Have you ever woken up and expected to see destruction everywhere?
In 48 hours, I lost everything. I came home to find my girlfriend of four years with another man. The next day a plane crash ripped my family away from me, shattering me in the process. In many ways, I died that day, too. The fun-loving man who'd lived in the fast lane and loved his career in the film industry was gone. Left was a forty-year-old shell that dwelled at the bottom of a bottle.
Only one person knew what I was going through. My sister's stepson, who hadn't been on the plane. Julian knew what it was like to lose everyone he loved, too. He'd stopped showing up at reunions when he was a teenager, so I didn’t know him very well. But I told him at the memorial service he could come out and visit me in LA whenever. One day he did, and I guessed it was as good a day as any to start picking up the pieces and see what was left of us.
"Does love conquer all?"..."No," ... "but I believe it gives us what we need in order to fight."
And so it does. Noah is a gorgeous story by an author who has managed to become a favorite of mine, very quickly. I, easily, got lost in the imagery and the feelings of loss and of love. Noah has a tragic beginning of betrayal of a lover and then the greatest loss of a family, in an instant. The story is told from Noah's POV so we spend a lot of time inside his head, feeling his pain, his doubts, his struggles with attraction and, finally his love for Julian. I loved every moment of this story, from the angsty beginning, to the gorgeous ending.
Noah Collins is a successful, 40 year old Hollywood director. He's not an A-lister, which is just fine with him, but he's done well. He's worked very hard to get where he is and he's happy. Or so he thought. But walking into his house while his girlfriend was cheating on him, and then losing his whole family the next day in a plane crash, sent Noah to a pretty dark place. Noah does not cope well, at all, and turns to self medicating with alcohol. His friends are awesome and understanding, but there is really only one person that truly understands what he is going through. And that would be his nephew (by marriage, not by blood), Julian. He and Julian have never been close and haven't seen each other in years, until the memorial service.
Julian Hartley is 23 and feeling lost and alone. He's struggled with depression for a couple of years and the only things that are really his are his music and his love of art. Losing his family felt like everything else was taken away. After taking Noah up on his offer to come stay with him in LA, he also discovers that his teenage crush on Noah never went away. For the longest time, though, he is determined to deny his feelings are actually real.
Noah and Julian dance around each other for ages, even as they take comfort in each others company. They help each other through their grief and learn to live again. Noah , especially, struggles with his growing feelings toward Julian. It feels wrong to him at first, even though they barely know one another. Not only is there the family connection, but Noah is 17 years older than Julian. So they dance. And they deny. And they try to move on from one another, to more "appropriate" partners.
The story really takes off in Paris. The imagery was so romantic and Noah and Julian finally face their feelings for one another. And they fly. I loved that their story didn't feel so angst filled. The tragic beginning was there, but beyond that, their relationship wasn't really filled with unnecessary drama. Yeah, it took Noah a good while to come to terms with his feelings for Julian, but once he finally got there, they were unstoppable.
I simply loved it!
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