~ Will Jason’s third time as a best man lead to first-time love for Vanya?
After fleeing violence in Moscow, student teacher Vanya Petrov winds up lonely in a run-down London hostel. At least visiting the Bond Street store where his roommate works lets him practice his English, but as Vanya’s vocabulary expands, so does his isolation, especially when he sees happy couples planning their perfect weddings.
According to Jason Balfour, weddings are a waste of time and money. After all, he’s been best man for his brother twice already. Saying that a third marriage will end in divorce too leads to an angry ultimatum: to save his relationship with his brother, Jason must meet his fiancée, at last, and make a good first impression.
Jason’s need to dress to impress brings him and Vanya together. Language is no barrier to falling in love with the young and fragile Russian, and neither is their age difference. But Vanya’s bruised soul carries secrets that could rip them apart. As the wedding draws near, Vanya must confess, and soon, or risk losing Jason—his own best man in Britain.
Have you ever read a book that is so vivid, so sharp, that the words appear in images? The letters not only form words and sentences but come together in a way that creates pictures in your mind’s eye. And as you read you discover the story doesn’t need you to come alive, because it already has a pulse and a solid heartbeat of its own. Most books require a reader to believe before it takes on life but this magnificent tale did not need me, for it was full of life without my participation. This is a rare skill that I can only account to the extraordinary storytelling of Riley. I was slow to unravel the knots because the story was woven with multiple threads.
There’s a wedding with a bitter best man, a skittish immigrant fighting for his life, and an unlikely opportunity with poor timing. I was absolutely spellbound as they were fastened together and awestruck with the finished piece. SO GOOD!
A young man seeks a new life in London while grieving the loss of everything he once knew and attempting to recover from a near brush with death. Vanya is desperate for asylum. His story is tragic but he doesn’t want your pity or tears. What he craves is simple. He longs to feel safe, he aches for freedom from the chains of his past, and he wants the chance to provide the basic necessities for his survival. He arrives in Britain with hope fueling his steps but he’s quickly dragged down again with the unexpected struggle of acceptance. He finally catches a break when he meets Kaspar. They hold fast to one another realizing two is safer than one. When Anna joins them, they treasure their small chosen family.
Jason enters the picture with a misconception Vanya can’t clarify. He’s no longer alone and vows to put his new family’s security over any potential relationship with Jason. But as one white lie multiples to ten, and the wrong impression becomes an identity he can’t shake, Vanya suddenly realizes the power of hindsight. His focus was narrowed to the prospect of having the chance to stay and build a life, but the reality of losing someone he wants to build it with may be the highest price he’s paid thus far.
This is a complex love story with numerous obstacles. It’s not easy and it’s not fast, and I appreciated that. I was smitten with Vanya from the very beginning but my adoration transformed into respect as we get to know him. His heart is pure and his ability to love is endless. It’s obvious he’s making grave mistakes. He knows it but is helpless to stop the impending crash. The violence Vanya escaped in Russia left many scars but most are invisible. He is still healing and as it turns out, he’s not the only one who’s been hurt. At first glance, one would think Jason is older, wiser and more successful. Sounds like he has it all. However, he bears his own hidden wounds. He doesn’t think highly of romance, which influences his harsh words and disbelief that his brother could have finally found his soul mate after two failed attempts. When his disrespect, disregard, and disinterest in his brother’s third impending wedding nearly cost him the only family he has left, he sinks to desperate measures. But hiring a young sweet personal shopper brings so much more than he bargained for. What happens when a man who doesn’t believe in love…falls in love? Well, you’ll just have to find out for yourself, BUT I highly recommend that you do!
Patience is key. Vanya speaks in broken English but I found it charming. Remember, PTSD doesn’t heal the same as broken bones and broken skin. And broken hearts require a heavy dose of love to warm them once more. These two very different men are separated by two decades of birthdays, yet they are the perfect fit. The uncertainty and hardships of Brexit play a crucial role.
This story is for a reader willing to endure real life oppressions, adversity, and afflictions. The storm clouds are dark and heavy but when the sun comes out, it will take your breath away.
**Btw….Isn’t the cover amazing??
***If I could pick one book from this year that I would LOVE to see become a movie…THIS IS IT!
TITLE: Be My Best Man
AUTHOR: Con Riley
PUBLISHER: Figment Ink
LENGTH: 316 pages
RELEASE DATE: September 7, 2017
BUY LINKS: Amazon