Review: The Rebuilding Year by Kaje Harper

Losing nearly everything leaves room for the one thing they can’t live without.

A few excruciating minutes pinned in a burning building cost Ryan Ward his job as a firefighter, the easy camaraderie of his coworkers, his girlfriend, and damn near cost him his left leg. Giving up, though, isn’t an option. Compared to the alternative, choosing a new profession, going back to school, and renting a room from the college groundskeeper are simple.

Until he realizes he’s falling in love with his housemate, and things take a turn for the complicated.

John Barrett knows about loss. After moving twice to stay in touch with his kids, he could only watch as his ex-wife whisked them away to California. Offering Ryan a room seems better than rattling around the empty house, but as casual friendship moves to something more, and a firestorm of emotions ignites, the big old house feels like tight quarters.

It’s nothing they can’t learn to navigate, though. But when dead bodies start turning up on campus—and one of the guys is a suspect—their first taste of real love could go up in smoke.

Product Warnings
Contains two hot men wrestling with a shift in their sexuality, as well as a few positions probably listed in the Gay Kama Sutra. But it’s not all about the hot and sweaty—especially when your previously straight life knocks on the door and comes back to visit.

Okay, so to continue the Kaje Harper fan girl day, here's my review of the amazing The Rebuilding Year. This review was previously posted on Goodreads.

** spoiler alert **

After reading the Life Lesson series I didn't think I would like any of Kaje Harper's books quite as much - I mean Mac and Tony. And Mac. Come on. Then I saw several people commenting on her blog saying that they wanted more of Ryan and John's story from The Rebuilding Year, so I thought I'd have a read myself. I was NOT disappointed.

Everything that I love about this author is in this book. Her real characters, the great research into the other story lines (fire fighting, medical student, landscaping), the way she writes hard and intense story lines without extra angst that is there just for show and melodrama.

Ryan and John were brilliant characters who become friends and then move into a relationship. I appreciated the fact that, though they were both unsure at first as neither had been with a man, this wasn't dragged into pages of doubt. They tried it, shied away, thought about and then let it happen - this made the story much easier to read.

Kaje Harper always manages a nice balance of drama and romance. The drama came from several angles (children and an ex-wife, an unexpected death, a fire, a shooting) and was well written, it felt like part of the plot and not just written to ramp up the book. The romance, well friends to lovers is my favourite kind of love story and this, wow, it was hot. I also loved the fact that it was a new thing for both of them, neither had been with another man before. Often this doesn't work as a storyline, in this case it totally did.

The fact that there is a new Life Lesson's book out soon has only been trumped (just) by the fact that Kaje Harper has said a follow up to Ryan and John's storyline is on the cards. Yay! This book is absolutely, 100% recommended by me.


  1. Loved this one too! I am jumping on the Kaje Harper fangirl wagon :-)

  2. It's pretty crowded on the Kaje Harper fangirl wagon - she's such a fabulous author but we'll always squeeze up for one more. :)