It’s no surprise Riley Connors is dealing with issues. He was kidnapped as a young boy, and his parents abandoned him after his newsworthy return. He bounced from foster home to facility and back. Now an adult, ghosts from his past continue to haunt him. After a suicide attempt, he is locked away in Hartfield so that people can make him tune in to emotions he has tried to bury.
Hunter Morgan had the kind of love that spans ages. But the stress of college and adulthood became too much to handle, and the love of Hunter’s life turned to drugs. After he overdoses, Hunter finds himself soaring out of control on the same miserable path. His brother finds him and calls an ambulance, and the sister Hunter would rather not have calls it a suicide attempt, landing Hunter in Hartfield.
Finding love isn’t easy, but it can happen under the most dire circumstances. Together Hunter and Riley may be able to grow from their pain. But they will need to learn to live for themselves, letting love come second.
I tried to immerse myself in this romance story of two damaged men meeting and falling in love inside a mental hospital but nagging questions kept getting in the way. It’s hard to see love when you keep looking at plot holes. Of the two characters,. Hunter is somewhat more fleshed out as we learn about his past involving depression, a past love and drug use . But I felt we were missing significant pieces of Riley’s story.
We learn that Riley Connors as a young child was a kidnapping victim who was subsequently rescued and returned to a mother who apparently didn’t want him. He was then made a ward of the state bouncing from foster home to foster home and in and out of mental health facilities. What we never get is the why of the story.
A kidnapping child victim rescued and still alive would have generated tremendous publicity. There would have been a great deal of outcry if the mother had abandoned him after his ordeal. The public would have demanded to know why. I’m highly skeptical that such a child would have just been thrown into and left to wallow inside the foster care system. Unfortunately we’re never given an explanation for the mother’s behavior or for the aggressive attitude of the mental health professionals.
Riley’s treatment after his rescue was mind-boggling. Psychiatry is now familiar enough with how a child who was kidnapped for years would react. There’s precedent in this area and they wouldn’t have the child isolated and drugged after he had gone through the ordeal of being isolated and drugged by a sociopath.
We’re also never given any explanation for his involuntary commitment to a mental health facility. People who’re suicidal can be held for 24 to 72 hours in most states but not for years. We don’t learn who exactly filed to have him committed or why. It would take tremendous psychosis to hold someone longer and I just didn’t see that in either Riley or Hunter.
The story does meet a lot of the romance points. It’s warm and emotional and you end up wishing for Hunter and Riley’s happily ever after especially after their troubled past. There are some very lovely scenes where Riley and Hunter share a piece of themselves with each other and show care and protectiveness towards one another. But while I was happy they found love, I wasn’t swept away by the story because it lacked a certain amount of depth. Because it’s built upon something as serious as mental illness, I wanted more from it including more accuracy , explanations and better back stories for each of the men.