Author: Alice Archer
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Narrator: Daan Stone
Headstrong Ruben Harper has yet to meet an obstacle he can’t convert to a speed bump. He’s used to getting what he wants from girls, but when he develops a fascination for a man, his wooing skills require an upgrade. After months of persuasion, he scores a dinner date with Henry Normand that morphs into an intense weekend. The unexpected depth of their connection scares Ruben into fleeing.
Shy, cautious Henry, Ruben’s former high school history teacher, suspects he needs a wake-up call, and Ruben appears to be his siren. But when Ruben bolts, Henry is left struggling to find closure. Inspired by his conversations with Ruben, Henry begins to write articles about the memories stored in everyday objects. The articles seduce Ruben with details from their weekend together and trigger feelings too strong to avoid. As Henry’s snowballing fame takes him out of town and further out of touch, Ruben stretches to close the gaps that separate them.
This was absolutely loverly! And I would highly highly HIGHLY recommend the audio version! Daan Stone’s voice was smooth and sweet and simple, and it fit Henry to a T. I listened to this nearly 11 hour audio book, in a 24 hour period. Yeah, you heard that right. I just did not want to put it down.
The flow is incredible. The way it weaves through past and present seamlessly, from story to story is effortless. Technically this ‘time jumps’ constantly, but I wouldn’t word it that way. It’s just that the past and present are one and the same. It’s all just stories whether they have their ending yet or not, and we’re hearing Henry and Ruben’s story, in all that it entails. I did find the elaborate headings of each chapter unnecessary and a tad excessive (this might be a factor of the audio version), I like the “The Historian” and “The Explorer” but didn’t find the subtitle of “searching for Henry” or “telling the truth” etc. to be helpful.
I didn’t expect this to be such a tear-jerker, but there you have it. Talk about an epic love story. There were several quotes I really would have liked to put in my review, but with an audio book that means quickly hitting ‘pause’ during what’s obviously a lovely scene, scrounging up a pen or your laptop, rewinding to the right spot, etc. So it’s sort of a good sign that I didn’t get any quotes, I just didn’t want to hit ‘pause’.
But rest assured the poetry that these two spout off manages to sound deep AF without sounding pretentious. It manages to be heart-wrenching without being sappy. It makes you think. It makes you reassess. It makes you look at your life. And that is a damn fine book. The idea of ‘Everyday Histories’ is an idea about being present with people, while experiencing their past. It’s about opening yourself up, and allowing them to open up. It’s about asking. It’s about telling. It’s about having a connection with our material processions, not letting them become ‘things’ and always remembering how they came to be in your procession. What story brought them into your life.
I’m not familiar with this author, but I will certainly be keeping an eye out for her now. I didn’t really find the epilogue necessary. I usually love them to get a future look into our characters lives, but maybe it only being 3 years ahead made all the revelations a tad unrealistic, 10 years down the line might have been better. But it certainly didn’t ruin the story for me, and is a nice little foray into what’s to come for Henry and Ruben.