Title: And Then That Happened
Author: Liam Livings
Publisher: Love Lane Books
Pages/Word Count: 273 Pages
At a Glance: This was my first time reading Liam Livings. I didn’t know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised by this story.
Blurb: Should you settle for a nearly perfect happiness or put your heart on the line for more?
It’s 1999 and 28-year-old Dominic’s carefully planned suburban life with his boyfriend Luke is perfect. His job as a nurse, his best friend Matt, his relationship with his parents, everything is just right. He and Luke have been together ten years, seen each other through friends’ deaths and their parents’ ups and downs, and even had a commitment ceremony.
Gabe isn’t happy with his boyfriend, but he stays with him, because, well it’s complicated.
Fate throws Gabe into Dominic’s life. And then that happened. Gabe’s open relationship, impulsive nature, enthusiasm for life and straight talking advice are fascinating to Dominic. They’re friends, they click over a shared love of Goldie Hawn and Gabe shows Dominic there can be more to life than planned and safe. So why can’t he take his own advice?
And Then That Happened is about finding a new kind of happiness, even when what you have is already perfect. And how sometimes perfect isn’t quite what it seems.
Review: This was my first time reading Liam Livings. I didn’t know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised by this story. I will first start off by saying this book is definitely not the typical read we see in this genre. It took me a while to really get into it. About halfway through, it picked up enough to keep me interested in what was going to happen and see it through to the end.
Have you ever been in a long relationship? A relationship that is going smoothly and everything is just fine? That is, until you meet a person who makes you question everything about your world. Dominic and his partner Luke have been together for ten years. They’ve been married for six of those years. They own a house and a dog, are content with each other, they have a routine that works for them and everything seems to be perfect, until Dominic meets Gabe.
The entire story is told through Dominic’s POV, so we aren’t privy to the feelings and thoughts of the other characters. Usually, getting one person’s POV doesn’t bother me, but I would’ve loved getting Luke’s perspective. While Dominic is running around with Gabe, going to dinners, meeting up for drinks, attending concerts, even meeting Gabe’s family, I kept wondering, “where’s Luke in all this?” Nothing pointed to Luke being a bad person, and I felt bad for the guy. I found I was putting myself in his shoes and thinking about how I would feel if my husband was going out, “dating”. Because let’s be honest here, this is what was happening.
I wasn’t too fond of the clunky flashbacks into Dominic’s childhood. I get the point the author was trying to make with them and understand why he included them, it just didn’t flow well for me at all. I’m a huge fan of flashbacks, but here they were very abrupt and discombobulated.
As for Gabe and Dominic, it was a platonic friendship. Physical cheating, no. Emotional cheating, most definitely. Now, I’m not for cheating of any kind, and now that I’ve had a few weeks to think about this book, emotional cheating is just as bad. As soon as I came to terms to what was really happening in this story, I was sad. To find out this character who should’ve been happy to have an apparently loving husband, a home, a good job, etc., really wasn’t happy at all, it was just saddening to me. While I would have done everything so differently if I was in Dominic’s shoes, it was interesting to go along with him as he struggled with what he should do about his lot in life.
As I read a story I usually take it for what the author intended. I appreciated this story even though I wasn’t really liking what the characters were doing. I think this tells the story of a lot of people in the world. Being in a marriage because it’s comfortable, thinking this is it until something or someone happens in your life. It’s got to be a bitter pill to swallow. For me this was Dominic. The journey he must take to come to the realization that he may want something different in life is a story for everyone. I think the author does Dominic’s story a great justice, even though I didn’t agree with every decision he made.
I’m not giving anything away by saying that this story does have a happy ending, in its own happy ending way. Do Gabe and Dominic end up together? Will Dominic find the spark that’s missing from his marriage with Luke? You’ll just have to read it and find out.
You can buy And Then That Happened here: