Series: A Cup Of John #2
Author: Matthew J. Metzger
Publisher: NineStar Press
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Publication Date: August 19, 2019
Length: 69100 words
Reviewed by Sammy
When Chris’s stepfather passes away and leaves Chris a house and a wedding ring, it seems like the perfect opportunity to take the next step in his relationship with John.
So, they’re both in for a nasty shock when Chris’s mother is vehemently opposed to the idea. Despite three years of history to prove otherwise, she insists that John is only a temporary feature in Chris’s life, and a man like him can’t be expected to stay with someone like Chris in the long run.
Can Chris persuade her that she’s wrong in time for the wedding—or will there be an empty space in the photographs?
Matthew J. Metzger’s new novel, Coffee, picks up where the first in the Cup of John series ended a few years later with the relationship between John and Chris stable, happy and committed. Chris has managed to get through the battery of psychological tests the medical field has thrown his way and has just had top surgery and is now on daily doses of testosterone easing his transition from female to male. His body dysphoria is almost a thing of the past and life for John and Chris couldn’t be better. Then Chris’ stepfather dies and leaves him a crumbling family home which Chris immediately falls in love with and convinces John to begin renovating. Not to be content with just the upheaval of moving house, Chris also finds himself making a startling decision to ask John to marry him and the chaos of planning a wedding along with home restoration becomes the norm for the two men.
Everyone is thrilled for John and Chris except Chris’ mother. She is struggling with past and present guilt and shoves all her negative thoughts onto poor Chris who is shattered to realize his own mother may think he is just too much to handle and too disabled to be loved.
Once again Mr. Metzger offers us a novel that is character driven, emotionally intense and perhaps the most beautiful of love stories I have ever had the joy to read. While the angst level may seem low in this novel initially, it’s the family dynamic that brings the real drama to the story. Chris has no idea that the death of his stepfather will produce such conflicting emotions not only in himself but in his mother. It’s that feeling of relief that the death of a loved one sometimes brings after they have suffered and changed through a devastating physical and mental illness that both Chris and his mom must grapple with. Thankfully, Chris has John who understand his grief and his guilt and helps him through. But Chris’ mother has no one and a stunningly hurtful reaction to the news that her son has proposed to his boyfriend of three years threatens to destroy her relationship with Chris.
This book has layer upon layer of emotions all highlighting the guilt that past decisions and present actions have on a person. It exposes just how much we can keep the pain we once felt from those decisions in our hearts only to have it spring forward almost as fresh as the day it occurred. Coffee not only embraces what life is like when we are able to lay past demons to rest but clearly warns us about what can happen when we have not resolved them fully. While there is such great joy in this story there is also the realization that with just a few words we can make what should be a beautiful thing into an ugly moment of family conflict. Once again this author takes on all the tangents that can arise from just one harsh moment and exposes how much they can affect us and our relationships.
Coffee is a powerful romance that highlights the difficult journey getting to a lovely happy ever after. For those who read the first novel in this series, this second book is a must read and I think will thrill those who are familiar with John and Chris’ life together.
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