Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review: Love Comes Silently by Andrew Grey

Reviewed by SinChan
Love Comes Silently (Senses #1) by Andrew Grey
Dreamspinner Press
Novel: 200pgs
4 Pants Off

Caring for a loved one with cancer is tough. Doing it alone is overwhelming—especially when that loved one is a child. But ever since Ken Brighton’s partner left him, Ken has spent his days at the hospital with his daughter, Hanna, hoping for a miracle. Maybe the mysterious care packages that appear for Hanna don’t qualify, but they bring a spark of hope into his and Hanna’s tired life—and so does Ken’s neighbor, former singer Patrick Flaherty. 

For two years Patrick hasn’t been able to focus on anything but the life he should have had. An injury robbed him of his voice, and the idea of introducing himself to new people intimidates him. But over the past months, he’s watched as his neighbor nursed his sick child, and once he meets Ken, Patrick starts to crave a life with him—a life he isn't sure he can have. 

Ken doesn’t realize he’s fallen in love until the doctors send Hanna home, saying there’s nothing more they can do: Hanna will either recover or succumb. Ken’s heart is set on a new beginning—with both Patrick and Hanna. But Patrick's silence leaves Ken wondering what Patrick wants.

Ken is taking care of Hanna, his 6 year old adopted daughter who has pediatric leukemia. Because of this, his relationship with his boyfriend, Mark, is strained and they eventually breaks up. Hanna's cancer treatments caused hair lost and prompt the appearance of cute pink hats from Ken's neighbor, Patrick. Patrick is mute and puts himself down for losing his voice. But as Ken and Patrick grow closer, Hanna seems to grow weaker and weaker from her treatments. The small family tries to cherish their time together but everyone is afraid that Hanna will not make it till the end of the year.

I love that this book shows children as perspective little beings and emotionally stronger than what their parents think. Hanna is such a cutie and understanding of what struggles Ken is going through. The comical moments in the story and the saddest moments are caused by Hanna. Her question about sex and gay marriage makes Ken so awkward that it is funny. Her sweetness makes it sadder to see her suffer through the cancer treatments and turns this into a tearjerker novel.

The way Ken and Patrick progressed from friends to lovers is also well done. They are both lovable characters. Ken is a great father and his worry and love for Hanna really comes through. Patrick is mute but he's thoughtful and resourceful. He gives Hanna gifts without telling her it was from him. He plans early Halloween and Christmas parties for Hanna and includes the whole community to show their support for Hanna. He stops being a singer when he lost his voice due to an accident, but he uses other talents to make a living. Meeting Ken and Hanna helps Patrick to let go of his past, learn sign language, and integrate back into society.

I also love how art is incorporated into the story and it is something meaningful and unique to the characters. Ken is an artist and little Hanna is taking after her dad to have amazing drawing skills. Hanna's drawings leave lasting impressions on the doctors and nurses at the hospital and Ken's drawing of Patrick helped Patrick to overcome his past as a singer. Their artwork heals some people and gives them a little happiness back.

I just have a tiny lingering question about the ex boyfriend, Mark. He doesn't seem like a bad person and he has a good relationship with Hanna. It would have been better for Mark and Ken to remain friends than try to get back together. I wanted him to keep contact with the family and be a support for them rather than cause problems. The last communication they had where Mark tries to win Ken back seems out of character when they broke up so amiably in the beginning. I was looking for a happy ending for him too, but the story stopped for him when he and Ken broke up.

Overall, this is a heart-wrenching novel about falling in love with someone disabled and coping with disability and cancer. It's a really hopeful story that would resonate with many people.

4 Pants Off

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