Title: The Hate You Drink
Author: N.R. Walker
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 295 Pages
Category: Contemporary Romance
At a Glance: The Hate You Drink never reaches a level of angst that beats readers to an emotional pulp, and while we do love our Hurt/Comfort trope in the romance genre, Walker shows readers, in no uncertain terms, that the wrong kind of comfort is not something that can be romanticized.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Erik Keston, son of the Keston Real Estate empire, knows what it takes to be successful. Despite his inherent wealth, he holds his own. He works hard, he’s grounded, he’s brilliant. He’s also secretly in love with his best friend.
Monroe Wellman lost his parents three years ago and never grieved, never recovered. Inheriting the family company and wealth means nothing, and his spiral of self-destruction is widespread and spectacular. Dubbed Sydney’s bad boy, he spends more days drunk than sober, and the only person who’s stuck by him through it all is his best mate.
But when Monroe hits rock bottom, Erik gives him an ultimatum, and his entire world comes to a grinding halt. It’s not until the haze lifts that Monroe can truly see what he’s been searching for was never in the bottom of a bottle. It’s been by his side all along.
Review: Alcoholism, and the effect it has not only on the alcoholic but on the people who care for them, is a heavy subject to tackle in a romance novel, and there is little doubt N.R. Walker could have gone much darker and grittier in The Hate You Drink. Instead, this novel delves deeper into the challenges of intervention and recovery, with its protagonists first being confronted with and forced to acknowledge that there is a very real and dangerous problem, and how integral it is to dig into the underlying symptoms of the addiction rather than focusing solely on the addiction itself—to face it, to find answers, and to then commit to overcoming the disease every single day.
Monroe Wellman is the alcoholic in this story; Erik Keston is the man who is in love with Monroe, has been for years but can no longer watch him commit a slow suicide, and their story is steeped in a deeply troubled kind of love. Walker maps out Erik’s desperation and helplessness on the page and shows readers how much of himself he has lost as he’s watched his best friend in the world try to drink himself to death. Until, finally, Erik can’t take it anymore and offers up the terms of Monroe’s surrender—either he gets help or Erik walks away for the sake of his own self-preservation. Where the book excels is in showing how brutal and draining dependence can be on the one who is constantly being called upon to help. Monroe relies on alcohol to help him escape his pain, he leans on Erik for everything else, uses the man he considers his best friend in selfish ways, and that ends up taking its toll. We love our Hurt/Comfort trope in the romance genre, but Walker shows readers, in no uncertain terms, that the wrong kind of comfort is not something that can be romanticized. Erik becomes little more than a codependent who has enabled Monroe to spiral further. It’s not until Monroe is stripped bare, emotionally and psychologically, and is made to confront the truth of why he numbs himself into oblivion day after day that he is able to tackle his self-destructive habits, which, in turn, have slowly been destroying Erik too.
And it’s not until Erik can look objectively at his relationship with Monroe, without the constant pressure of the demands Monroe has always placed on him, that he is able to acknowledge he is dependent as well. Rescuing Monroe is Erik’s habit, loving him is as reflexive as breathing, and he needed to turn that into a healthy habit for the sake of his own wellbeing, which is where the romantic elements of this novel feature most prominently—Erik never gives up on Monroe. His love is tested, but it is patient and kind, and once Monroe can forgive himself, he understands the gift he’s been given and wants to give Erik the same in return.
Family, friendships, and support systems play a role in the story, as one would expect in a novel that tackles such a weighty subject, but The Hate You Drink never reaches a level of angst that beats readers to an emotional pulp. This is a solidly romantic novel. There are scenes that made me believe that with patience, persistence and intervention and guidance from those who care, love will find a way, and I was all-in for Erik and Monroe’s second chance and their new beginning.
You can buy The Hate You Drink here:
[zilla_button url=”http://authl.it/B07S5BVCWX?d” style=”blue” size=”large” type=”round” target=”_blank”] Amazon/Kindle Unlimited [/zilla_button]