Title: Patchwork Paradise
Author: Indra Vaughn
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 262 Pages
At a Glance: Another great story from Indra Vaugh.
Reviewed By: Jules
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: Indra Vaugh writes so beautifully—Vespertine, her co-authored book with Leta Blake, was one of my absolute favorite books of last year, and we get to see more of that lovely, sentimental style in her newest release, Patchwork Paradise. I definitely went through the gamut of emotions reading this one. I might not have needed the truckload of Kleenex other readers warned of, but there were absolutely some tears and many instances of dealing with a massive lump in my throat. You’ll be glad to know it wasn’t all tears, however—there are some sweet and tender moments, and some cute moments along the way as well.
That being said, you can read the blurb and know that this is going to be somewhat of a rough ride. Grief is so hard. To go through yourself or to help someone else through. Even to read about. The loss of the one nearest and dearest to you is so unfathomable. But, Vaughn does a great job of capturing that loneliness—the just utter emptiness that Ollie feels after the loss of Sam. His pain jumps off the page, and there are times that you will feel it right along with him. Ollie and Sam were young and so in love; in fact, they were due to be married in a month’s time. So, when he is unexpectedly taken from Ollie, the despair that he falls into is completely understandable.
Ollie’s support group is a huge part of this story. His friends, as well as his mom, are there for him every step of the way through his grieving and the rebuilding of his life. They drag him out of bed when he thinks he can’t go on, they help him honor Sam on what would have been their wedding day, and they quietly cheer him on as he dips his toes back into dating. And, all along, through everything, Thomas is there, secretly pining for Ollie.
There were quite a few dramatic turns in the book. There was the tragedy in the beginning, obviously; then some awful, unexpected tension with Sam’s parents (I have two separate notes in my Kindle that both say “what an asshole” about Sam’s dad), which lasted throughout; and finally, the growing pains and stress of the new relationship situation with Thomas. None of the drama felt manufactured. The story and how everything unraveled definitely felt realistic, but… Actually, I don’t know if there even needs to be a ‘but’ here. I think it just depends on what you’re looking for in a story. This one is a slow burn. Getting over someone is a long, difficult process. The “romance” part was sort of broken up into sections: Ollie and Sam; Peter, who Ollie dated briefly, was sweet and romantic, though the timing was obviously not right; and, then Ollie and Thomas. I felt like it dragged a little through the middle, maybe—others may not think so—but, overall it all worked.
Once Thomas’s son entered the picture, even though it still wasn’t completely smooth sailing, the light at the end of Ollie’s tunnel became infinitely brighter. Milo definitely helped bring them together, and opened Oliver’s eyes to things he clearly wanted that maybe wouldn’t have been possible with Sam. I was an absolute sucker for all the baby stuff, and adored this section of the story and watching the guys work through everything. Wonderful.
In the beginning, this book is a story of loss. Poor Ollie loses the love of his life in the first chapter. But ultimately, it’s much more than that. It’s a story of friendship and redemption, of second chances, of family, and, of course, of love. Another great story from Indra Vaugh.
A quick side note: I loved that it was set in the author’s home country. It made me want to google Antwerp to see if the visions in my head match the reality!
You can buy Patchwork Paradise here: