Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Erik Keston, son of the Keston Real Estate empire, knows what it takes to be successful. Despite his inherent wealth, he holds his own. He works hard, he’s grounded, he’s brilliant. He’s also secretly in love with his best friend.
Monroe Wellman lost his parents three years ago and never grieved, never recovered. Inheriting the family company and wealth means nothing, and his spiral of self-destruction is widespread and spectacular. Dubbed Sydney’s bad boy, he spends more days drunk than sober, and the only person who’s stuck by him through it all is his best mate.
But when Monroe hits rock bottom, Erik gives him an ultimatum, and his entire world comes to a grinding halt. It’s not until the haze lifts that Monroe can truly see what he’s been searching for was never in the bottom of a bottle. It’s been by his side all along.
An 80,000-word friends-to-lovers story about fighting the demons within and trusting in the love that takes its place.
“Because when all you drink is hate, that’s all there is inside you.”
I really wish I could put down two ratings for this story, one for NR Walker’s superb portrait of an addict hitting bottom, and then going through rehabilitation and reintegration into his relationships. The other rating? That would be for the romance.
The Hate You Drink by NR Walker is a tale of two addictions and the love of two men. Both incredibly wealthy, longtime friends as were their families who live nearby each other. The death of Monroe Wellman’s parents shatters his life and sends him spiraling downward, the vehicle of his destruction alcohol. Not that he recognizes just out of control his drinking or his life has gotten. Why? Because his best friend is there, rescuing him, enabling him in his actions. That would be Erik Keston, richer, taller, and hopelessly and secretly in love with Monroe. His own personal addiction.
NR Walker brings us into the story at the point where Monroe is hitting bottom. So everything good about his life, Erik, and his previous relationship and past childhood and upbringing is in the past. All we see is the addiction, the lies and excuses and the effects it’s having on the people around him as well as Monroe. It’s ugly, gritty, and authentic. The pain Monroe is inflicting on everyone including Erik as well as himself is deep and widespread, although he blithely ignores it.
As it is with every addict, the story is all about Monroe. What it will take to shake him up enough to get the help he so desperately requires, the acceptance that he is an addict, an alcoholic, and his long rehabilitation. That’s most of the story. That’s really this story. And it’s a heartrending and disturbing one to read, especially if you know someone who is an alcoholic. Because this will all strike you again as so very, very sad and true to life. The characters are true to life, layered and believable. This part of the story rates a 5 star rating.
Less successful for me is the romance here. Erik has always loved Monroe, he is Erik’s personal addiction. He, in fact, loses himself in taking care of Monroe during the worst of Monroe’s downward spiral. We are told over and over that Monroe completes Erik, that prior to his parent’s death, Monroe was different. That he took care of Erik, etc. But we never get “glimpses” into that past relationship, into what made Erik love “that” Monroe. The Monroe we see is the addicted, self centered, selfish alcoholic. Even in rehab, you don’t quite see enough of that other Monroe to get the chemistry that should make this unique and soulmate sort of relationship work. So for me, the romance element is a 3 star or less.
However, the majority of this novel is so well written, so well researched and emotional, that it overpowers the lackluster romance and makes The Hate You Drink by NR Walker an impactful story and one I definitely recommend to readers.
Cover art works so well for the theme of the story and character.
Sales Links: Amazon