Title: Never too Late
Author: J.P. Bowie
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 73 Pages
At a Glance: All in all, Never too Late had real promise and began so well, only to suffer from a twist in the story that was neither needed nor fully fleshed out.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Knocking fifty isn’t bad enough? Jared Haas gets a double whammy when his doc tells him he needs a hip replacement. Can a hunky but too young paramedic smooth the way to recovery?
Jared Haas isn’t happy. On his own for more than two years after his partner of twenty years, Daniel, died, he’s knocking fifty and now his athleticism is threatened by, of all things, a hip replacement. How to make a guy feel really old! At least there’s eye candy nearby in the very nice shape of Steve Forrest, a hunky paramedic who is willing to take more than just a professional interest in Jared’s welfare. The problem is, in Jared’s opinion, he’s too young.
Steve is persistent, though, telling Jared that the difference in their ages isn’t ‘the Grand Canyon of time’. His good looks and sweet nature, not to mention his patience in waiting for Jared to heal before making his move, eventually wear Jared down, and the first time they make love, Jared knows he is lost in lust. Something he never thought possible.
Their idyll is shaken when Daniel’s brother shows up unexpectedly and declares his love for Jared. David has left his wife and his job back in Seattle ready to move in with Jared and claim him as his own. To say Jared is taken aback by this strange turn of events is putting it mildly. How can he tell David he’s completely delusional without breaking his heart?
Here’s another situation Jared never thought he’d have to deal with, only this one isn’t nearly as pleasant, and might prove to be the end of his relationship with both men.
Review: Due to the author’s extensive blurb, I am going to skip over a recap of the novel and move on to its strengths and weaknesses. First I would remind the reader that this is a novella. Clocking in at a little over seventy pages, Never too Late is a tidy, sweet short story that drops us down into the life of a fifty-year-old man who has lost the love of his life after many happy years. To say that Jared is convinced he will never find love again is an understatement. In fact, he has not only accepted the idea, he embraces it with a resignation that wrenches at your heartstrings. When he meets Steve, the handsome and kindhearted paramedic, he is more than reluctant to even consider pursuing any kind of relationship, much less even go on a first date. Somehow, Steve manages to wear him down and convince Jared that their fourteen year age gap does not have any effect on how smitten he is with Jared.
This part of the journey—these two men discovering each other and their attraction—was so nicely done. The dialogue was never cloying or unbelievable; rather, the two characters talked to each other—voiced their doubts and concerns and moved beyond them slowly and completely. To see Jared come alive again and believe in himself and his appeal, when he began the novel so downtrodden, was really delightful. While there was quite a bit of sex for such a short novella, it was certainly well written and fit the story overall.
In fact, had this story stayed focused on Jared and Steve’s growing attraction to each other, this could well have been a 5 star novella. Unfortunately, the author chose to bring in the brother of Jared’s deceased partner and attempted to create this strange infatuation which never seemed to really get off the ground or make much sense. After a few references to David, he appeared, having left his wife and declaring his love for Jared. The whole plot twist fell flat and made what was a very plausible love story just a little less realistic. It also made for a rather abrupt ending to the novella itself, which was such a shame as the makings of a sweet love story was right there but got derailed by this monkey-wrench of a plot point.
All in all, Never too Late had real promise and began so well, only to suffer from a twist in the story that was neither needed nor fully fleshed out. Still, this was a good story that simply suffered from a weak ending.
You can buy Never too Late here: