Author ~ Kim Fielding
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 3 June 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Bullied as a child in small-town Kansas, Jeremy Cox ultimately escaped to Portland, Oregon. Now in his forties, he’s an urban park ranger who does his best to rescue runaways and other street people. His ex-boyfriend, Donny—lost to drinking and drugs six years earlier—appears on his doorstep and inadvertently drags Jeremy into danger. As if dealing with Donny’s issues doesn’t cause enough turmoil, Jeremy meets a fascinating but enigmatic man who carries more than his fair share of problems.
Qayin Hill has almost nothing but skeletons in his closet and demons in his head. A former addict who struggles with anxiety and depression, Qay doesn’t know which of his secrets to reveal to Jeremy—or how to react when Jeremy wants to save him from himself.
Despite the pasts that continue to haunt them, Jeremy and Qay find passion, friendship, and a tentative hope for the future. Now they need to decide whether love is truly a powerful thing or if, despite the old adage, love can’t conquer all.
With rainy Portland as a backdrop, two men in their forties find each other and despite their baggage, they dare to hope they have a chance at happiness together. This is by no means a light story, but it makes the bright, happy moments feel even more significant.
Jeremy is a down to earth guy, a park ranger with a soft spot for people who have ended up on the streets, helping them in any way he can. On the heels of an unexpected visit from his addict ex-boyfriend he meets Qay, the quiet man that frequents his favorite coffee shop and who has caught his attention. Qay, who is a former addict, holds a lot close to his chest, but Jeremy is drawn to him and despite Qay's hesitations, they start dating and the feelings that grow between them are stronger than they had anticipated. With their pasts threatening to come between them, Jeremy being targeted by criminals and Qay not quite believing he is worth the effort, their relationship will be tested to its limits.
The story starts in a very promising way and the relationship Jeremy and Qay start building together is as beautiful as it is fragile. I am no fan of insta-love, so seeing how the two men gradually got to trust each other and open up really won me over. Maybe that is why I was somewhat let down by the last part of the book. There is a happy ending, but the usual 'rough spot' that comes before it, was in the form of a conflict-meet-crisis that felt forced and the way it was resolved didn't convince me. Both Jeremy and Qay acted out of character and everything was rushed, which was a great deviation from the pace of the story up to that point. Other than that what bothered me a little was the way some things were phrased but those were things that are my personal peeves and didn't take anything out of the story.
Overall I enjoyed the book. I absolutely loved Qay and the parts of the story that were told from his point of view where my favorites, even if they were heartbreaking at times. Having had a hard life and trying to remain sober while suffering from anxiety and bouts of depression, Qay hesitates to dream of a different future. Instead of being hardened from his experiences he is a very sensitive person, so gentle and considerate that most of the time I just wanted to give him a big hug. Jeremy is a caring, big hearted, modern knight in shining armor character that you can't help but like. The way he treats Qay, not like something broken, but like the man he is – intelligent, strong and worth loving - set the book apart from the majority of hurt-comfort stories. The sex in the book is quite tame and mostly off-page, and fitting to the type of relationship and affection both characters crave. There were painfully sweet moments between them and a lot of understanding on both parts.
The secondary characters were interesting and fun and I believe this isn't the last time we'll be seeing them. Jeremy's cop friend Nevin won me over instantly, with his filthy mouth and his huge heart and I'm dying to read his story – he would make for a great main character.
Love Can't Conquer is a book you should definitely read if you're looking for a couple that finds happiness later in life against all odds. Even the issues I had with the last part of the story weren't enough to put a damper on my enjoyment of this sweet heartwarming love story and I think this will be the case for everyone who reads it. The epilogue gives you a taste of the future the two men are going to have.
Meet Kim Fielding
Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.
Kim’s novel Brute was the 2013 Rainbow Award Winner for Best Gay Fantasy and tied for fourth place for Best Gay Novel.
After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.