15 November 2014

The One I Choose by D.H. Starr

 Cal and Rhys have been together for three years. Having met and lived together in New York City, their lives were travelling along the same path. That is, until Rhys started working for a jealous chef and got blacklisted in the culinary world of New York City. They move to Boston, Cal using his inheritance to purchase a restaurant for Rhys to get a fresh start. Cal’s biggest challenge is figuring out how to balance work and Rhys. Struggling to make the right choices, will Cal figure out how to accomplish both things without hurting the man he loves?
The One I Choose was a really good read. Mr. Starr gives us a rather thought provoking look into Cal and Rhys’s life that illustrates the importance of communication. Cal and Rhys have been together for three years, recently moving to Boston for a fresh start after another chef trashed Rhys’s professional reputation. Due to an inheritance, Cal saw the situation as an opportunity to secure their future by opening a restaurant for Rhys – a place where Rhys was the boss and had full-reign over the kitchen and menu to do what he does best … create and cook delicious dishes. Unfortunately, as the contractor in charge of the project, Cal is working seven long days a week in order to get the restaurant opened as soon as possible so that Rhys can get back in the kitchen. Being unemployed in a new city with virtually no friends, Rhys is lonely and wants to spend more time with Cal but Cal is always working. Considering the no-win situation they were in, it was not surprising when the men began to show signs of resentment.

It is these conflicting goals that are the driving force behind much of this novella. As the story is told exclusively from Cal’s point of view, we get to experience his frustration as he tries to balance Rhys’s need for his time with that of work, specifically getting the restaurant finished as soon as possible. What I really liked about this story was the level of realism that Ms. Starr infuses into it. Cal and Rhys obviously love each other, but they are not getting along. The arguments between the men felt real because I felt their frustration with each other and the situation. That there were times when Cal initiated sex to avoid yet another uncomfortable conversation furthered the point I felt the author was trying to convey – that sex is not a substitute for conversation – especially when it clearly did not solve their problems. However, I would be remiss not to point out that said sex was HOT!

The One I Choose is packed full of emotion. Cal and Rhys are at a crossroads in their relationship and communication is key – and something that neither man is excelling at. The disagreements, the frustration, and the disappointment are only the tip of the iceberg they must navigate as they evaluate and reevaluate what they are looking for in life. Ultimately Cal has to decide whether the need to “rescue” Rhys is worth the damage he is doing to their relationship. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The One I Choose and absolutely loved the ending. I look forward to reading more of Mr. Starr’s writing. 


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