Title: Road to the Sun
Author: Keira Andrews
Length: 246 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Age Gap, Suspense/Thriller
At a Glance: This story is a great combination of spine-tingling thriller wrapped in sweet romance, and made for a wonderfully satisfying summer read.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Jason Kellerman’s life revolves around his eight-year-old daughter. Teenage curiosity with his best friend led to Maggie’s birth, her mother tragically dying soon after. Insistent on raising his daughter himself, he was disowned by his wealthy family and has worked tirelessly to support Maggie—even bringing her west on a dream vacation. Only twenty-five, Jason hasn’t had time to even think about romance. So the last thing he expects is to question his sexuality after meeting an undeniably attractive park ranger.
Ben Hettler’s stuck. He loves working in the wild under Montana’s big sky, but at forty-one, his love life is non-existent, his ex-boyfriend just married and adopted, and Ben’s own dream of fatherhood feels impossibly out of reach. He’s attracted to Jason, but what’s the point? Besides the age difference and skittish Jason’s lack of experience, they live thousands of miles apart. Ben wants more than a meaningless fling.
Then a hunted criminal takes Maggie hostage, throwing Jason and Ben together in a desperate and dangerous search through endless miles of mountain forest. If they rescue Maggie against all odds, can they build a new family together and find a place to call home?
Review: Oftentimes, for me, I find the May/December trope used in a novel leads to the disappointing scenario of a younger character who is painfully naïve to the point of disbelief, and/or depressingly poor to the degree of imminent homelessness. This then leads to the faint idea of the younger man pursuing the older in order to gain some measure of security, either emotional or financial, and it’s this fairly worn storyline that I’ve found taints most of these novels for me. In Keira Andrews’ novel Road to the Sun, I found neither of these fallbacks, and was so happily surprised to see a younger MC who could hold his own. Admittedly, he was used to stretching a dime, and was most assuredly leery of relationships due to the wrong reasoning, but still, Jason had incredible inner strength and it was so refreshing to read about.
On a much-needed vacation in Montana, Jason and his young daughter meet Ben, a ranger who loves his job but is assuredly in need of a change. Ben has recently been dumped by his partner and boss of many years, and given the latter situation, must work with the man on a fairly constant basis—which is like rubbing salt into his wounded heart. There is something about the young camper, Jason, that immediately draws Ben. Ben, on the other hand, causes feelings in Jason that he has long kept buried while assuring himself that his interest in the male physique is one of admiration only. Then the two kiss and all bets are off. Now, despite the fact that Jason will be returning to New York in one short week, sparks begin to fly. But just as quickly, those flames are doused by the kidnapping of Jason’s daughter by a wanted murderer. With Ben at his side, Jason must track the killer and recover his daughter before the unthinkable can happen.
Alongside what turned out to be a taut action thriller was a blooming love story that became a truly gorgeous relationship. With Jason finally understanding that his interest in the male body was not a passing thing, but real need and longing, we watch as Ben fumbles through the beginnings of wooing a virgin. Jason and Ben have the worst of luck in this story, with everything continually falling to pieces from the beginning. Beyond Jason’s daughter being kidnapped, there is so much in Jason’s life that is unresolved. Starting with his wealthy family wanting him to give custody of his daughter over to them so that he could go on with his life at the age of seventeen, his best friend and mother to that same child dying shortly after the baby’s birth, and the fact that he is an artist who cannot pursue his dream due to raising a child, Jason is pretty heavily burdened for a young man. Yet he is incredibly resilient and no pushover. He is a great father and determined to be better, which often stirs up searing internal doubts about his abilities to really do right by his child.
Ben, to put it bluntly, is stuck. He cannot seem to move beyond the hurt from his past relationship and stays in a job that is going nowhere professionally. He watches his ex have everything he thought they always wanted with each other, including adoption. He is lonely, depressed and in desperate need of something to pull him out of the rut he has dug himself into. Jason is the spark that begins his recovery. However, these two men are both uncertain of how to let the other know they need each other, and the incredible strain of saving Jason’s daughter certainly doesn’t help.
I think what worked best in this novel was that despite the age difference, both men were on equal footing emotionally. This wasn’t the case of the older man (Ben) being superior, even financially, and that, in and of itself, was refreshing to me. The only real thing that set them apart was their age and, to be frank, even that faded into the background the more you got to know the two of them. I found this to be one of the more exciting May/December pairings I had read in a long time due to both Jason and Ben coming into the relationship on even footing. Along beside the romance element there was a darn good action thriller unfolding—the chase to find the murderer/kidnapper was fast and furious and kept me on the edge of my seat.
For me, Road to the Sun is perhaps the best story yet to be offered with this well-tried trope of older/younger relationship. The story is a great combination of spine-tingling thriller wrapped in sweet romance, and made for a wonderfully satisfying summer read.
You can buy Road to the Sun here: