Book Review – Only Love by Garrett Leigh

Only Love #1
Publisher: Self-published (2nd edition)
Pages: 291
Characters: Jed/Max
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Series

Blurb:
The diagnosis of a chronic stomach condition leaves thirty-two-year-old Sergeant Jed Cooper with little choice but to call time on his Army career. Then on the dusty streets of Kirkuk, an ambush gone tragically wrong decimates his team, and he returns to the US with a shattered leg and the memory of his best friend dying in his arms.

Life in his sleepy hometown proves intolerable until he finds solace in a lakeside cabin with vivacious young carpenter, Max O’Dair. In the shadow of the epilepsy that periodically plagues Max, he and Jed form an unspoken bond. After a late night episode, Jed realizes how much Max means to him, and life has taught him not to waste time.

But the lines between contentment and complacency are blurred. Things left hidden resurface to tear through their world, and before they can repair the damage, death comes to call again. Faces, past and present, rally around them to weather the storm, but before long, they are left with only love.

Buy Link

Review

This is the first book I’ve read by this author, although she’s been on my TBR list for a while. I’m now wondering why I haven’t read her sooner! This story sucked me in from the start and kept me turning pages.

I love stories where the MCs have a few more odds against them, such as illness or something of that ilk. I really felt for both Jed and Max, and appreciated that with both of them having chronic illnesses, the possibility one might be incapacitated when the other needed help was addressed. I also liked that although Max does have epilepsy that doesn’t define him as a person, and in many ways he’s as strong, if not stronger, than Jed who was a soldier.

Flo is a great character. I loved her, and the way she very obviously cares for Max, and then cares for Jed too. She had her own personality, which came across strongly in every scene she was in.

I also loved the sense of family in this story, and not just family by blood. Although Nick isn’t the best of brothers, his failings are more than made up for by friends and extended family, and I enjoyed the way the men from Jed’s unit rallied around to help. I particularly liked Carla who is a strong character with a lot of commonsense, and a good friend.

I liked that although there was an instant attraction between Max and Jed, they still took a while to get to know each other, and didn’t rush into a friendship, let alone a relationship.

Jed’s flashbacks were written well, and didn’t shy away from some of the horrific situations he went through while in combat. I thought they did a great job in showing Jed’s character and how they shaped how he is in the present, and interspersing them into the narrative worked well. I felt as though his story was unfolding in past and present as they linked together to form a whole. I also liked the mystery around Max’s past, and how it was resolved.

There are also a lot of extra goodies to read at the end of the story, which give nice tasters for other books. My TBR just got bigger. I was very happy to learn there are more stories in which Max and Jed play a part.

I’d recommend Only Love to readers who enjoy contemporary romances with interesting characters dealing with ongoing illnesses, a strong sense of family, and a story that keeps you turning pages. 5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at https://annebarwell.wordpress.com
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