Review: And We Went by Spencer Rook

Small town life in the 1950s wasn't easy for Roger, born into a rigid family headed by a preaching father, struggling to balance expectations with his growing feelings for his best friend, Billy. Though they fight to overcome the odds, it all seems futile when Billy goes missing and Roger must balance family, a stalker, and blackmail if he hopes to live long enough to love.

Today, in the year 2014, it is a fact that coming out can be hard for many gay people. It is a sad fact that this is the case - it is a sad fact that anyone has to 'come out' at all - it is also heartbreaking that sections of society choose to judge people because of who they fall in love with. But, if it is hard today, in our, hopefully, more enlightened times, imagine being the son of a Preacher in small town America in the 1950's. This is exactly Roger's life.

This book has one of my favourite story-lines, friends to lovers, but somehow it felt different. I'll try to articulate why. Roger and Billy are best friends and do fall in love, but in the rigid structure of post war, small town, America they cannot let this be known. It wasn't even that there were places where they would be accepted, society as a whole was against them. Roger felt the wrath of his father at the age of just 6 for innocently mentioning he wasn't going to marry a girl but a boy. It broke my heart. What made it worse was it was his own mother who betrayed him to his father. His mum, his protector, betrayed his trust. I'm a mum and I can't think of one thing I wouldn't do to keep my children safe and happy, so I found this particularly hard to accept. Except I could see the truth of the era in what happened, this is how things were done. I cried.

Roger knew to keep his feelings a secret so when they had the beautiful scene by the swimming hole my heart mended itself a little. Whatever else was to happen, Roger knew Billy felt the same. Aaah - friends to lovers. Perfect.

The story was one I would describe as an emotional rollercoaster - the kind where you have that anticipation with every turn of the page that something is about to happen. And it does. I went from low to high to low to high. Roger's father (and many other characters) were bigoted with no redeeming features. Yet it felt real, yes he was the typical tyrannical priest....but I believed it. There was a small twist at the end which I liked. I don't want to give too much of the story-line away though. I'd recommend this book to anyone particularly if you enjioy historical novels or feel like a change of pace. It really was an enjoyable read.

I will DEFINITELY be looking out for more Spencer Rook books.

A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

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