Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Since putting his life on hold ten years ago, Oliver Clayton doesn’t know who he is anymore. To his clients at the hair salon, he’s the sassy and confident stylist. To the crowds who come to watch his drag act at the club, he’s the fierce and fabulous Miss Tique. He’s popular. Talented. Out, proud, and self-assured.
He’s also a good actor.
Sebastian Day is content with life’s easy, if not a little monotonous, routine. After several failed relationships, he likes the simplicity of being alone in his truck at his job as a heavy goods driver, spending the weekends with his teenage son, and putting the world to rights with his cat, Marv. He’s not lonely. He isn’t hiding.
At least…he doesn’t think he is until he meets the mesmerising stranger with the red hair and purple lips.
Can Oliver and Sebastian help each other embrace who they are? Or will a cruel twist of fate end their journey before it’s even begun?
Who We Are is just a superb bit of storytelling, from the incredible characters to the heartrending life obstacles and things almost guaranteed to derail all our hopes, dreams and plans for happiness that get thrown in these characters way. Haken charts it all out here and then realistically manages to give us and her characters the ending we are crying out for. How I adored this story.
Of course, any outstanding story has to have its foundation in its characters and that especially true with Who We Are. But its not just Ollie Clayton and Seb Day that we get here (although they are so incredible that would it be just them, it would still be a 5 star tale). No, its all the characters that circle them with an almost gravitational pull. From Tyler, the brother Ollie has brought up and supported since their mother died of cancer to Scott, Seb’s son, (and the other family equally great), to mothers, fathers, uncles, best friends, the author has created a community for Ollie and Seb to live within that’s so vibrant and meaningful that the reader easily loses themselves to the story and to the lives of all the people they meet within. Each person moved me with what was going on in their lives and how they were or weren’t handling it. These were layered human beings who acted their ages, had problems and conversations that reflected that as well. I believed in them with all my heart and needed them to move forward any way they could.
Oh, the issues these people faced….a myriad of them. This story unfolds so beautifully, especially the courtship of Ollie and Seb. The awkward flirting, the funny meetings that slowly turn into deep feelings. The butterflies in the stomach that the reader feels as well. Grab that box of tissues. These two will sink deep into your heart as they do with each other. Soulmates has never felt so true.
But life is harsh as Ollie has learned over and over. I think Nicola Haken has taken a stark look at what happens to people, their relationships when life deals them a tough blow. This section is just as wonderful and terrifying as everything that went before. And for some, maybe the hardest pages to read.
But that ending…that wipe your tears, grab up the book and start from the beginning again ending….yes…simply splendid. I see and then hear these words in my head and immediately, I start smiling and reaching for the Kindle in anticipation of a book I’m happily recommending to you all:
“Are you flirting with me?”
“Is it working?”
Cover art is perfect for the character and story.
Kindle Edition, 271 pages
Published March 8th 2017