Guest Review: When Adam Fell (Foothills Pride, #4) by Pat Henshaw

When his lover Jason’s drug addiction spiraled out of control, TV celebrity chef and cookbook author Adam de Leon walked away from him. Adam also abandoned his renowned restaurant in San Francisco to start a small bistro in the Sierra Foothills.

Five years later Adam is battling the conservative leaders of Stone Acres, California, to open a new restaurant in historic Old Town when Jason turns up on his doorstep—a recovered Jason, now going by the name David and claiming he's overcome his addictions. What’s more, he begs Adam to take him back and says he’s ready for their happily ever after.

Adam has enough on his plate with problems plaguing the opening of his restaurant. And now he’s having a hard time deciding which to follow—his head or his heart.

Guest Reviewer: Fantasy Living

This romance was about two people who needed to part ways, one for the push into rehabilitation, and one for emotional self-preservation. I know the feeling well. I have no doubt that everyone knows someone, knew someone, or is otherwise touched by drug addiction. It is a really hard topic for me to read about. I have a personal stake in the hope that comes from that future date when the person you love is whole again.

That is why I was very interested in this story. I wanted to read about the other side of things. The rebuilding of trust, and the hope that this isn’t just another line which ultimately ends in self-perceived failure, abandonment, and self-loathing of not being able to just be there through it all. My expectations may have been a little high with the topic, but I don’t think so. It’s one of those pieces, that if written with well roundedness, can be something amazing, and give everyone that light they need to see in the dark.

This story didn’t go as deeply into the rebuilding for me. I felt that the characters lacked that crucial element of emotional reknitting of their hearts. Jason’s reinvention into David - off-page - was well thought out, and explained in a way that gives credence to his current state, but Adam was nowhere near emotionally available to analyse how he was dealing, to heal in a real way. He was in stasis where he hadn’t fully healed from the wounds of his past, and was too busy being busy to really get into that mindspace to move on. I didn’t see the rebuilding of trust in a way that satisfied me.

If you’ve ever been betrayed by someone you love in a way that is ongoing, where you have no control over the outcome, or even really believe the validity of someone’s apology, you know that the trust is the hardest to rebuild. David can spout about how he has been reborn, but it is not believable that Adam would just say “Okay, I’ll accept that” while not being there for the journey, to see the truth in the words. It should have taken a lot more for him to accept the changes for truth, and there wasn’t enough evidence for me as a reader, to believe that this had occurred. His stony attitude may have contributed to that feeling.

On the other hand, I enjoyed the plot of Adam trying to reestablish himself in the town he grew up in. I liked the quirky drama and the way it was resolved. The overall story was promising, and I enjoyed it. I just wanted more from Adam. I needed to get into his heart and really see him.

I believe in unconditional love, I live it. There are still boundaries, but you will never walk away, even when you maybe should, for a while. I accept that Adam and David will always be it for each other. I believe in their relationship. I just don’t believe their healing journey as a couple has finished. I would definitely read a sequel to this story, to see how they are doing a year from now, with Adam getting real about what’s inside him. I don’t need mushy, I would prefer it not be, but I do need to see something more from him, and maybe a little more from David.

Dreamspinners Press

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