Very deep, emotional story. I read Point of Contact a few weeks ago but just couldn't seem to find the words to write my review. It's the first book I've read by Melanie Hansen but I sure look forward to reading more of her work. If you like a "meaty" story, this one's for you. The book spans a fairly long period of time and is broken down into before and after. The first section begins with us looking in on a party at Trevor's house – his son Riley and his friends are having one last fling before they deploy. Section two beings 8 months after Riley's death. The blurb for the book is good so I recommend reading it. One of the things it doesn't tell you is that there's another relationship in the story (there's no cheating) and it added another level of complexity to an already complex story. I also don't think the blurb can convey how much feeling there is to this book – it broke my heart in more than one place. Even though I knew going it that Riley dies, reading how it all happened, and how it affected those who loved him, was tough at times and had me in tears more than once. It's been a long time since I've read a book that is as complex as this one and I loved it. Melanie Hansen has crafted a story that grabbed my attention and held on to I from start to finish. It's a very emotional read but well with the ride. A review copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley but this did not influence my opinion or rating of the book.
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Melanie Hansen’s novel Point of Contact should come with these directions: arrange your tissues next to your wine glass, open a bottle, and pour… you’re going to need it. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much over a story as I did with this one. It is completely and utterly heart-wrenching. Several times I wondered if I could persevere. But persevere I did, and believe me, it was worth every tear. Reading this one was a process. Between the crushing grief of a parent who loses his child, and a soldier who holds his best friend’s hand and eases him into death, this is a very moving, emotionally-draining story. Some passages were so painful I’d make a deal with myself; if I could just finish the chapter I’d call it a night. But the writing is so enthralling I never stopped reading, and before I knew it I was right back in the thick of it again! What made this story extra special for me is all the time Hansen spends introducing the characters in the beginning of the book. Seeing Trevor as a secure and successful man makes such a difference in understanding how he copes with tragedy. Likewise, spending time with Riley and his buddies before they head off to Afghanistan, and while they are deployed, adds perspective to their relationships and makes the aftermath much more intense. Initially I was skeptical of the premise. Melanie Hansen is a new author for me, so I was interested to see how she would develop the relationship between Trevor and Jesse. I did wonder how these two men could come together, support each other through this tragedy, and end up developing romantic feelings for each other. Well, the whole romance aspect of this story is done beautifully. The relationship develops slowly, after Jesse gets home from Afghanistan. Trevor’s whole world has fallen apart, all his visions of the future are completely shattered by his son’s death. He can’t live, can’t work, his relationship with his fiance crumbles and he’s a total wreck. Jesse reaches out, offering support and asking for the same. As the two men share their memories of Riley they develop a bond, and together they find peace and some closure. I was impressed with the way Melanie Hansen handles the physical connection, as the men grow closer. It’s never far from Trevor’s thoughts that Jesse is experiencing his first romantic relationship. And he can’t help but second-guess everything. Trevor wonders how this gorgeous and sensitive young man could ever want an old guy like him, and flounders over feelings for his son’s best friend. It feels so genuine, it really worked for me. Their encounters fluctuate between intensely passionate and sweet explorations that fade to black, and are beautifully erotic. Trevor and Jesse’s honest discussion, that they’d never be together except for Riley’s death, rings true for their characters. It’s a bittersweet pill to swallow as both men work through their feelings and try to be okay with finding happiness together. The other very moving portion of Point of Contact for me was watching Jesse and his fellow soldiers work through the process of healing as they come home from war. They deal with survivors’ guilt and PTSD, especially when their loved ones can’t handle it and leave them. They need each other’s support now more than ever. To keep moving forward, they recognize that their fallen brother’s didn’t get this opportunity. As Jesse tells them, “‘We owe it to those guys to live our lives in a way that honors theirs.’” If you’re looking for a highly emotional, beautifully written story that’s heavy on angst, then Point of Contact will be right up your alley. I was impressed with every aspect of Melanie Hansen’s writing and am looking forward to reading more by this talented author.
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Although I knew what was coming before I started reading, it utterly KILLED me anyway. I'm a Navy Corpsman, and it's my biggest fear to not perform well enough to save that life. Some situations are out of our hands, but the way Jesse was there for Riley in his final moments...This book inspired me to be a perfectionist at my job so my fellow sailors and Marines make it home to their families. The bond Trevor and Jesse formed through the loss of Riley was genuine and comforting. Incredible story.
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