“It is always easier to believe than to deny. Our minds are naturally affirmative.” — John Burroughs
This is Love is a sweet, low-angst book. It is a good story about two damaged men who find love with each other. It isn’t perfect. My two main gripes are the insta-love that was just too unbelievable and the last third of the book that just didn’t need to exist. The story was over for all intents an purposes, an epilogue would have done the job. Having said that, it is a worthwhile investment of your money and time.
Anderson Hartley Jr. is a rich white boy living the life of a gay playboy on his father’s dime. From the outside, his life looks perfect, but of course things are never as they appear. Andy is lonely. He is not out to his father, who has never loved him. And he dreads the future that has been chosen for him; taking over his father’s company. Andy really does just want to be loved. His mother died when he was young and he hasn’t felt loved since.
Merrick “Maverick” Washington is a black man and most definitely not a rich one. He is a former Navy Seal who was wrongly imprisoned for a murder he didn’t commit. He has recently been released from prison, having been exonerated, but the felony conviction is still shadowing his every step. He is living with his sister and trying desperately to find a job. Maverick is a genuinely good man. This is proven by his interaction with the at-risk kids in the neighborhood.
Mav’s best friend is a police officer and he has stood by Mav through it all. His father is like a father to Maverick. In fact, he calls him Pops. Pops would hire Mav, but he won’t take a hand-out from a friend. Pops is a silent business partner of Anderson Sr.’s. They arrange for Maverick to work as a handyman/landscaper on the Hartley estate. Mav is to be paid by Pop but not be told that.
The attraction between Andy and Merrick is strong and hot and fast. They fight it for about three seconds. If Andy’s father found out Andy was a) gay b) with a black man c) with “the help”, he would blow a gasket. Anderson Sr. sees Andy and Merrick in a stupid display of affection in the yard and calls them both on the carpet. Merrick is fired and Andy is kicked out. By this time they are in love and feel like everything will work out because of it.
Here is where I feel like the story jumped the shark a little bit. Everything just fell into place to allow them everything they needed to live HEA. It was all too easy. With a little more work, Duchene & Cassatta could have made the last third of the book the best third. Instead, it felt like they gave up and just threw out solutions. They have both written more than a few books and have a ton of experience between them. I’m not sure why or how this happened, but it was disappointing.
The four star rating is because the first half of the book was “I can’t put it down” good. I stayed up way too late reading it. The story was a very sound one. I liked that Andy and Maverick had so many differences to overcome to be together. They made sense as a couple, it felt right. I genuinely liked these guys. It was just that getting there seemed too smoothly paved.
Recommended read for the great story and the well-written first half.
You can buy This Is Love here: