Thursday, June 23, 2016

Review: Brothers by Ralph Josiah Bardsley

Review: Brothers by Ralph Josiah Bardsley 

Brothers by Ralph Josiah Bardsley

Date of Publication: December 14, 2015


At twenty-three, Jamus Cork's plans are simple—graduate college, stay in New York City, and write. But those plans change when his parents are suddenly killed and he finds himself the guardian of his little brother, Nick. Jamus ends up back in the Boston neighborhood where he grew up, with a crying toddler on his knee and the challenge of building a new life for himself and the boy. Jamus somehow finds a way to navigate the ups and downs of single parenting, but over a decade of raising Nick, Jamus never truly overcomes his struggles with loneliness and the guilt he feels as the sole survivor of the crash that killed his parents. That changes when he meets bookishly handsome Sean Malloy. There's a spark between the two men, but both must face down their own private demons to find love in the Irish enclave of South Boston.

Brothers, explores the dynamics between two sets of Irish American brothers from South Boston. Their lives meet in unexpected ways and, as they grow together they learn about bravery, love and being comfortable in their own skins.

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5 Stars

*copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for an honest review.*

At the age of 23 Jamus loses both of his parents in a horrible car accident, while they are visiting him in New York, where he has just finished Grad school. Jamus wakes up a week later in the hospital with his life turned upside down. He has not only lost his parents, but he is now the sole guardian and caregiver for his 3 year old baby brother.

Sean comes from a close knit Irish American family. He has just graduated with his doctorate and is about to begin his first teaching job at a prestigious boarding school.

This is not a gay romance, like I assumed it was when I read the blurb. It does center around two main characters that are gay. One who came to terms with it years ago, and the other who is hiding from it. Jamus has always been pretty open about his sexuality. He has been honest with his brother from the first time Nick asks "how come they don't have a mom in the house like all the other kids?"  Sean on the other hand is deeply in the closet. In fact, I'm not sure until he meets Jamus he even realizes he's gay. It's never really stated in the story.

This is not so much Jamus and Sean's story of their relationship, as it is about these two sets of brothers, Sean and Kevin and Jamus and Nick, and how they make their way through life as brothers. How they support one another. Fight with one another. Push one another, and help one another deal with the guilt and fears they have. The relationship between Jamus and Sean is just a very tiny part of the story. The story is told from multiple POV's, but we mostly hear from Jamus, Sean and Nick.

I was held captivated by the story. The author pulled me into these brothers' lives and kept me hanging onto their every word. They were all extremely likable characters. The story while a bit slow paced at times, but was well written and very enjoyable. It left some unresolved questions, and the story was left very open ended. I came away wanting to know where these four young men are headed, yet I was somehow left satisfied that I could use my own imagination to lead me on the remainder of their journey, but I definitely wouldn't say no to a sequel if the author was kind enough to write one.

Very enjoyable and highly recommended!!

Brothers takes a look at two sets of brothers and how who they love affects them all in different ways. A beautiful and well-written story, I was completely engrossed in their lives and their struggles. I found myself experiencing a roller coaster of emotions as I read their journey of loss, pain, joy and discovery.

Jamus is a writer whose life was forever changed when his parents died in an automobile accident leaving him to raise his 3-year-old brother. As the years have passed he has become both father and mother as well as brother to the young boy. Now in his thirties he still battles with feelings of guilt related to the death of his parents.

Nick is Jamus's younger brother/son, like many fourteen-year-old boys he yearns to be an adult having freedom to make his own choices sometimes putting him at odds with Jamus. He's known Jamus is gay since he was young but now he's faced with the knowledge that not everyone is accepting.

Sean moves back to Boston to live with his family after completing his Masters. He's beginning his teaching career teaching English at the private school Nick attends.  Unable to admit to himself yet alone anyone else about his sexuality Sean is being pressured by his brother Kevin to date an old friend from school.

Sean's older brother Kevin is back home after serving in the military. Suffering from PTSD Kevin is trying to find his footing now that he's home. His love and loyalty to his younger brother are grounding for him while he rebuilds his life.

Lives change for all the brothers when Jamus and Sean meet and begin a relationship. They will discover things about themselves and each other, what it means to love and most of all what it means to be brothers.

But this isn't your typical love story, it encompasses so much more. It's the story of coming out, of love but first and foremost it is the story of brothers and the love of family.

I definitely recommend this story and give it 5 big Stars!

**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review***

About Ralph Josiah Bardsley

A little bit more about me – I was born in a small town outside of Boston. My dad was in the Coast Guard and so I grew up in a lot of different places – New Orleans, Cape Cod, North Carolina and Sitka, Alaska. When I wasn't in school, I spent most of my time in Coast Guard hangers or reading. Today I live in San Francisco where my hobbies include writing, running and wine tasting! Like everyone else I wear a few hats. I work in the high tech industry in marketing. I hold a bachelor's degree from Greensboro College and a master's in communication from Emerson College.

When I read a writer's bio, I usually want to know why they write - what makes them sit down at a keyboard and what do they hope to accomplish. When I ask myself those same questions, it's more difficult to answer. I've always loved writing - in any capacity. For a long time I got enough fulfillment out of the writing assignments I did for work. I've written white papers on software, airlines, mobile technology and advertising practices. These were (and continue to be) great assignments and I absolutely love them - I get to learn about all sorts of cool new things all the time. But eventually I wanted to do something more personal. So I started a blog called BrandFiller. I recruited several contributors and we had a lot of fun for a year or so writing short form articles and posts about everything from hockey to fashion. Let me say - for me blogging was A LOT of work. It was rewarding, but I wanted to do something bigger - something that expressed bits and pieces of my own life and feelings in a work of fiction. So that's when I decided to retire the blog and try a novel. I never expected anyone would publish it. But the team over at Bold Strokes Books saw my manuscript for Brothers and decided to take a chance on me. You can be the judge of if they were right, when the book comes out on December 1, 2015. So what makes me sit down and write now? I guess just the opportunity to express myself and share that expression.

My writing comes from a combination of experience and imagination. My family - especially my husband Dana - is a big part of my inspiration. They're always pushing me to do more and I love them for it. I also love to travel, and I manage to work the details from the places I visit into the stories and the books I write. Someone once told me that the only true value you ever get for your money is travel - and I couldn't agree more.

Find Ralph Josiah Bardsley Online

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