Title: Autumn (Crow City #2.75)
Author: Cole McCade
Genre: Contemporary romance, MM romance
Release Date: 27 March 2017
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My rating: 5 Stars
There are worse things in life than loving a man who hates you.
Unfortunately, Walford Gallifrey can’t think of many.
Ever since a ghost from his past kidnapped his niece, Willow (THE FOUND, Crow City #2), Wally’s life has been nothing but grief, turmoil, and loss. With no idea if Willow is dead or alive, Wally’s only comfort is in caring for his grieving brother-in-law and Willow’s father, Joseph Armitage. For the past twenty years, Wally has never hoped to be anything but the backdrop to Joseph’s life; between marrying Wally’s sister and decades of mistakes building walls of enmity and resentment between them, Joseph has been firmly cemented in Wally’s mind as unattainable.
But the pain of Willow’s loss forces them to face the demons sleeping between them, find common ground—and more. Together, they explore mutual grief. Shared memories. Quiet respect. Warmth. Camaraderie. The joy of learning to live again.
And an unspoken attraction, buried beneath the scars of hurtful words and terrible missteps.
Yet even as they work through the thorns and tangles of old wounds, Joseph has his own struggles to face. The struggle to leave his ex-wife in the past. To let his daughter go. And to trust Wally to love him, to see him as more than just his multiple sclerosis, when so many have treated him as less than a man. The only way forward for them both is forgiveness. Trust.
And a second chance to discover what it means, to truly be in love.
This is the fifth book in the series, after two novels and two novellas and the first queer one. And unlike all the previous, it's so much lighter, happier and heart-warming and how it can any other way when one the heroes is Walford Gallifrey. He brought warmth and tenderness even in the darkest moments in the previous books, so I couldn't his own story any other way.
We get the story of two older characters, Wally - a circus ringmaster, whimsical and caring and lonely, having had a crush on Joseph since they met over 20 years ago. The other - Joseph, suffering from MS, angry, abandoned and alone. They have a history with its ups and downs, and some serious hurt of unpack and overcome. There are expectations of each other to change. And revelations, so many revelations to absorb.
Joseph has a lot to deal with, including realising he is bi but that is not what this story is about. I liked how the author didn't make this focus of the romance. It's just one aspect of his personality, yes, a bit unexpected both for him and for Wally, yet he accepts it in stride. It's just what it is and no one in the story (their friends and family) made a big deal about it.
I really liked how the focus in their relationship was on intimacy, companionship, being together - sexually and in all other ways, in their everyday lives. It's not all smooth sailing. They keep hurting each other inadvertently, but never give up on trying. We see them learning their way around each other, how to express their love for each other, how to be there for the other in sickness and in health, in good time and bad times.
I'm avoiding any spoilers, so let me just say we see more of Willson and Vin and Gabriel and Leigh and it's perfect!
The writing is what I have come to expect from Cole McCade - lyrical, emotional, evocative. He builds these rich, powerful images that stay with the reader long after they have finished the book.
Autumn could be read as a standalone though I definitely recommend reading the previous books in the series before it, or at least the novella, The Saved. They will give you a deeper insight into the world of Crow City and its inhabitants, including Wally and Joseph.
Purchase links: Amazon