Bardsley, Ralph Josiah. “A Careful Heart”, Bold Stokes Books. 2017.
An author whose books never disappoint and that I always look forward to is Ralph Josiah Bartley. In his newest, “A Careful Heart”, he introduces us to Travis Gaines and Stephen Davis, two best friends are very close can be. They came into this world less than a month apart and grew up together as neighbors in a small New Hampshire town. After college, they move to Boston together and are excited about the adventures and excitement that awaits them there. No sooner do they find their way around Boston then Travis meets and falls hard for Benson who is a senior executive at the financial services firm where he works. Benson seems to have it all— good looks, money and connections. Travis thinks that Benson is everything he could ever want at first but behind the outer façade is something very dark and that threatens to ruin the friendship of Stephen and Travis.
Beardsley writes to the emotions and once again he pulled me in on the first page with this beautiful story of friendship and brotherly love. We do not often find friendships like that of Travis and Stephen even though in some aspects the guys are total opposites. Over time they have really connected to each other and it helps that they had the support of their families. I love that they alternate as narrators and telling their story and I also love that we are with them as they grow and mature. Unlike other gay romances, we do not have sex scenes and I believe that if we had had them, they would have taken our attention away from the emotive elements of the story. The story is really about honesty and accepting ourselves for who we are and much love and friendship influences this. And yes, there are surprises just like we have come to expect from Bardsley. Good writing, an engaging plot and characters like people we know make this is a fine read.