Book: Choosing Home
Series: The Call of Home: Book 1
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Publication date: July 12, 2016
Reviewed by Morningstar
You can never escape from yourself.
Zac McKenzie is an ex-professional footballer with a secret he gave up his career to protect. Several years ago, he fled to his home in the North East of Scotland to avoid being outed as gay. Now, he owns a successful hotel and restaurant, but is it time to finally come out into the open?
Seth Pritchard feels he is damaged goods. He comes to Scotland to escape memories of the accident that left him injured, his bullying step-brothers and a life of lies.
For their whole lives, Zac and Seth have denied who they truly are to themselves as well as to others. When they meet, each man is forced to confront his fears and tear them down one by one.
Ahhh secrets. Those pesky things that we all keep even though we know secrets have a way of finding the light of day when we least want them too. If we are part of the lucky few we are allowed to work through the reason why we are keeping them before someone else decides to out them for us.
Zac McKenzie is an ex-footballer who retired to keep his secret from coming out, in part for himself, but mainly for the man he loved. He moved back home and opened his own hotel and restaurant in order to stay out of the limelight. And it worked it’s been years and he has made his place a success but in order to protect his secret he’s been alone all these years. Although Zac is lonely for love and has had to work hard to get to where he is in accepting his sexuality I feel like he is the one that has it more “put together” than Seth. He has friends and family that love him, even though he hasn't told his parents, but he is essentially the least broken of the two. He stills feels a tremendous amount of guilt over how he treated his ex-wife but that guilt, although valid, made him more likeable and human.
Set Pritchard has had a terrible time of late. He is left broken inside and out after a long struggle in life and a recent event that stole the part of him that had felt whole. This is the character, like usual for me, that I connected with the most. He not only blames himself for so much in his life, he can’t even see past how absurd some of that blame is that, he just wants to lock himself away. His step brother and father put him through hell and back all his life which was made worse by the fact he felt he couldn’t tell his mother what they were doing because she was so dependent on her husband. He suffered alone and after years of the torture and then self-recrimination he believes that is what he deserves.
Together they help each other. Seth helps Zac see he finally has someone to come out for, even though working through the logistics of that is easier said than done. Zac slowly helps Seth see he needs help both physically and mentally in order to be happy and accept who he is inside. Day by day they talk and learn to get to know each other which allows the trust to build in order for Seth to know that Zac isn’t there to hurt him.
I loved this story! The author created a very touching and moving story not just about love but of acceptance of oneself and the importance of getting the help you need, even from a professional. But I did have one major issue with the story. Towards the end the author “told” us what was happening when what was best for those scenes in particular was to be “shown” them. Especially everything after Seth’s step-brother appears, otherwise this would’ve been a five star read for me. I will definitely be reading Alexa’s books again and glad I went on this journey with Zac and Seth.
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