By Helena Stone
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Book two in the Dublin Virtues series
Love is love. But what if the fight for equality gets in the way of building a relationship?
Lorcan Barrett has never considered himself relationship material. After his parents made it perfectly clear they’d never welcome a partner of his into their home, he learned to love his own company and now can’t imagine sharing his life with another. After a single passionate kiss with Eric Kavanagh—the night before he travels to Canada for three months—Lorcan’s no longer sure he wants to be on his own. The problem is, he has no idea what sharing his life with someone else might entail.
Eric Kavanagh grew up in a loving and supportive family and had always assumed he’d end up in a committed relationship. Sure that he’s found the one, Eric doesn’t worry about the fact that Lorcan has no experience when it comes to love and relationships. They are good together, so what could possibly go wrong?
When both men get involved in the marriage equality referendum in Ireland, it appears to bring them even closer together, until Lorcan’s insecurities get the upper hand and he shuts Eric out. Will the fight for a Yes vote cost them their relationship, or will they be able to find a balance between the love they share and the need for equality?
I had been anxious to read Eric’s and Lorcan’s story in follow-up to the story of their best friends Xander and Troy in Patience. Equality unfolds beginning with Eric’s return to Ireland after a three-month job assignment in America. Lorcan is extremely nervous as it closes in on time to pick up Eric at the airport. Even though the two have remained in contact electronically since sharing their first kiss the night before Eric departed for Canada, Lorcan is nervous about what might – or might not – happen next between the two. Will they rekindle what they had finally started, or will it fade away? Thankfully the flame still burns bright, and they quickly pick up from where they left off. As chance may have it, Eric’s new apartment also just happens to be right across the hall from Lorcan’s flat, and the couple’s relationship quickly blossoms.
The elephant in the room, though, is Lorcan’s fight with his family’s inability to accept his sexuality, and it parallels the overarching plot revolving around the Equality Referendum vote in Ireland. His parents may deflect their ignorance and denial of their son’s lifestyle to the Catholic religion and blindly following the Church’s dictate and doctrine, but a surprise in the form of Lorcan’s outspoken and independent grandmother offers an alternative perspective. And Lorcan’s passionate speech on his hometown stage? Poignant and brilliant.
Eric’s and Lorcan’s friendship and romantic relationship seem so authentic and natural from the very beginning, and this quickly resonates with readers who met the couple in Patience and already sensed the chemistry percolating between these two. Lorcan, however, unfortunately harbors buried insecurities and vulnerabilities because he has never been in a long-term relationship and has no true point of reference. Thankfully, Eric is open-minded and mature, and draws upon his past relationship experience, never once blaming Lorcan for his reactions or inexperience in knowing what to do. He’s able to provide a balanced perspective to their relationship that’s coupled with the two’s genuine endearment and mutual respect for one another. Eric is able to convince Lorcan that regardless of history, insecurities, or other underlying vulnerabilities, communication is key to working things out and growing together.
Stone once again pens a thoroughly engrossing and multidimensional story layered with heartfelt emotion, tension, personal discovery, growth, and likable and well-developed characters, and a match made in Heaven romance between two amazing guys. As usual, her writing is solid, descriptive, and realistic, and her characters always feel as if they’re right beside you.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader’s Copy of Equality.
Review originally posted on Amazon and Goodreads on June 6, 2017.