Matthew Doner is starting over. After a five-year prison term that alters every aspect of his life, he receives a bequest from his aunt with the stipulation that he use the money to make things right. Breaking free of the long-standing role he’s played and inspired by the few who support him, he decides to create a safe place where people like him can find purpose and start a new life.
Julian Capeletti likes challenges. He is confident, brash, stubborn, and just what Matt needs. Desperate for work after a downturn of luck, he accepts the job to renovate Matt’s crumbling building.
Over the course of a year, romance simmers between them as they restore the house. But there’s a bigger renovation that must take place in their hearts. To become better men, they need to learn to trust each other even with secrets and painful memories they fear may rip them apart.
When reading a new author for the first time, one has no idea what to expect. I must say, I was delighted with A Better Man, first in The Men of Halfway House series. Take Matthew, a man who has tried to live up to his family’s expectations and when he couldn’t, was continually put down. Five years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit changed him. And Julian, who has been through his own kind of hell, but has always stuck to the straight and narrow. Put these two men together in a house Matthew wants to convert to be a halfway house for men right out of prison and what do you get?
A simply sweet romance. They are attracted to each other, but at first are too afraid to mention it and even once they do, they are afraid to lose what they’ve finally found.
I love that this book covered an entire year – it made their romance work for me. (I’m not a fan of insta-romance) Both men had emotional issues stemming from family and yet they had enough mettle to realize that what they had together was worth fighting for.
It missed out on being 5 stars because in some ways the book was too simplistically written. But it is still a good read I would highly suggest.
Jaime Reese is the alter ego of an artist who loves the creative process of writing, just not about herself. Fiction is far more interesting. She has a weakness for broken, misunderstood heroes and feels everyone deserves a chance at love and life. An avid fan of a happy ending, she believes those endings acquired with a little difficulty are more cherished.