Title: Family Obligations
Authors: Vivien Dean and Rick R. Reed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 43 Pages
At a Glance: I absolutely loved this book.
Reviewed By: Lynn
Blurb: Tate D’Angelo always thought he knew who his father was: beloved doctor, devoted husband and father…. Everyone at the funeral shared the same glowing stories of a kind soul. So when his father’s old college buddy, Randy, approaches him after the service, Tate expects to hear echoes of the same.
Instead, he gets a lifetime’s worth of letters that tell a different tale and cause him to view his father—and his family—in a whole new light.
The truth, about a secret romance kept buried for decades, astonishes him. Overwhelmed by grief and confusion, Tate is unsure if he can bear learning how the lives of two men entwined over the years, but he reads on anyway, discovering more to value, more to respect, and most importantly, more to love about the man who raised him.
A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.
Review: Family Obligations is definitely not your typical romance . It’s more of a love story that could have been, but never was. It’s the tale of two men, Mark and Randy, and we get to know them through letters written to each other over the years. We take the journey along with Tate, Mark’s son, as he reads the letters his father wrote to his lover—and discovers who his father really was.
What I loved the most about this story was the writing. I liked that I got to bring my own emotions into it instead of the author telling me what I should be feeling. This one made my heart hurt. Most of the time I felt sad for Mark and Randy, especially Randy. The desperation, hurt, anger, and finally, his acceptance of the situation was at times really hard to read. I wanted to give him a hug through the entire story.
My feelings about Mark are a mixed bag. I didn’t blame him for his decisions; I blamed society for making him believe his way was the only way he could live his life. At first I believed him a coward and selfish, taking the easy road. By the end, it was clear he’d made the ultimate sacrifice.
I said in the beginning this was a love story that never was, but, in actuality, it was a love story—a man’s love for his child, and the obligations and responsibilities Mark shouldered despite how he felt in his heart.
Some reviews I’ve read mentioned how the reader hated the cheating. In my opinion, that totally misses the whole point of the story. The cheating wasn’t condoned and wasn’t celebrated in any way, and neither author made an excuse for it. I would have thought it weird had these two men not gotten together at some point. It didn’t bother me at all.
Overall, I absolutely loved this book. It doesn’t have a happy ending; it’s not really a feel-good story either. I’m not going to give away spoilers about how Tate reacts to all this information. I will say, though, there’s a surprising twist at the end. Highly recommended to all.
You can buy Family Obligations here: