Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
When an avalanche of books cuts off access to his living room, university librarian Jasper Richardson can no longer ignore the truth. His ever-growing piles of books, magazines and newspapers can no longer be classified as a “collection”. It’s a hoard, and he needs professional help.
Professional clutter clearer and counselor Lewis Miller thinks he’s seen it all, but even he has to admit he’s shocked. Not so much by the state of Jasper’s house, but by the level of attraction he still feels for the sexy bookworm he remembers from school.
What a shame that Lewis’s ethical code forbids relationships with clients. As Jasper makes slow but steady progress, though, the magnetic pull between them is so strong even Lewis is having trouble convincing himself it’s a temporary emotional attachment arising from the therapeutic process.
Jasper longs to prove to Lewis that this is the real deal. But first he’ll have to lay bare the root of his hoarding problem…and reveal the dark secret hidden behind his walls of books.
Contains a level-headed counselor with a secret addiction, a bespectacled geek with a sweet tooth, a killer “to-be-read” pile, embarrassing parents, a van called Alice, and deliciously British slang.
In some ways I thought I ought to give Junk (Bristol Collection #1) by Josephine Myles two different ratings. One for its superb treatment of mental illness of hoarding and another for the romance. Junk is not a light hearted romance. At its center is a man who’s been deeply wounded by life and his mother. Its manifested itself (although it is can be genetic in origin too ) in a hoarding situation that has taken away what little remained of his life and now his home. Jasper is reduced to a cold house and a few rooms. From the moment we meet Jasper in his despair, stacking his newspapers and journals in hallways and rooms, we want to cry for him. Its an awful situation, one he realizes he needs help for if he can only dial the number he’s programmed into his phone.
The way in which Myles writes Jasper and his illness allows us to see someone with this illness and view them with compassion instead of the disgust or pity you might feel from a newscast. It brings us inside Jasper’s head and emotions, allowing us to feel his hopelessness, loneliness and pain over his life and inability to let go of his books and papers. Plus there’s something more lurking in the background waiting to be revealed. How it’s slowly pulled out of Jasper is heartbreaking. It makes for hard reading because it’s authentic emotions pouring forth from Jasper and those around him, especially Lewis and his sister, Carroll, who are trained to work with hoarders. We see it from Jasper’s side and from Lewis and Carroll’s when their frustration builds up as Jasper and others refuse or are unable to move forward. Lewis has more insight as he too is a hoarder of clothing, now his is under control. I wish the author had given us more of Lewis here but the story is so full as it is, I’m not sure there was room – no pun intended.
I give Junk a 5 star rating when dealing with the element of hoarding and Jasper. It delves deep into the issues that spark hoarding and the successful recovery for people such as Jasper. I was cheering for Jasper here with tears in my eyes. This whole part of the storyline is so gripping and huge that emotionally I’m not sure it leaves that much for the romance here.
I thought the romance and back history to Jasper and Lewis was so touching and sweet but their courtship/relationship is shadowed by the bigger issue of Jasper’s hoarding. Lewis uses it as an excuse not to get involved (and I found myself agreeing with him up to a point) because getting Jasper better should be the priority here. After a bit my frustration was with Lewis. I liked the romance, it was sweet and rewarding. In a way it could have used its own story. But because I was so focused on Jasper’s illness and his recovery, I had less emotion left over for his romance. It’s just the way it worked out.
I enjoyed all the secondary characters, from Carroll the sister, to Mas (a hookup who became Jasper’s friend), truly a wealth of friends here.
All in all, this is a terrific story. I took Jasper to heart, rooting for him, loving him and when we and Lewis walked through his house, all newly done and clear, I bawled like a baby. Trust me, this is one book you won’t want to miss out on. I highly recommend Junk (Bristol Collection #1) by Josephine Myles.
Cover art by Lou Harper is so perfect for this story and characters. Loved it.
Sales Links: Amazon
Kindle Edition, 2nd Edition, 351 pages
Published May 25th 2017 (first published August 27th 2013)
SeriesThe Bristol Collection #1
CharactersJasper Richardson, Lewis Miller