Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Review: The Foster Family by Jaime Samms

Reviewed by Whuppsy
The Foster Family by Jaime Samms
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 330pgs
3.5 Pants Off

Growing up in foster care has left Kerry Grey with little self-esteem or hope for his future. A college dropout, Kerry scrapes by on a part-time job at a garden nursery. His friendship with his boss and working with the plants are the only high points in Kerry’s life. He’s been dating the man who bullied him at school, but when his boyfriend abandons him at a party, Kerry wanders down the beach to drown his sorrows in a bottle of scotch. 

Malcolm Holmes and Charlie Stone have been together for fifteen years. Despite Charlie's willingness to accept Malcolm's unspoken domination in bed,something is missing from their relationship. Early one morning, they rescue a passed out Kerry from being washed away by the tide and Charlie immediately senses a kindred spirit in the lost younger man. When Kerry’s roommate kicks him out, Malcolm and Charlie invite him into their home. As Charlie and Kerry bond over Charlie’s garden, Malcolm sees Kerry may be just who they have been looking for to complete their lives. All they have to do is show Kerry, and each other, that Kerry's submissive tendencies will fit their dynamic. 

But someone is sabotaging Kerry at every turn. As he struggles to discover the culprit, he fears for the safety of his new friends. If Malcolm and Charlie cannot help, their lifelong search for their perfect third may not end with the happily ever after they imagined.

This story had so much going on that I was confounded just a bit. These three men were so I don’t like saying broken, but they were broken for lack of a better word.

Kerry is this young guy who has been in foster care since he was a wee lad of three. He’s been bounced from home to home. He’s found a way to protect himself by pushing most people away. Keeping them at an arm’s length away. That way, it won’t hurt if they have to part ways. He’s allowed his high school nemesis to have sex with him without any real boundaries or care about himself. He’s this lost boy that doesn’t know his worth. That he matters and during this story, he’ll have to learn his worth.

Malcolm Holmes is one half of the two men that Kerry falls in love with. He’s in his mid-30’s and he’s also been brought up in the foster system. His experience was a bad one. He’s use to cut himself when he felt out of control. Now, for Mal, control is a very big thing. He prides himself on keeping control at all times. However, Mal still has some issues that need to be worked out. Not just with himself, but in his long-term relationship with Charlie.

Charlie Stone is the other half of the couple that Kerry finds himself in love with. Charlie works as a personal assistant in an art gallery. Charlie used to be a photographer, but he no longer does that. Charlie also was brought up for a brief time in the foster system, but he was adopted out. His life isn’t all that he thought it would be.

Charlie and Mal have been in a relationship for 15 years and they keep adding guys who could be their third. Someone who can give each of them what they need. For Mal, it’s someone to spoil and take care of, like he wasn’t as a child. For Charlie, it’s someone to give him the submission that he requires. Mal and Charlie have been in this relationship that has worked but that there is something missing. Something isn’t quite right. Kerry comes in and it shatters the illusion that their relationship is fine.

I like that all of these characters weren’t perfect. I liked that each of them had issues that they really needed to work out in order for them to actually have a true relationship. I liked that that they really had to work on themselves. That no one else could fix them. That they had to do the work. They had support, but they had to do the work.

The secondary characters were really good in this story. I liked how they really pushed the characters to see themselves. They made them take accountability for their actions. That showed that they cared. They were honest and loving to the MC’s. Gave them what they needed, but also allowed them to have the room to make mistakes and also to grow.

I will say that this book did have some confusing parts to me. I didn’t understand why Kerry went back to Seattle for months on end to his last Foster Father’s house. I mean, I got it but I wasn’t ok with the length of time that he was there. I get that he needed to work on himself, but really? I also get that he needed to leave for Mal and Charlie to get their relationship back on track for them to grow as a couple and as individuals.

I will say that I had a hard time getting into these characters. I didn’t really care one way or the other about them. I find that the story wasn’t as enjoyable to me as I’d hope. The premise of the story was so amazing to me that I think I had such higher expectations than what I got.

I would say, it’s an ok book. It wasn’t bad just different. There was so much going on that I couldn’t really connect with any of the characters. I liked that each of the MC’s weren’t perfect. That Mal and Charlie weren’t perfect. That Kerry wasn’t perfect. I liked that all three of these men had issues that they needed to work on and that they did. That they wanted to have a relationship that included all 3 of them, but they knew that they each had to fix the issues that were holding them back.

Overall, it was an ok book. It didn’t live up to my expectations, but it was a pretty good book, nonetheless. Good character growth, which I really liked.

3.5 Pants Off

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