Title: Galaxies and Oceans
Author: N.R. Walker
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 313 Pages
At a Glance: Galaxies and Oceans is not only a second chance at love story, it’s a second chance at life story. Highly recommended for a hefty dose of the feel-goods.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Seizing his one chance to escape, Ethan Hosking leaves his violent ex-boyfriend, leaves his entire life, and walks into the path of a raging bushfire. Desperate to start over, a new man named Aubrey Hobbs walks out of the fire-ravaged forest, alive and alone. With no ID and no money, nothing but his grandfather’s telescope, he goes where the Southern Cross leads him.
Patrick Carney is the resident lighthouse keeper in Hadley Cove, a small town on the remote Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia. After the tragic death of his lover four years ago, he lives a solitary life; just him, a tabby cat, the Indian and Southern Oceans, and a whole lot of loneliness. He’s content with his life until a stranger shows up in town and turns Patrick’s head.
Patrick never expected to be interested in anyone else.
Aubrey never expected to be happy.
Between Aubrey’s love of the stars and Patrick’s love of the ocean, these two fragile hearts must navigate new waters. If they can weather the storm of their pasts, they could very well have a love that eclipses everything.
Review: Ethan Hosking has a story to tell. Or, rather, he has secrets to keep. From the moment N.R. Walker introduces Ethan to her readers, it becomes obvious this novel is going to be all about waiting for the other shoe to drop. And it does, but not before Ethan disappears in a wildfire, emerges anew as Aubrey Hobbs, and eventually falls in love in spite of his every intention not to.
With a title like Galaxies and Oceans and a lighthouse becoming a place of refuge for a weary and broken soul, the opportunity to make romance from metaphor was rich, and Walker sprinkles it liberally throughout her story to beautiful and poignant effect. Ethan’s escape from an abusive boyfriend—who happens to be a man of some influence and far-reaching resources—wouldn’t have worked without Ethan faking his own death, leaving his old life behind and assuming his beloved grandfather’s identity. As Aubrey, a man with no identification, no past, and little more than the clothes on his back and the telescope belonging to his grandfather—the real Aubrey Hobbs—in his possession, there’s not much for him to do but to follow the stars south and take on the odd jobs that offer the bare minimum of cash he needs to avoid starvation.
Life on Kangaroo Island is as far removed from Aubrey’s former life as he could get, far from the designer clothes and Michelin star restaurants, but that distance in miles and relative anonymity doesn’t equate to his safety or his feeling secure. Respite and refuge come at a caravan park, where he’s doing upkeep and grounds maintenance in exchange for shelter, and I came to love the attention paid to this rugged island off the southern coast of Australia, the close-knit community, and especially when a certain lighthouse keeper shows Aubrey the island’s raw and wild beauty as well as what kindness and warmth and compassion in a man looks like.
Patrick Carney has his own deeply moving backstory. Mourning the death of his boyfriend for the past four years has marked his life with routine and loneliness; maintaining the lighthouse is his one constant. Patrick can’t move on. Doesn’t want to move on because although Scott without a doubt died at sea, Patrick has never got closure. When the mysterious young stranger shows up in Hadley, and Patrick notices him in more than just a passing way, the course is charted for the making of a slow-building and deeply romantic story, one based in a building trust that isn’t dependent upon what was, but what is and what could be.
I absolutely adored Patrick, his patience with Aubrey, knowing there were secrets Aubrey was holding back even as Patrick realizes the extent of Aubrey’s skittishness and displays of outright terror must stem from abuse. Walker pays eloquent attention to building empathy between her readers and her characters, and it was with no small amount of heartache threaded through brilliant moments of joy and wonder that this story drew me in.
Galaxies and Oceans is a story of hope and the reclamation of joy in the lives of two men who were guided to each other by chance, brought together through kindness, and remain together in love. The closing chapters of this novel wrap things up in true romance genre fashion when the truth comes to light and compassion and understanding rule. Aubrey and Patrick get the happily ever after we romance readers demand. It wasn’t easy but it was earned and deserved.
Highly recommended for a hefty dose of the feel-goods.
You can buy Galaxies and Oceans here:
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