Title: When the Planets Align
Author: Kate McMurray
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 220 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: Best friends Michael Reeves and Simon Newell always lived within ten minutes of each other, but somehow they’re never in the same place at the same time.
Brash, outgoing Michael’s unwavering confidence that he and Simon are meant to be carries him through some hard times. When Simon moves to New York, Michael dutifully follows. Quiet, practical Simon loves Michael as a dear friend, but he’s not ready for anything romantic.
Several years and several failed relationships later, Simon realizes he’s been in love with Michael all along. Only now Michael has moved on. Though Simon offers everything Michael’s ever dreamed of, the timing is all wrong. Confusion, betrayal, and secrets from the past threaten their friendship until it might be time for them to go their separate ways. Or maybe the planets will finally align, and Michael and Simon will find themselves in the right place at the right time to take the next step.
Review: I have read other books by Kate McMurray, so when I saw this new one I was anxious to read it. I like that Kate takes us on a journey, and that her guys live in a real world just like me. This book opens in the present but also introduces the past and hints at the conflicts between the MCs. The book spans many years, from early childhood through High School and College, and on into their settling into jobs and careers.
The story is written through a series of flashbacks and we are introduced to Micheal, who is bright and vivid, and to Simon who is not. As Michael grows and finds his depth as an adult, Simon is growing into his strength and is finding his own sparkle.
Their history together is shown to be a series of intimate or emotional connections layered on top of their friendship, and the subsequent retelling of these moments. An image of two magnets hanging on strings bouncing together and apart comes to mind. This is the history of the two men, together, but not.
This is necessarily a slower paced book as we observe the couple for so many years, but then there is a catalyst that moves the two men into the same direction. The acceptance of that is emotionally satisfying, for both the men in the book and the reader. I loved the conclusion and the clarity of the epilogue. My only regret is that the feeling of connection to the MCs came so late in the book. This could be due to the alternating POVs and the flashbacks, but I think it was because I couldn’t love Michael or Simon until they were ready to love themselves and each other.
So from the playground to the prom, from Iowa to New York, the journey to happiness is told in wonderfully clever words and is delivered in another great book by Kate McMurray.
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