Patchwork Paradise

Patchwork Paradise - Indra Vaughn Review originally posted at Sinfully.

Ollie’s perfect life is shattered in a matter of moments. His first and only love, his best friend, the man he was set to marry is suddenly gone and Ollie is left devastated. He loses himself in his grief even as his friends and mother try to do everything they can for him. As he makes his way back out into the world he has to learn to live on his own, plan for a future on his own and navigate changes not just to his life, but in the lives of those around him. Ollie has never noticed the signs that everyone else has when it comes to his friend Thomas and when he realize Thomas has feelings for him and that he likely returns them, it may be too late.

This is a super slow-burn romance that is about so much more than just the hooking up. Ollie’s feelings of grief and loss are unimaginable and you feel every ounce of what he is going through. Even though we only see them together briefly, it is enough to understand just how much in love Sam and Ollie were. They had been together since they were sixteen and there was never anyone else for either man.

The first part of the book is focused on Ollie dealing with his new life; the grief and guilt, changing friendships and trying to discover who he is and who he wants to be now that everything he planned for his future has been destroyed. Ollie’s eyes are slowly opened to the tight-knit group of friends around him as well. They have always been there but he was so Sam-focused he missed quite a bit of what was going on. Cleo (Ollie and Sam’s lifelong friend) and her boyfriend Imfar have their own problems and seemingly carefree Thomas, his bisexual friend who uses sex with a different someone each week is his coping mechanism for his own ongoing heartache, is acting a bit off as well. If all that stress is not enough, Sam’s parents are putting up a fight to take away the house he and Sam lived in and Cleo is pushing him to date and put himself out there before he’s ready.

Ollie and Thomas spend a good portion of the book continuing their friendship, going out as a group, but still living their own lives. Ollie tries out dating and Thomas continues hooking up on the weekends and eventually does fall for someone. We see their friendship grow for the year following Sam’s death and it’s an important part of setting up their romantic relationship. Ollie and Thomas are just testing the dating waters with each other when Thomas gets the news that not only is he a father, but that he’ll need to take care of baby Milo while his mother is being treated for post-partum depression. Any sense of stability that had entered Ollie’s life is once again sent into a tailspin as Thomas and Milo temporarily move in with him.

I really loved Indra Vaughn’s writing in this story. All of the characters were well done and very real. Reading the story I felt like I was getting a true glimpse into the lives of a group of friends. There is a lot that happens in this book with all the characters having a story, and I thought the pacing was good with none of the plotlines getting lost. There are a lot of ups and downs just getting to the point where Ollie and Thomas want to be together, but making that decision and acknowledging their feelings doesn’t create an easy path forward. There is a simmering chemistry and heat between Ollie and Thomas that really explodes once they are under the same roof (at least as much as a new baby will allow) and they really get a crash course in the difference between being supportive friends and being partners in life.

There is so much heartbreak and drama that takes front and center here, but there is also that sense of excitement and yearning at finding love with someone who was right there the whole time. Baby Milo brings some joy and comic relief and although he adds some more issues and angst, he also lightens things up a bit in the second part of the book as only a baby can. If you like a realistic, hurt/comfort and friends to lovers story I’d suggest you grab a box of tissues before you start this one and get ready for an emotional rollercoaster ride.