Title: Moving Forward
Author: Lisa Marie Davis
Length: 16,450 words (56 pdf pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: m/m contemporary
Sequel to Dreams Come True
Three years after making their dreams come true, James and Payne are happily committed and living in New York. But just as they’re about to embark on a special weekend, their world turns upside down when Jamie’s mother calls to say that his sister and her husband have been killed in a horrific accident.
Helping Jamie’s mother with funeral plans and adjusting to the reality that they are now the legal guardians of Jamie’s three-month-old niece would be hard enough, but Payne and Jamie must also deal with Jamie’s alcoholic father, Russ. If Payne and Jamie want to move forward as a family, they’ll have to learn to deal with old pain, fresh grief, and new responsibilities.
This is the sequel to Dreams Come True which we reviewed here. Three years have passed, Jamie and Payne are living happily in their new lives and Jamie’s sister has had a baby. They are notified that she is killed in a car crash along with her husband, leaving Jamie and Payne as guardians of the baby along with dealing with the stress and pain of their deaths.
This book definitely falls into high melodrama mode. Everyone is devastated by the death of the couple, which I can understand, but the book focuses on the absolute grief of the family, how they can’t seem to function, or the dysfunction in their family, as since Jamie’s father’s rejection of him and Payne, he seems to have turned to alcohol, has moved out of the family home and doesn’t even show up to deal with the funeral arrangements, leaving Payne to save the day by confronting the man and making him see reason.
There is little development of the romantic relationship here. They are living happily ever after and there is no doubt that will continue, granted, with the added stress of an instant baby, but it never a bone of contention for the couple. The main conflict revolves around the family crumbling under the weight of their grief and perhaps the healing that begins thanks to Payne. Many may find the continual depiction of grief rather overwhelming and look for the story to move forward beyond that, it felt a bit one-note for me and never really moved anything forward, except perhaps the relationship between Jamie and his father somewhat.