Author: Skylar M. Cates
Narrator: Tristan James
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 10 hours and 12 minutes
At a Glance: Hopefully Tristan James will continue to be the voice of the series as his is one of the more accomplished for this style of book. Buy it for the easy and enjoyable story, great narration, and to visit with friends from previous books.
Reviewed By: Mike
Blurb: It’s hard to recover from a first love. Some people never do.
How hard would you fight to keep your best friend? Marc Lucas and Tomas Santos have been best friends forever, but now their friendship is in a crisis. When they were boys, betrayals ripped their world apart. They thought it was fixed, but some parts remained broken. Ever since he saved him from a humiliation at school, Marc has loved Tomas. The last thing he expects is for Tomas to love him back. To keep his best friend, Marc revisits an abusive past he’s tried to forget.
For Tomas, loving Marc has been anything but easy. His upbringing told him it was wrong, so why did it feel so right? Accepting who he is as an adult, Tomas decides he needs a committed relationship. To his deep sorrow, he can’t seem to find it with Marc.
When the two find themselves alone and in the grip of a hurricane, long-buried feelings emerge. Being “just friends” is no longer an option. They must risk it all on love.
Review: Marc and Thomas have been friends forever. One of them was beaten and abused by life, and pegged as a bad seed by his father, society, and his best friend’s family; the other has repressed his feelings for so long because he fears disappointing everyone. And for decades, they do a mutual and infuriating dance of coming together and pulling apart. The pointless and tragic death of one of their roommates, draws them together and pulls them apart over the course of the book.
Tristan James takes over the narration for this series, and does a great job with it, but he also makes some character choices that are not consistent with previous narrations, so listeners of the full series will take some time adjusting to the changes. They are not wrong choices, merely different from the previous ones.
The action in the book pushes Thomas and Marc apart for a time, and James does a fine job of communicating that it is a combination of being afraid to ruin a friendship, family pressures from Thomas’ family, and a ridiculous drive from both to not rely on anyone. The listener is driven to the point of anger, wanting them to realize what they can have if they stop the fear, and other people in their lives from getting in the way. James, as usual, conveys that perfectly, as he does the big action set piece of a hurricane that finally pushes Thomas and Marc together.
How they work out what comes next is also a pleasure to hear in James’ capable hands.
As the subtitle of the book hints, by the end of this one there is plenty to be happy about for those who have followed Marc and Thomas through three books. Tristan James is an above average narrator, and he takes the time to give us all of the sub-characters and their voices, since most of them have appeared previously in the series. His voice as we get the backstories for the main characters is lovely and heartbreaking when it needs to be. Good narrators have you rooting for the right people to come out happy and whole, and that happens in this book.
This is a standalone story and you get enough information to follow the past, if you have not read/listened to the previous books in this series. Most romance novels end with a Happily Ever After; this series give us a happy together so far. So, should this series continue, how relationships evolve over time become part of the world being built. So far, this is a good world that readers are happy to return to. Hopefully Tristan James will continue to be the voice of the series as his is one of the more accomplished for this style of book. Buy it for the easy and enjoyable story, great narration, and to visit with friends from previous books.
You can buy Close to You here: