Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Detective Nathan Wolf’s work is his life. At age 34, Nathan has only a series of failed relationships with women behind him. Why? Because he’s afraid of his feelings about his best friend James and what they might mean.
Dr. James Taggert has two distinctly separate lives. One during the day as a psychiatrist who specializes in abuse cases. The other a night time party-animal known for his drinking and casual hookups. As Tag, he’s the guy in the gay clubs who screws them, leaves them, and never looks back. But James’s drinking is getting heavier, and when bad memories from the past resurface, he’s close to becoming the worst version of himself.
After a drunken blackout ends in a hot and heavy make-out session with his very straight best friend, James has no memory of the steamy affair. But Nathan isn’t sorry for the kisses that James can’t remember. Nathan finally musters the courage to tell James how he really feels, but a life-altering event might force them apart before they can ever be together.
When it comes to angst on overload, A. M. Arthur’s got it down pat! In Getting It Right (Restoration #1), we have two main characters who between them have a whole host of issues and problems, including substance abuse. Tag, aka Dr. James Taggert, is a character flowing over from Arthur’s Stand By You (Belonging #3), a scene from that story which is repeated here from another perspective. James’ close friend is also someone he has loved “forever” but believes is straight. That would be his buddy, police officer Nathan Wolf. One drunken night, at least for James, finds the two sharing a kiss. But that moment is hidden by Nathan’s lying about the events of that night, letting James think it was a dream.
This issue of miscommunication and outright deception looms over everything that happens to these two men. James Taggert is a prime example of that old adage “physician, heal thyself”. Outside of work his communication skills are almost nil, and his drinking is a problem obvious to all except himself. I found Arthur’s treatment of an alcoholic in denial especially effective. James has a long pattern of soaking himself in alcohol, no matter the reason or moment. But call himself someone with a substance abuse problem? Nope, he’s not going there, even if there is a niggling little voice in his head that recounts his past turbulent family history.
Nathan seems relatively drama free. At first. But this is an A. M. Arthur story and that means plenty of trauma and dramatic events to come. Without heading into spoiler territory, let’s just say there’s a whole lot of pain heading his way. Again, its well written and the aftermath is believable, hurtful, and again Arthur makes it easy for the reader to connect with Nathan’s anger and damage. In fact, I found both characters to be relatable, well drawn and vulnerable, especially with their histories.
So, why did I find myself not totally connecting with this story?
After much thought I think it comes back to the issue of characters so overloaded with pain, trauma and personal problems that the romance got lost amidst the drama. There is so much for each character to deal with, that overlaying it all with the miscommunication and sometime outright lies between these two (as they work towards a romance and relationship), well, it just seemed to me too much stuffed into one story. Something, in this case, their love story, was cast into the background.
While that was it should be given what James and Nathan area dealing with, it also served to disconnect me somewhat from their story, at least that part of it. The angst felt unrelenting (elements that were realistically handled) and it bogged the story down, at least for me.
For fans of A.M. Arthur, none of the issues that bothered me will be a problem for you. Hey, it’s A.M. Arthur after all, and I have long suspected that A in the author’s name stands for Angst! But for me? I needed a little more lightness, or laughter to balance out the woe and this was just too heavy on the woe!
I wonder who will be popping up next in the second story in this Restoration trilogy. Stay tuned, with a little break, I will head back to A.M. Arthur’s world and find out. Meet me here!
Cover artist? Not sure but that cover feels at little generic, could be any story out there. Where are the elements that tell you what Getting It Right is all about? Sigh.
Expected publication: March 16th 2015 by Carina Press