book reviews · m/m romance

Book Review: N.R. Walker’s “Learning to Feel” (2012)

25908759I’m rapidly making my way through everything N.R. Walker’s ever written, and this book was quite a treat. I definitely have a weakness for “starting a new life” stories, particularly when that new life involves charming small towns and adorable dogs- not to mention adorable love interests.

I really enjoyed reading about Nathan’s journey. I would identify him as demisexual- i.e. he’s generally not interested in sex until he finds someone he has a real connection with. I liked how Nathan didn’t seem too bothered by his lack of interest in sex before he met Trent; even though he knew he was unhappy and wasn’t content with his life, he didn’t blame his unhappiness entirely on his sexual differences. His general acceptance and lack of judgement of his libido was a nice touch and something I really appreciated. Of course it’s very confusing for him when his libido suddenly goes into overdrive upon meeting Trent, and I think this new and unfamiliar development for him is really well thought-out and written by the author. The chemistry between the two characters and their emotional connection was thoroughly enjoyable.

Trent’s character was also well-written. He’s immensely likeable at once thanks to his complete acceptance of Nathan’s lack of sexual experience and the care he takes to ensure he’s not hurting or overwhelming Nathan as their physical relationship progresses. His unwillingness to go too far with their relationship (i.e. penetrative sex) reflects his own fears of commitment and of forming emotional bonds. Both Trent and Nathan have satisfying character arcs that address their own fears. They’re both in limbo-like stages of their lives and have met at just the right time to send their lives off in a new direction- doing so takes a lot of courage, of course.

I’m constantly having to suspend my disbelief with m/m romance at just how fast characters in this genre fall in love; yet it’s ROMANCE, after all, and the authors have carefully crafted their characters to be perfect for each other, to complement each other so well. Giving the characters another few weeks, maybe a few months even, to get to know each other wouldn’t hurt if you ask me, but at the end of the day, it was definitely believable that these two characters in particular were well-suited enough to fall in love.

I’d recommend Walker’s books to anyone; they are well-written and well thought-out, and often feature dogs. What more could you want? This was a really fun, enjoyable read!

{Summary from Amazon.com:}

Resigned to living a sexless, loveless life, Doctor Nathan Tierney knows something is missing. In a rash decision, he leaves his life-consuming job at Mass General Hospital, Boston, to be the small-town doctor in Belfast, Maine.

With the job comes a house, and with the house comes a handyman-painter. Trent Jamieson, a nomadic artist, and his dog Bentley, are offered free accommodation for the few weeks he fixes up the hospital-owned house.

Nathan is transfixed by this free-spirited, undeniably gorgeous man. Confused but amazed to feel any kind of attraction – much less to a man – Nathan convinces himself to put aside any preconceived ideas, and allows himself to just feel.

As their attraction for each other grows, one man learns to live, the other learns to love. But just who is teaching who?

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