REVIEW: When Heart Becomes Home – Pat Henshaw

When Heart Becomes Home - Pat Henshaw

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay

Reviewer: Aethena, Paranormal Romance Guild

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About The Book

Is there a time limit on love and forgiveness?

Fifteen years ago, Manny didn’t show up to take Wes to the Shelby High School prom as he promised. Instead, Wes found Manny’s letter jacket at their meeting spot without a note or any explanation.

From college to his current job in Monterey, California, Wes has carted the jacket around as a memento of his teenage love and rejection. This year he decides enough is enough. He’s attending the high school class reunion, returning Manny’s jacket, and going home free to find the real love of his life.

When Manny sees Wes at the reunion tour of the new high school facilities, he’s determined not to let his teenage lover leave without them clearing the air and possibly getting back together.

Through reunion activities such as a quiz bowl, meet-and-greet meals, and a formal banquet with a prom-like ball as well as outside activities like the quinceañera of Manny’s niece, Wes and Manny work through the lies and misunderstandings of the past.

With so much to reconcile and forgive on both sides, will they end up together? Or go their separate ways with only memories of the past?

The Review

The cover for this book was excellent. It put me in the perfect mood to snuggle into the sofa and enjoy a little angst and romance. Nothing says relaxed like the image of a lazy, sunny afternoon laid out in the back of an old pickup next to someone you enjoy being up close and personal with.    

The cover is lovely, and the cast of characters is beautifully diverse. The author constructed a cast that reflects how complicated small town life can be. The diversity of the characters also reveals how rampant prejudice can be in a multitude of forms. Having grown up in a small agriculture based town on the outskirts of a big city, I could relate to life in Shelby.  

Wes and Manny are both products of this small town existence, but Wes moved away to build a different life for himself.  Leaving the town of Shelby doesn’t mean Wes forgot about his life there.  The story opens with Wes on a mission to put the past behind him, but of course returning a jacket to an old love isn’t going to be the simple cathartic task Wes is hoping for.  

The core of the story revolves around Manny and Wes coming to terms with the fact that they still have feelings for one another even though their lives have changed.  As Manny and Wes interact with old and new acquaintances, a series  of high school reunion activities unveils a host of hidden prejudice in some very interesting and pointed ways.

I appreciate how effectively the author demonstrates the troubling consequences of prejudice and misunderstanding. The events at the high school reunion also show how a new perspective can clear up misunderstandings from the past. Even Manny and Wes are forced to acknowledge their own issues.

4 Stars.

The Reviewer

Lives in the Pacific Northwest and vacations in the desert as often as possible. She is allergic to garlic, sleeps during the day whenever possible, and breaks out in an allergic rash when exposed to excessive sunlight. She has a degree in engineering, works at a comic book store, and goes for long bike rides at night during the full moon because of the sun allergy. Aethena was forced to switch to mostly e-books and audio books when the last floor to ceiling bookcase started to overflow. She is on her fifth e-reader, and is contemplating using her engineering degree to design an e-reader that can withstand her capacity for destruction. 

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