Title: Carry Me Home
Author Name & Publisher: Sterling Rivers (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: February 8, 2016 – 200 pgs
After his mom dies, Aiden Price returns to Texas to deal with the aftermath. Amidst disapproving family and painful memories, Aiden finds solace in love letters he discovers in his mom’s attic. Needing a change when his sexual orientation is unexpectedly revealed and his dad rejects him, Aiden sets out on a journey to Montana to find the mysterious author of the letters. There he meets Cody Bannar, who volunteers to be his guide.
Cody had a rough start in life but after being adopted into a huge, loving family, he lives out and proud, unafraid of what others think about his sexuality.
Aiden and Cody hit it off and Aiden is welcomed into Cody’s family with open arms. As they continue on their quest, they begin to fall in love, but Aiden isn’t ready to commit to Cody, or to embrace who he is.
Not until after the truth behind the love letters is revealed does Aiden realize his mom would have wanted him to follow his heart. And home is where the heart is—firmly in Cody’s hands.
Triggers: Death of a loved family member, bigotry
Aiden is a soft spoken, sad character at the onset of this story. His mom has just passed away and he’s riddled with guilt. However, I’m not quite sure why he’s so guilt ridden, as he was just living his life. He is cleaning out his mom’s house when he happens across some love letters that his mom has kept hidden. He is coming home to a house that he left in order to get away from his controlling father.
After a very embarrassing coming out scene with his father, Aiden sets out to find the person whom his uncle loved – the author of the love letters that Aiden found.
In comes Cody. Man does that guy have energy. He’s the energizer bunny on steroids! I love his energy, love and passion for what he’s doing and the fact that he is OK with who he is. His family is just as awesome and loving – they help Aiden where they can, welcome him with open arms and show him what a family should be like.
Then, to top that all off – Aiden comes face to face with the realization that even though he was scared to come out to his mom, he shouldn’t have been. He learns that regret is bitter and wasteful, but has a much better out look on his future.
This was such a great story – self discovery, looking back to only look forward to a much sunnier day.
Aiden returns to Texas from New York grieving his mother and miserable with his life choices. Quickly rejected by his father and sister when they find out he’s gay, Aiden sets off on an unlikely road trip.
I feel like I should have liked this more than I did but I really didn’t warm to Aiden. Which is awful when there are a million reasons to feel sorry for him. For me, the character felt awkwardly sketched in. We know almost nothing about his work and his life in New York. He has no friends and little contact with family. He judges his sister quite brutally. I also didn’t understand why he kept himself closeted as an adult for a father who had abandoned him as a child.
Cody was more likeable, but again, he felt too good to be true and ultimately underdeveloped. Cody’s quirks (ADHD and Pica) were mentioned once but seemed to have little impact on his life. For both these men, the author kept throwing out reasons to love them without making either man come fully alive. The characterisation just didn’t work for me.
I enjoyed Aiden’s hunt for the author of the love letters in his mum’s house – that storyline was really touching.
So, an angsty romance with characters I struggled to warm to.