surviving loss all play a role, but there’s more hope than gloom, and love absolutely triumphs over everything else. For a wonderful emotional journey, a reader couldn’t wish for better than this. 5 Marbles
Also available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and All Romance eBooks.
Review originally posted at Reading Reality.