When Eli Block steps into his parents’ living room and sees his childhood crush sitting on the couch, he starts a shameless campaign to seduce the young rabbi. Unfortunately, Seth Cohen barely remembers Eli and he resolutely shuts down all his advances. As a tenuous and then binding friendship forms between the two men, Eli must find a way to move past his unrequited love while still keeping his best friend in his life. Not an easy feat when the same person occupies both roles.
Professional, proper Seth is shocked by Eli’s brashness, overt sexuality, and easy defiance of societal norms. But he’s also drawn to the happy, funny, light-filled man. As their friendship deepens over the years, Seth watches Eli mature into a man he admires and respects. When Seth finds himself longing for what Eli had so easily offered, he has to decide whether he’s willing to veer from his safe life-plan to build a future with Eli.
This is a highly enjoyable, slightly quirky story about Seth, a new assistant rabbi who has only ever dated women, and Eli, the main rabbi's son who's been pining for Seth since he first saw Seth at summer camp when he was 11 to Seth's 20.
Seth is careful, ordered, and structured; he doesn't rush into things and overanalyzes to a fault. Eli is a little brash, a bit flamboyant, and really funny.
When Seth first joins the temple, Eli throws himself at Seth with lots of sexual innuendos and not-so-subtle come-ons. But when Eli realizes Seth isn't interested, he back off, and the two become good friends.
The book spans 13 years from first meeting in 2001 when the two are 18 and 27 to the final chapter (with a true HEA!) set in 2014. The MCs are friends but not lovers for approximately 60 percent of the book before finally getting together, and we have a few chapters dedicated to their dating and settling in as a couple.
Each chapter features a wedding invitation at the beginning. One of Seth's jobs as rabbi is to officiate weddings, and many of these occasions are debacles of the highest order. The poor man cannot keep a suit clean!
I loved that the MCs are Jewish, and that neither has any religious guilt or shame about being gay. Eli and Seth's parents are completely open and accepting of their partnership.
Eli and Seth's moms are quintessential, old-school Jewish mamas. I found their bossy ways hilarious, since I have a Jewish mama and can completely relate.
I would have liked more detail of the men's day-to-day interactions and perhaps a bit more steam. The other books in this series are crazy hawt; this one's a touch more subdued.
Overall, this is a fluffy, fun, and HAPPY read about two charming Jewish boys falling in love, a perfect ending to a sexy, romantic series.