Note: This ARC was provided by the author via Enticing Journey Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.
Did the fact I could feel his smile in my chest mean I loved him? What about that tingle deep in my belly whenever he walked into the room? He was the first person I thought about each morning, and the last person before I went to sleep. When I had good news, or bad, if I’d heard a joke, seen a funny meme on Facebook, or even eaten something particularly delicious…he was the first person I wanted to tell. Did those things mean I loved him?
This may only be my second Nicola Haken read but the woman knows how to put me through the emotional wringer with her books. With her latest standalone, Who We Are, she introduces us to Oliver Clayton and Sebastian Day, both men who, at first glance, may not make much sense as a couple to people who may not know them well, but in each other, they find love, acceptance, and the possibility of a future...that is, till fate intervenes.
Oliver Clayton's life changed a decade ago when he became the legal guardian to his then four-year-old brother Tyler after their mother passed away from leukemia. Now thirty, hair stylist Olli is trying to parent a teenager who asks him to tone down his supposed flamboyance. Being gay is who he is, but with a life of too many what-ifs, is now the time for him to take a chance on thirty-four-year-old bisexual lorry driver and single father Sebastian Day?
I asked myself if there was some way for me to write this review without sounding like a complete and utter fangirl with all my gushing about how much I loved it? This made me smile but it also brought tears to my eyes more than once. I won't go into detail because, hello, spoilers are nearly as evil as cliffhangers. Suffice it to say that Olli and Seb were so frickin' adorable together and I loved how they were able to withstand the trials that they had to face.
Nicola Haken's writing is the kind that goes for the jugular, though I don't think she intentionally tries to make her readers cry. There's just something about her stories--well, at least the two that I've read so far--that have me contemplating what I would do if I were confronted with the challenges that several of the characters had to go through. I empathized because I saw parts of myself in Olli and Seb, as well as Tyler, Scott, and even dearest Rhys.
While Who We Are was a story about falling in love with one's soul mate, what I felt it was most about was family and the acceptance that we want but don't demand from those that mean the most to us. Seb's life may have seemed more easygoing compared to Olli's, but he too had his struggles with his bisexuality. At the end of the day, Olli and Seb found love AND family with each other, and fought to keep that love and family intact. Five-plus stars. ♥
Date Read: 14 March 2017
Learn more about Nicola Haken.
Purchase Who We Are on Amazon.