From the blurb:
Bullied as a child in small-town Kansas, Jeremy Cox ultimately escaped to Portland, Oregon. Now in his forties, he’s an urban park ranger who does his best to rescue runaways and other street people. His ex-boyfriend, Donny—lost to drinking and drugs six years earlier—appears on his doorstep and inadvertently drags Jeremy into danger. As if dealing with Donny’s issues doesn’t cause enough turmoil, Jeremy meets a fascinating but enigmatic man who carries more than his fair share of problems.
Qayin Hill has almost nothing but skeletons in his closet and demons in his head. A former addict who struggles with anxiety and depression, Qay doesn’t know which of his secrets to reveal to Jeremy—or how to react when Jeremy wants to save him from himself.
Despite the pasts that continue to haunt them, Jeremy and Qay find passion, friendship, and a tentative hope for the future. Now they need to decide whether love is truly a powerful thing or if, despite the old adage, love can’t conquer all.
I am the HUGEST fan of Kim Fielding, but this book took a lot out of me. I've read dozens of books with romances between former addicts, but Love Can't Conquer sort of took it to another level. If it wasn't for Fielding's slick, polished writing, I think I would have DNFed this one.
This story has a lot of surprises in it, few of them good for the characters. There are a lot of twists and turns, and I would actually classify this book as a romantic suspense/contemporary hybrid. I'm not a big fan of romantic suspense, so the action aspect of this story didn't appeal to me. Some of the surprises not mentioned in the blurb were interesting coincidences, and really appealed to the romance reader in me. However, I was constantly dragged down by Qayin's character, who I thought really drained Jeremy.
Jeremy was a bit of the typical romance savior type. He seemed to be able to do no wrong. He helps homeless, volunteers his time with the needy, and has an aid-type job. He also is the fit, strong, kind person that romances are built-on. I found him to be a bit too perfect, even with his angsty past.
Qayin was a complex character, but I didn't love him. I found him to be really morose, and though I know his past was dark and led to his current issues, I had a hard time identifying with him. I also thought he was too callus with Jeremy, which I struggled with.
What I loved about this book was the atmospheric writing and the lovely secondary characters. Kim Fielding always does a great job with her secondary characters, and they really shined here. I would be interested in reading about many of them in the future, if they got their own stand-alone stories.
I've read so many amazing Kim Fielding books that I'm sad that this wasn't a home-run for me. I just think I wasn't in the mood for a story of this nature.
*Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Keep reading, friends!