Title: Patchwork Paradise
Author: Indra Vaughn
Narrator: Craig Beck
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Run Time: 6 hours and 42 minutes
At a Glance: A beautifully written and narrated story about love, loss, hope and all of the messy tragic and wonderful things that make up life.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: Oliver and Samuel’s relationship is fairy-tale perfect. They share a gorgeous house in Antwerp, go out with their friends every weekend, and count down the days to their dream wedding. But their happy ending is shattered one late night, and just like that, Ollie is left bereft and alone.
The months that follow are long and dark, but slowly Ollie emerges from his grief. He even braves the waters of online dating, though deep down he doesn’t believe he can find that connection again. He doesn’t think to look for love right in front of him: his bisexual friend Thomas, the gentle giant with a kind heart and sad eyes who’s wanted him all along.
When Thomas suddenly discovers he has a son who needs him, he’s ill prepared. Ollie opens up his house — Sam’s house — and lets them in. Ollie doesn’t know what scares him more: the responsibility of caring for a baby, or the way Thomas is steadily winning his heart. It will take all the courage he has to discover whether or not fairy tales can happen for real.
Review: I adored Patchwork Paradise when I read it, and Craig Beck did a beautiful job of bringing the characters and the vast array emotions to life.
Originally, when I read the story, it brought so many feelings to the surface. I definitely recall needing tissues at the time. Listening to Craig Beck bring Ollie and Thomas’ story to life only enhanced the emotions until there were times I had to take a break. I paused the audio several times and left it for a while. As someone who has suffered a severe loss in my life in the last few years, I could all too easily understand the gamut of emotions in the grieving process and the effort it takes to try to move forward from a life altering loss. I can honestly say the author did a superb job of capturing the grieving process and Craig Beck did an excellent job of bringing the characters’ feelings to life and making them real. Was my personal journey of grief exactly the same as Ollie’s? No, because no person processes such life shattering grief the same way. But I could relate and completely understood the inner turmoil, confusion, anger and even numbness Ollie went through trying to figure it all out. How does one go on when everything is changed in such a devastating manner? How is it even possible to still be living with such overwhelming internal pain?
Though there were tearful moments, and moments my heart was absolutely breaking, that is definitely not all this story provides. There is love, loss, grief, hope, devastation, confusion, happiness, anger, laughter, and then… love again. The story contains all the messy emotions that make up life. The drama was not placed for the sake of drama, and is realistic in its portrayal. Just when the story seems to be heading in one direction, life (as it often does) takes a dramatic turn and the characters are forced to deal with the outcome—both good and bad. Their reactions are genuine and understandable, nothing in this story felt manufactured or a caricature.
The story of Ollie and Thomas could best be described as a slow-burn. The grieving process is never easy, and for some, can be a lengthy and difficult process with progress followed by regression. Day to day emotions can change and just when you think you have made improvement, you find yourself back as though you are at the beginning. All the while life around you is still happening. This is how it is for Ollie, and what the listener experiences in the beginning of the book. While Ollie is trying to pull himself out of the pit of despair, and find his footing in the new situation, the rest of the world continues on around him, Thomas’ life moves forward and there are decisions and choices he makes that affect how the two MCs find their way to one another. The pacing was perfect for the story, but if you are a reader who needs a lot of on page action with the two MCs, and lots of sexy times, you won’t find it here. There are some man-love scenes (and even a sort of M/F scene, but that is more of viewing it from Ollie’s perspective rather than participating), but it is not overly saturated, only a few scenes through the book, and generally written as a necessary part of the story’s progression. When Ollie and Thomas do get together its stunningly written and definitely hot.
The story is told from Ollie’s POV, so the listener becomes emotionally invested with what Ollie is going through from the beginning. As the story progresses the listener gets more of Thomas; we see how he has been dealing with his own obstacles, trying to overcome them. Thomas is such a wonderfully crafted character and I absolutely adored him. He was far from perfect, but his heart was in the right place. When his life takes a dramatic turn, his reactions were heartfelt, and it was amazing to listen as the two MCs navigate the situation together.
This story is so much more than a story about romance and finding love. It is a beautifully written and narrated story about love, loss, hope and all of the messy tragic and wonderful things that make up life, which I highly recommend.
You can buy Patchwork Paradise here: