Title: The Little Things
Author Name & Publisher: Jay Northcote (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: April 2016 — 214 pages
There are lots of things that brighten Joel’s life. His three-year-old daughter, Evie, is one. His close relationship with her mother, his best friend from university, is another. Joel’s boyfriend, Dan, adds spice to his child-free nights, and Joel is pretty happy with how things are.
Then one cold and rainy night, everything changes. Joel’s life is turned upside down when he becomes a full-time dad to Evie, and his previously carefree relationship with Dan cracks under the strain.
Meeting Liam, who acts as if getting hurt isn’t a foregone conclusion, shakes Joel to the core. Their attraction is mutual, and Liam makes no secret of how serious he is about Joel. But Joel is wary. He tells himself he’s keeping Liam at a distance for Evie’s sake, when really he’s protecting his own heart. Taking a chance on this new relationship with Liam may seem a small step—a little thing—but is it one Joel can take after losing so much already?
This is a slow, honest story about a very ordinary young man whose life is upended by a sudden loss. While this may not be the best paced or plotted of Jay Northcote’s books, she manages to capture Joel’s overwhelming grief with wonderful sensitivity.
I really enjoyed the characterisation in this book and there were a few chapters I couldn’t stop myself from crying through. While Joel and Evie are the most thoroughly developed characters, the supporting characters are complicated and very real. I don’t always enjoy children in fiction, but Evie is almost perfectly crafted.
At times, the low-key realism is too slow for me. The more mundane details of Joel’s life drag and become tedious in parts. I’m not sure an honest study of grief could be anything but slow and difficult, but I found this a little bit too real at times.
This is a difficult book. There are spots of joy and there is some hope offered by the end but this packs quite an emotional punch. It is advertised as an m/m romance, but while there is a little romance, it is secondary to the story of Joel’s grief and the story of his struggle to keep his little family functional.
This book had so many emotions coming out in me. It is a happy, sad, heart breaking, frustrating, emotional book.
Joel is a father to 3 year old Named Evie. He and his best friend, Claire, got pregnant with her in college and decided the best way to raise Claire is through co parenting where she is with one or the other for equal amount of time. And it is working perfectly for them. Then one night everything changed when Claire was in a car accident that took her from all those hat loved her dearly. Joel found himself being a single parent raising his beautiful daughter on his own and losing his best friend to boot. Shortly after Claire’s passing Joel kept bumping into a man that intrigued Joel but there was always something in the way of them getting to know one another better (That something was Dan, Joel’s part time boyfriend). Finally the last time they ran into one another at the children’s ward when Evie got sick Joel and Liam exchange phone numbers and that is when the fun and living again begins.
As I said this book was very emotional. I cried when Claire passed away. It broke my heart for Joel losing his best friend and his life being turned upside down. I cried when Evie would ask for her mommy because she just did not understand. I was frustrated when Joel tried keeping in a relationship with Dan when it was so obvious that they was in different places in there lives. I was happy when Joel and Liam started talking and when Liam was not only interested in Joel but also in Evie. Then I was frustrated again with Joel for not realizing that what him and Liam had was a good thing but he was too scared to let it happen and decided it was best to not see where things could go. I was heart broken for Evie who did not understand why people would come into her life and then leave again.
This book was an amazing story of someone’s life being turned upside down and the kindle of strength it took to fight their way back to steady ground even though things would never be the way they once where. It is very inspiring, although still emotional. Jay did an excellent job of pulling all the emotions out of the readers and made this an amazing story because of it.
Although I enjoyed this book I had a difficult time getting to the end. I feel like some of the story line just didn’t belong in the book. And even though I did that I was still able to understand the plot of the story. I received a free copy of this book from Inked Rainbow Reviews in exchange for an honest review.
I feel bad for Joel because I know what it’s like to share parenthood with someone and then they’re gone. It’s difficult sometimes to accept that life can go on when you’ve lost that someone who feels like your other half.
I liked Liam. He was a no nonsense, tell it like is kind of guy. He knew what he wanted and wasn’t afraid to say it.
I wish I could give this book a 5-star review, but I just can’t. There’s just too much going on throughout the book. I can appreciate wanting to tell us about Joel’s sister and her struggles to have a baby, but then she should get her own story. Don’t include it with Joel and Liam.
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her husband, two children, and two cats. She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.
One day, she decided to try and write a short story—just to see if she could—and found it rather addictive. She hasn’t stopped writing since.
Jay writes contemporary gay romance about men who fall in love with other men, usually set in or near her home town of Bristol. She enjoys the challenge of bringing the men in her head to life through her words. Jay has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and she also publishes her own titles under the imprint Jaybird Press. Some of her books are now available as audiobooks.