Title: Small Steps
Author: Chris McHart
Publisher: Rawmance Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 230 Pages
At a Glance: Overall, this was a great read that I would recommend for everyone.
Reviewed By: Lynn
Blurb: Ben Amann currently hates everything: The accident that temporarily put him in a wheelchair, the fact that he has to go for rehab and live in an assisted living home as well. Sebastian Hofers, the good looking but equally bad-tempered new assistant to his rehab therapist changes that.
Sebastian has two choices after causing an accident while driving drunk: community service hours or go to jail. The decision is a no-brainer, and so he meets Ben at the rehab center. The two of them hit it off and slowly, Sebastian sees more than just a patient in Ben.
But their growing relationship faces hard trials, not only because of Sebastian’s heavy drinking, but also because of the truth: The two of them already met on an icy street, eight months ago.
Can love and forgiveness overcome the overwhelming guilt and resentment?
Contains: Two ill-tempered men, a lot of hang-ups, a shared hope, and a destroyed dream.
Trigger Warning: deals with alcohol abuse and alcoholism
Review: This was my first time reading Chris McHart. The author chose to write about a serious problem in this country, drunk driving. The blurb definitely piqued my interest and for personal reasons, I was intrigued to see where the author was going to go with this story.
We get to meet the characters, Ben and Sebastian, almost a year after the accident—from their chance meeting at the rehab center, to their daily routines. We get to know them as individuals too, through their POVs, and see a budding romance. A romance that maybe isn’t going to work out the way they want.
Now, from the blurb, we know Sebastian caused the accident that put Ben in a wheelchair. As a reader, I have mixed feelings about knowing something the characters don’t. In some cases it’s necessary, but I feel with this story that I wish I hadn’t known. I think because of that knowledge, the beginning of the story was a little repetitive. I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop, and was wanting the author to get on with it and let them know who the other one was already. To be honest, it took me out of the story a bit.
Some may not agree with me on my assessment of Sebastian here, but I kinda felt bad for the guy. He was an absolute train wreck, and no one was reaching out to help him. He was on a downward spiral through most of the story, and at times, it was very difficult to watch. Part of me wanted to shake him and tell him to grow the hell up, stop drinking, haven’t you caused enough damage? But the other part of me was screaming at those around him, can’t you see he needs help? I really just wanted to pluck him from the pages and give him a smack and a hug all at the same time.
Ben, on the other hand, I wasn’t a fan of his at the beginning. I know, he’s the victim here; it wasn’t his fault; I should feel sorry for him. I didn’t. There was something about his whiny, poor me attitude that I just didn’t like. He deserved to have a poor me attitude, I know, but I wasn’t feeling it. He does redeem himself towards the end of the story, though, and I often wondered if the author meant to make his character not so likable, or is it just me? It’s probably just me.
I will say the author did a tremendous job in keeping this story real, in the alcoholism storyline and the havoc which this disease can cause. Seeing the aftermath and how it can truly change the lives of so many people was very realistic. Bottom line: it’s a story of acceptance, forgiveness and learning to love and be loved.
I loved the minor characters who really put their mark on this story. Marco, being an old friend of Ben’s, added a little lightness to a pretty heavy subject. And Niko, I loved him. A new friend of Ben’s and eventual roommate, he was a godsend to both main characters, in so many ways. I don’t know if the author has any plans for Niko, but he definitely has a story to tell, and I for one would love to read it.
As the saying goes, no one reads the same story. Some may see these characters a lot differently than I do, so don’t pass this one by. Overall, this was a great read that I would recommend for everyone.
You can buy Small Steps here: