Review: The Past Comes Home (Ames Bridge, #2) by Silvia Violet

Twenty years ago, Paxton Marshall realized he liked boys, in particular his brother’s best friend, Brad. Pax now runs a successful art gallery, but he’s never found anyone who stirs his heart the way Brad did.

Brad Watson is back in town for his twentieth high school reunion. However, the celebration of long-ago days is the last thing on his mind. He’s there for one reason: to finally tell Pax how he feels.

Pax is shocked to learn Brad is not only gay but also interested in him. Dating a man in Ames Bridge isn’t as simple as it sound, though. In order to make a relationship work, both men will have to bolster their courage and alter their expectations.

Population 1 Cupcake

I was crazy excited about this book. I mean, brother's best friend, age gap, unrequited love being requited twenty years later... what's not to like?

Pax. Pax is what I don't like. Let me tell you about Pax. There are realists. There are pessimists. Then there's Pax. He deserves a category unto himself with its own personal black cloud following him around like Pigpen. You'd think the fact that he's been crushing on and for all intents and purposes half in love with Brad since he was FOURTEEN would imbue him with an excitement the likes of which can only be witnessed in kids on Christmas morning when Santa has made it rain.

You'd be wrong. He acts like the prospect of getting with his fantasy man is on par with getting a root canal. It was painful, it went on far too long and it snapped my enjoyment like a twig. I skimmed the last 30ish% because I could not deal any more. I think I get the gist of his characterization and I do think it's plausible, maybe even likely, but woooooweeeeee did he get on my last good nerve.

Told from both of their perspectives Pax's negativism interfered with their dynamic making it seem awkward and forced at times, clunky. The ending is a happy one but I couldn't buy it. It's rushed, for one, I needed more time with them as a couple and then perhaps I could buy into their coupletry. But as it stands Pax is too negative to Brad's optimistic and gregarious personality for me to buy them long-term. Or maybe I just like Brad and feel like he deserves better?

The sex between them is hot. On paper. But since I couldn't connect with them I didn't really get into it. Brad's bossy and there's a bit of size difference between them which is typically my catnip, but Pax and his stuttering and general milquetoastness left me cold.

I like the premise of unrequited love finally being requited after twenty years in a small Southern town, no less, though be forewarned there is a significant amount of homophobia and general nastiness from some of the townsfolk. Some of them are really supportive and the general vibe of this small North Carolina town was well crafted.

This can be read as a standalone. I had no trouble keeping up and I may even be interested in the next one, but this one I can't recommend. Unfortunately.

An ARC was provided.

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