Title: Worth Keeping
Author: Susan Mac Nicol
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Length: 256 pages
Rating: A List
Blurb: Abused horrifically as a boy, Nick Mathers has come to terms with his existence as a man. Mostly. Other days life seems a little much. Especially when Nick knows he’ll always be alone.
On those days his thoughts turn black. He walks the Norfolk coast and considers the frigid embrace of the waves. And then, one stormy night, he finds someone who’s tasted just that. The beautiful stranger on the beach is near death, and Nick rushes him home to slowly nurse back to health. As he does, he finds a love unlike any other. Owen Butler’s body is as warm as the sea was cold, his heart as big as an ocean. And Owen is a man who swears to repay the favor. Nick can yet be saved from himself, and he will see that he is indeed a man…
Review: The thing about books written about issues that are as pain riddled as sexual abuse and the healing process after the fact is that you have to be authentic, caring and yet brutal. There is no way to convey a fraction of the pain, anger and damage that this type of abuse causes without discussing some very dark and troubling things. Ms. Mac Nicol does this brilliantly. I was carried away into the story from the first moment, my breath caught and I didn’t let it go throughout.
Nick Mathers life was full of pain and abuse until his adopted father saved him again and again. He lives an isolated life, and was slow to heal, slow to trust, and slow to accept his lot in life. There was an element of PTSD that he struggled with daily as well as a seemingly entrenched sense of self loathing and blame. He was a survivor and that filled him with pride and guilt almost equally. He needed hope and love and there was so very little of that in his life until one stormy night he pulled a gift from the sea.
Owen is no stranger to pain. When Nick saves him, he sees a chance to heal. Not just for himself but his savior. But Owen is not Nick. He has known loss and pain, but also trust and now after years of pain, hope. There is such sweetness and happiness to Owen. He doesn’t know how to help this beautiful wounded man heal, but he cannot leave him and he cannot resist falling endlessly in love with him either. In fact he pushes and prods and talks his way into Nick’s heart, bed and life.
The best part of this book is the way these men find healing. They fight against being victims, and they fight for each other, sometimes against their own better judgement. They make mistakes, they hurt each other. But there is something really beautiful about the process they go through. They are amazing together.
This book’s voice is unique and so is the setting. The men in the story feel both new and like I could go to Britain and take a lighthouse tour and meet them. It was crafted beautifully and a joy to read.
Reviewed by Beans