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Named after the main character in his mother’s infamous Oliver novels, Ollie’s been fighting his fictional namesake his whole life. It’s a battle for identity he is slowly and inevitably losing. Ex-army PTI Tom knows all about battles—the real ones that break soldiers. When he volunteers to help with the Oliver situation, Ollie hears more in the offer than Tom apparently intends, for Tom quickly informs Ollie that he’s married. Which is absolutely fine, because Ollie isn’t gay—that’s Oliver. Tom and Ollie discover fairly swiftly that there is often a very fine dividing line between fact and fiction.
Conflicted, Bewilderment, Unexpected Emotions are some of the terms that I would use to describe this book. I really like John Wiltshire’s writing a lot, and I found it hard at times to read this and not compare Ollie & Tom to Nik & Ben. I seen a lot of similarities between the two, but these are different characters. It feels very personal to the author, almost like he wrote a bit of himself in the story. I kinda think both characters show similar traits of him. I applaud him for putting himself out there like that. Romance plays an almost back burner to this story. I don’t know how I feel about that yet, but I’m glad with the finished product is. I do think this might be the closest we will get to getting a contemporary novel from Mr. Wiltshire. It surprised me, the lack of gore and pain that is. It was a refreshment from all the pain from his other series.
My biggest issue with the story is the nonstop internal monologue that Ollie was having with himself. I was yearning for the dialogue between the two. Even when times I felt like they were speaking in riddles and I couldn’t get clarity from the situation. I really would have liked their to be just a tad less Ollie’s mind and more communication between him and all the characters. Ollie and Tom are very complex characters. I’d also start off saying it’s not romance story to me. I would define it as Self-Discovery. That’s what happened between these two guys. Ollie has been competing against Oliver his entire life. I felt pity, contempt towards that situation. It took Ollie 27 years to figure out Ollie. I can’t say much without giving up the plot, but Ollie is such a sweet person that the I feel like no was looking out for him. It might seem selfish to say that seeing the lengths that his mother went through, and maybe because I’m not a mom yet, but that seems so harsh then talking it out with him. It seems like Ollie craves a relationship with his mom, and the only way for her to pay attention to him is by him acting out. Ollie has to come to terms with his sexual identity, grief, and finding himself.
I need to come to terms with my feelings regarding Tom. I feel like his role in the story was rather cliché, but he was just as messed up as Ollie. He frustrated me so much sending out these mixed signals. I can see why Ollie had some of those internal thoughts and day dreams. I don’t know if I like these two together. I think both guys are dealing with personal demons and sexuality is playing such a big character in this book, that I don’t feel like they are appreciating each other.
Veronica Fitzroy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I want to say she’s the worst mother ever, but I can’t!!! She was infuriating at the least, at best she was protecting her kid. I was unexpectedly gut punched at 70%. Out of nowhere I was crying tears, that letter that she sent Ollie was so heartbreaking and I think Ollie definitely needed to hear and know those things. I really had hope that we would have had a conversation between those two. I think Ollie needed to hash things out with her before he could truly be happy. Those are just my thoughts. After all of this I’m still unsure if I like the story at all. I’m okay with the HFN, but with so many thoughts in this book I kinda want an epilogue. I think we need one giant therapy session with lots of tears and tissues!
**Special thanks to John Wiltshire and MLR Press for allowing me to review this book for an unbiased rating and review**
About:John spent twenty-two years in the military, perfecting the art
of looking busy whilst secretly writing. He left as a senior officer
when his tunnel was ready for use. He is now living in New
Zealand until he can raise enough money to leave. Although he
has no plans to return to the army, he can occasionally be caught
polishing his medals.