Hi there! Today I’m sharing my review for Teodora Kostova’s PIECE BY PIECE, a contemporary M/M Romance. While this is a part of a series, it’s a standalone novel of grief and love.
For the past ten years, Riley Davis’ life has been overshadowed by the tragic death of his partner. Fluctuating between alcohol induced daze, clinical depression and throwing all his time and effort into his business, Riley doesn’t believe, or even hope, that his life will ever be worth living again.
This is a series book, but it is not necessary to read them in order.
Sonny Frye is a demanding costumer, known for his fantastic creations for the West End Queen’s Theatre in London. Struggling for inspiration on a new project, he turns to a junior colleague, Penn, whose designs are stunningly creative. Penn introduces Sonny to his good friend Riley–who owns a fabrics and finishings shop that carries the exact type of vintage satin Sonny needs. Riley is stuck in a grief loop ten years deep.
Riley met Richard whey were newly adult, early to mid-twenties, and spent years together before Richard was struck by a hit-and-run driver and died. Since then Riley has had two suicide attempts and struggles daily with anger and guilt.
Sonny doesn’t realize all he’s getting into when caught in Riley’s sad gaze, but he knows it’s a stronger feeling that his usual attraction. Over the course of several month, Sonny and Riley develop a friendship–with Riley (seemingly) finally breaking out of his sheltered misery. Still, there are backslides, and Sonny’s there to catch him when he falls. Thing is, Riley falls deep and hard–when Sony and Riley begin to get physical, he’s guilty for finding love with another man than Richard–but he’s also guilty that he can’t love Sonny as strong as he loved Richard….
As for the book, I did enjoy the slow burn. Sonny’s such a rock, and Riley’s admittedly a mess. Just when I thought he got his act together, he broke down again. The interplay between his growing affection for Sonny and his guilt/grief over Richard is heart-rending. As a person who suffers depression, I’ve had first-hand experience of the disordered thinking Riley lives with.
I think there was a bit of a drag, however. It’s truly difficult to write about depression without getting bogged. I liked that Riley got himself the help he needed, but the way he went about it was frustrating to me. Also, I wanted to see his healing, and those bits were related in terms of sporadic letter to Sonny–who was the dearest of hearts and waited for Riley to return to him. The resolution was very touching and lovely, and I wished for just a little more time to bask in it.
It’s a good, solid love story, with characters that are compelling and real. Riley’s grief is real, his reluctance to let go of his love is a roadblock for a good long time, but he rescues his on self, which was admirable.
Hi, my name is Teodora and I live in London with my husband and my son. I’ve been writing ever since I can remember, but it became my full time job in 2010 when I decided that everything else I’ve tried bores me to death and I have to do what I’ve always wanted to do, but never had to guts to fully embrace. I’ve been a journalist, an editor, a personal assistant and an interior designer among other things, but as soon as the novelty of the new, exciting job wears off, I always go back to writing. Being twitchy, impatient, loud and hasty are not qualities that help a writer, because I have to sit alone, preferably still, and write for most of the day, but I absolutely love it. It’s the only time that I’m truly at peace and the only thing I can do for more than ten minutes at a time – my son has a bigger attention span than me.
When I’m procrastinating, I like to go to the gym, cook Italian meals (and eat them), read, listen to rock music, watch indie movies and True Blood re-runs. Or, in the worst case scenario, get beaten at every Nintendo Wii game by a very inventive kid.
Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!