Despite a successful college teaching career, Noah Daniels has become depressed. He feels he’s leading a monochromatic life: love has eluded him. When he’s offered a chance to teach in London as part of an exchange program, he accepts, hoping a change of scenery will do him good. But once he’s there, his outlook on love and sexuality changes in ways he never expected.
Robert Callinan is Noah’s English counterpart in the program. The men exchange not only their jobs, but also their homes, and it is what Noah stumbles across while staying at Robert’s house that sends him on a journey of self-discovery—both mentally and physically. A journey that puts color back into his life… just not in the way he expected. When the exchange program ends, Noah has to go home, but he doesn’t know if he wants to return to the life he left behind.
Noah has always felt as if something was missing in his life. No matter how many women he was with he never felt complete. He was living his life but never fully experiencing it until he got the chance to switch lives with a teacher overseas. It's an eye-opening experience that sets him on a journey of self-discovery that completely changes his life as it opens him up to the possibility of love and the heartbreak of familial disappointment. This swap also affects Robert as his carefree love life unexpectedly becomes serious. He soon has to decide if putting his heart on the line one more time is worth the possible pain or let the chance at happiness slip through his fingers.
From start to finish this is an intensely emotional story, particularly in addressing the emotional conflict Noah is going through. He was so lost at the start and didn't know why which made his transformation compelling. Realizing that he was living a lie when it came to love was a shock to him as well as those around him, but you could easily see the weight lifting off him as he slowly started embracing a different lifestyle. He was shy and uncertain at first but quickly gained confidence as he realized how perfectly this new life fit him. His attraction to Robert seemed obsessive at first but in a clever plot twist their connection was allowed to flourish in a more substantial and personal way. Noah wasn't afraid to admit his true feelings to Robert and was willing to walk away in order to be happy. Throughout it all he was a brave man willing to sacrifice everything for love which made me like him all the more.
We don't get to know Robert as deeply, his emotional growth is done without our witnessing it. He experienced the loss of his beloved grandma, the only relative to accept him for being gay, many years ago and it's made him guard his heart closely ever since. Revolving relationships are how he lives his life now but it's clear they leave him empty. Seeing him form a real connection with Noah was heartwarming and showed a man who's charming, sweet, and comfortable in showing affection. Putting a definitive label on it though had him running as he didn't want to experience another loss. When Noah walks away though it will take a grand gesture for Robert to get him back and that gesture shows just how well Robert knows him and put a smile on my face.
This was an engaging read that I found myself easily immersed in as Noah's story was at times heartbreaking and heartwarming, though it dragged a bit during Noah and Robert's holiday excursion. The issues Noah has to deal with from his family are realistically depicted but left unfinished at the end, though there's a bit of hopefulness in the future. Along with intense emotions being dealt with there was lots of sexiness going on. Noah started out slowly but quickly embraced his newfound life, learning from others but saving himself for Robert. These two scorched the pages in numerous sexual interludes that showed their deepening connection through subtle looks and touches. Ms. Velden perfectly balanced all this to craft a story that was not only hot but profoundly emotional too and has written another satisfying story that fans of the m/m genre will definitely want to read.
My rating for this is a B+
*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.