Author: Brigham Vaughn
Pages/Word Count: 189 Pages
At a Glance: What if? This is what this gentle novel focuses on and dares to answer.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: After a lifetime of being told he’s worthless, shy, sheltered Evan Harris is forced out of the closet and kicked out of his home. Friends in Atlanta give him a place to stay while he gets on his feet, but despite his eagerness to explore the city, it isn’t exactly what he expected.
Physically and emotionally scarred from a devastating car accident, Jeremy Lewis struggles to reconcile the brash, outgoing man he used to be with the social recluse he’s become.
Loneliness draws them to each other, but a strong mutual attraction isn’t enough to overcome their pasts. In order to be together, Evan must discover his own worth and Jeremy must trust someone to see past his scars.
Review: Connection by Brigham Vaughn is a slow burning novel, incredibly introspective and more a character study than the basic m/m romance one is used to reading in this genre. Here is a story that exposes the battle that rages between deep-seated desires and needs, and the lonely reality that is the life both Evan and Jeremy lead. Rather than offer some fairy tale easy fix, author Brigham Vaughn instead allows her men to discover what could happen if they force themselves to trust—just a little–to imagine a better life—just for a second.
Evan leads a repressive, emotionally abusive life under the thumb of an out of work, alcoholic father and a weak and uncaring mother. Learning the job of being a funeral director is also under the narrow and bigoted view of his aunt and uncle, who never hesitate to put him down and watch him like a hawk. When a visiting business rep puts a move on the horribly shy and naïve Evan, his uncle catches the two of them, and all hell breaks loose, which ends with Evan being tossed out on the street by his parents. Homeless, shaken and terribly scared, Evan turns to an old friend and his partner, and moves to Atlanta to start again. However, he is so backwards, never even having experienced his first kiss, and while Atlanta turns out to be a new beginning, work wise, it is also an incredibly lonely place for a painfully introverted young man who so desperately wants to be loved.
Jeremy’s life changed horribly when a car accident nearly cost him everything. Now with ugly scares covering a generous portion of his body, and even deeper ones in his fractured mind, Jeremy does little more than work, eat and sleep every day. Afflicted with chronic pain and a deep awareness that he can never have either the sexual life or social one he deeply desires, Jeremy resigns himself to the loneliness of a solitary existence. He is certain he will never be worthy of another man’s love, nor can he ever really trust that a partner will not either pity him or be horrified by his mangled physique.
Two wounded and hurting souls collide. They dance around each other; at times, it is almost painful to watch—the uncertainty, the fear, the all-consuming need. Time and again Jeremy refuses to fall into the trap of wanting Evan, of actually following through and having the man in his arms, in his bed. Evan despairs that Jeremy will always turn him away, that he will never be good enough for anyone to take a chance on, for anyone to love. They dance, and dream, and wish so fervently that they could take that chance, make that connection.
If you are looking for a quick and neat resolution to this story, this sweet, desperate novel of loss and second chances, then you will be sorely disappointed. Like a first kiss, this book is fraught with possibilities but only in so much as both Jeremy and Evan are willing to expose their inner desires and trust that the other will keep them safe. Yes, there were times when I felt that the book labored over the recurring theme of self-doubt and, at times, self-loathing. Perhaps if some passages had taken the time to express what Jeremy and Evan were feeling internally a bit differently, I would have felt that there was less repetition of the copious amounts of inner dialogue. More than once, I wanted the author just to move on and nudge these two men a bit closer, a little faster. However, there is much to be said for establishing the depth of condemnation and despair both Evan and Jeremy felt inside which, in turn, hampered them from allowing themselves to ever believe they could be happy.
Connection shines a light on the possibility of “what if.” What if Jeremy can trust another to love him, to see beyond his broken body and wounded heart? What if Evan can finally accept that he is worthy of love, that he can be “enough” for another man, and love can finally be his? What if? This is what this gentle novel focuses on and dares to answer.
You can buy Connection here: