Reviewed by Caroline
TITLE: Their Life As They Live It
SERIES: Perspectives Book 4
AUTHOR: AM Arthur
PUBLISHER: Briggs-King Books
LENGTH: 239 Pages
RELEASE DATE: May 8, 2017
“Happiness is not a goal…it is a by-product of a life well lived.”
Bernard “Bear” Henson is a blessed man. He is happily married to the love of his life, he co-owns a successful business, and his grown son is desperately in love with a wonderful partner. But Bear knows all too well how precarious that happiness is, so he lives every day with love in his heart and gratitude for everything he has—especially his husband Richard Brightman. Richard has been HIV-positive for thirty years and every new day is a gift.
When Richard becomes unexpectedly ill and is rushed to the hospital, Bear braces for his beautifully constructed life to come crashing down. A hard-won life full of ups and downs, illnesses and setbacks, love and anger, and a lot of regret for how certain things went down. Certain things involving Bear’s alcoholic ex-wife Debbie and the start of Bear’s relationship with Richard. But the past can’t be changed, only remembered and studied.
As Richard fights for his life, Bear reflects on the last thirty years of their entwined lives. College days, his shotgun wedding to Debbie, his unexpected feelings for Richard, and the proudest moment of Bear’s life: the birth of his son Gabriel. Bear’s life with Richard is woven with love, heartache, regret, joy, and everything else in between. They’ve overcome every obstacle that’s come their way, and they’ll overcome this new illness, too. Period. Bear simply isn’t ready to live his life without Richard in it.
Note: This is the fourth book in my Perspectives series, and while it can be read as a standalone, readers will have a much richer concept of these characters if you’ve at least read book two, The World As He Sees It. Warnings for spousal abuse (not between the two heroes) and cheating.
I was a little apprehensive going into this one. I have really enjoyed this series and Bear and Richard seem to have been in the background forever – they were characters that I liked, they were characters who came to the rescue of Tristan more than once and they were characters who showed lots of love and patience to their son Gabe so I really, really wanted them to get the HEA without too much angst. That really didn’t happen – there is angst galore as we take a look back at their lives and look at how they got to be where they are today.
This is a beautiful and heart-breaking story all at once. It begins with Richard falling ill – nothing too major at first but when you have HIV you have to be careful. Within a few hours at the hospital his condition has deteriorated and the rest of his story flits between their past and the present day. Bear is devastated and barely holding himself together as he sits and waits in that hospital room wondering whether his husband will survive.
Their past story is interesting and filled with highs and lows. It takes us from their first meeting where they literally bump into each other through their trials and tribulations as students, their first loves and losses, their realisation of what they mean to each other and Richard’s devastating HIV diagnosis at a time when it was a real killer. As each man lives through their high and low points the other is never too far away.
For years Bear is tied down in a toxic marriage that he was almost forced into. This is probably the most difficult time for both men as they are manipulated, blackmailed and forced into things over the love they both have for Gabe. There is abuse – sharp and shocking that brings fear and shame but there is also hope as the love these two men share grows.
This is a difficult and frustrating story that gets to the heart of who Richard and Bear really are. It’s not always pretty but it is painfully honest and as both men fight for their future and own their past with all its mistakes and victories.