Guest Review: Chasing Hope by Gwen Martin

Loss chased him away, Hope brought him love...But is that enough?

Sean is only twenty-seven, but he’s already lost everything that gave him life. On the verge of losing hope for a future, he moves to a town where no one knows about him, the death of his child, or his failed marriage; but when his nightmares and his guilt follow him without the pitying glares, he realizes he can’t move forward on his own.

Jonah has worked tirelessly to keep his father’s memory alive and be a fixture in the small town he grew up in. Now, nearing forty, his dreams have been long forgotten to keep everyone else’s alive, and he doesn’t know how to reclaim his life as his own without losing his last connection to his father.

But when the two men’s lives collide, they’re forced to confront their grief and accept that there can be life and hope after loss—if you’re willing to chase it.

Chasing Hope is a ~70k small-town, second chance at love, M/M Romance. There are subject matters in this book that may act as triggers for some. Readers are invited to check out the complete trigger warning on the copyright page, which can be viewed by clicking on the "Look Inside" preview or by downloading the sample. These triggers contain spoilers for the book.

Reviewer: Annery

Sean Cambell moves from Atlanta to Harmony Creek, a small town in the mountains of Tennessee, hoping that a change in geography will shake him out of the overwhelming grief he’s drowning in. The death of his child and the consequent demise of his marriage at twenty seven is a heavy load to bear.

Trying to engage in a normal life Sean begins to frequent a local diner where he meets and befriends the owner Jonah Wright.

At one time Jonah escaped his hometown to go to college in NYC but his father’s illness and premature death forced him to come home. At thirty seven he has settled in his own skin and feels comfortable among a group of friends who are family. All he needs is someone to love.

Jonah is a natural caretaker and Sean is someone who desperately needs taking care of. Jonah is unequivocally gay and Sean, though shy at first, is not averse to exploring that side of his sexuality. But can it be more? Can Sean open himself up to the love Jonah has to give while still drowning in grief?

I really liked the first half of this book. The story deals compassionately and honestly with a subject matter that doesn’t always get much attention, particularly not from the perspective of the grieving father: the emotional toll of a stillborn child. The writing is beautiful and evocative.

My problem was that things, including the imagery & writing, started to get repetitive. Sean is continually storming out of rooms, shutting down, and refusing to speak to Jonah or anyone about anything while Jonah bends over backwards trying to be what Sean needs. Maybe this should’ve been more about Sean finding his way back to a new life instead of a romance? Don’t get me wrong, Sean & Jonah have some sweet moments and the sex, Sean’s firsts are hot and IMO read true. Very good.

My other problem was how Katie, Sean’s ex wife, was dealt with. I know this is Sean’s tale but I felt (perhaps mistakenly) that her sorrow gets a short shrift or is deemed less than Sean’s which I can’t imagine being further from the truth. Furthermore she’s presented as being dismissive of Sean’s confession of bisexuality. I didn’t feel that was true or fair either, given when this happened. She’s not a villainess.

I’d still recommend this. Read with patience and enjoy the lovely cover art. Maybe have some tissues handy.

I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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