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Title: A World Apart by Mel Gough
Release Date: September 18, 2017
Pages: • Format: Kindle e-arc (196 pages)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published By: NineStar Press
Purchase Links: •NineStar Press • Amazon US
Synopsis: Ben Griers is the darling of Corinth Georgia’s Police Department—intelligent, handsome, and hardworking. Thanks to his beautiful wife and clever daughter, Ben’s family is the envy of the town. Yet desperate unhappiness is hiding just below the surface.
When Donnie Saunders, a deadbeat redneck with a temper, is brought to the Corinth PD as a suspect in a hit-and-run, Ben finds himself surprisingly intrigued by the man. He quickly establishes Donnie’s innocence but can’t shake the feeling that Donnie is hiding something. When they unexpectedly encounter each other again at an AA meeting in Atlanta, sparks begin to fly.
With his marriage on the verge of collapse, Ben is grateful for the other man’s affection. But he is soon struggling to help an increasingly vulnerable Donnie, while at the same time having to deal with the upheaval in his own life. Ben eventually realizes that they cannot achieve happiness together unless they confront their darkest secrets.
I would describe reading this book as getting into a vehicle where the author took me on a high-speed car chase where I was hoping it would end well but my heart was in my stomach a lot.
It started with a very dramatic courtroom scene. The entire book, I kept waiting for the courtroom scene to tie in, but it didn’t really impact the story as I thought it would. There was such potential but it wasn’t realized here as there was no real foundation laid for this romance nor real chemistry between the characters.
The main characters met when Police Officer Ben Griers saw his best friend and fellow officer Jason being overly aggressive with a suspect. Ben stepped in and insisted that Jason release the suspect Donnie Saunders since Jason had no evidence connecting Donnie to an alleged hit-and-run accident. Donnie was grateful and went on his way. It seemed that something passed between them although it felt like sympathy, a bit of pity and gratitude.
Later at an AA meeting, Ben ran into Donnie and there was a recognition of sorts. Two struggling people trying to find their way out of their predicaments. Ben was having problems in his marriage so the reader was supposed to understand why and how Donnie evoked feelings that seemed dead in Ben. Other than having substance abuse issues that they were working through, I don’t see anything these two had in common. The author didn’t really set a foundation of loneliness for Ben, though it was clear that Donnie had a very troubled past and no real support system. Ben quickly stepped into Donnie’s life and started helping him with his illness with no hesitation. Considering he has a daughter and a wife, it was unbelievable that he didn’t even give a second thought to how this would affect their lives. Ben’s wife seemed like a reasonable person. I am not entirely sure what was the real problems in their marriage and why it couldn’t be addressed via counseling and effort.
There was a very heavy subject with serious issues all around, but they weren’t worked in carefully. The subjects of bisexuality, addiction and severe health condition should have made for a great hurt-comfort read but unfortunately, it didn’t deliver. Ben’s wife, daughter and even best friend Jason were all relationships that I didn’t really comprehend because there was no real depth to the dialogue nor real expression of emotion amongst these characters. They all seemed to be good people at heart, but seomthing just wasn’t right so they were glossed over. The writing was so uneven that it felt like I was holding on for dear life through this rather shallow journey of the character’s lives.
I had high hopes for the book based on the enticing blurb but I was disappointed.