Title: Foundations of Trust
Author Name: A.M. Arthur
Publication Date & Length: October 21, 2014 – 239 pgs
Not everyone gets a second chance with their first love.
Cost of Repairs, Book 5
David Weller thought he had it all—a loving partner who gave him a ring, a steady job he didn’t hate, and so much hope for the future. But in the wake of a devastating diagnosis, everything he thought was solid and real lay in pieces at his feet.
Four years later, he’s still sifting through the rubble of his life. His catering partnership occupies his days, while his nights are filled with dangerous sexual hookups and very bad decisions. Then the last person he ever expected to see again walks back into his life.
Owen Hart’s single biggest regret is the way he was forced to leave David behind—no explanations, no chance to make it right. Until now. Finally free of eight years of lies, Owen’s back for the only man he’s ever loved.
An incendiary encounter in a club proves that time hasn’t weakened their physical connection, but David’s wounds run deeper than Owen’s deception. And if David can’t first forgive, Owen doesn’t have a second chance in hell.
Warning: This book contains an Australian transplant with a head full of secrets, a party planner with enough baggage to sink a battleship, and a surly teenager who just wants them both to get over themselves.
The first problem I had was that Owen kept reminding us–at least once per chapter–that he’s gay. It annoyed me for two reasons. One, everyone he told already knew, and it wasn’t necessary to rehash it. Second, the author established his being gay in a way that puts me off. She set him up as potentially bisexual, but then had him “discover” that he’s really gay. The problem is, it never actually appeared that way. He referenced being attracted to women; never showed any interest in any men other than David; David was his “catalyst” to being gay; and Owen even seemed somewhat repulsed by the idea of being with any other men. Yet he keeps talking about how gay he is. It came across as Owen trying to convince the readers while not really being convinced himself, and it made it look like the author was trying to avoid the “messiness” of a bisexual character. I see that as lazy writing, used for the sake of having a “coming out” story rather than one about a relationship.
My second problem was all the women in the story. With one exception (David’s friend Lindy), the women were either dead or shrews or both. It upsets me greatly that a woman would write a story with such poor examples of womanhood. I would rather have seen no women at all than have all of them be horrible people with largely no redeeming qualities.
Third, I felt that a lot of the plot was contrived and some of the events just didn’t make sense other than as filler. There was a subplot towards the end that didn’t have any bearing on the rest of the story. There were a couple of prior things that occurred in the story, and I thought this subplot might be connected. As it turned out, it wasn’t at all, and it seemed almost silly. It looked more like just a way to say, “Hey, how can we screw up an important day for these guys?”
The one thing I did like was the relationship between Owen and David. If that could have carried the whole book, it would have been much better. The way they resolved things and the discovery of David’s demons were fantastic and very strong writing. However, the tropes in the rest of the narrative were not necessary to the relationship at all. The same story could have been written with Owen as bisexual or as established gay; the coming out part was so minimal it was unnecessary. The women could have been more varied and nuanced; the two women who were “bad” but also instrumental to the plot were sufficient.
I have no doubt someone will love this book, but that someone was not me.
I give it 3 stars.
No stranger to the writing world, A.M. Arthur has been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long. She credits an early fascination with male friendships and “bromance” (and “The Young Riders”) with her later discovery of and subsequent affair with m/m romance stories. When not writing, she can be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments. You can contact her at AM_Arthur(at)yahoo(dot)com
Author’s Website: http://amarthur.blogspot.com.au/