Author ~ N.R. Walker
Published ~ 25th December 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Israel Ingham’s life has never been easy. He grew up in a house devoid of love and warmth. Nothing he ever did was good enough. The fact Israel is gay just added to the long list of his father’s disappointments.
Then a letter from Eastport Children’s Hospital changes everything.
A discovery is made, one of gross human error. Twenty-six years ago two baby boys were switched at birth and sent home with the wrong families.
Sam, Israel’s best friend, has been his only source of love and support. With Sam beside him every step of the way, Israel decides to meet his birth mother and her son, the man who lived the life Israel should have.
Israel and Sam become closer than ever, amidst the tumultuous emotions of meeting his birth family, and Sam finds himself questioning his feelings toward his best friend. As Israel embraces new possibilities, he needs to dissect his painful relationship with his parents in order to salvage what’s left.
Because sometimes it takes proof you’re not actually family to become one.
I loved everything about this book from the intriguing blurb to the characters, the story and the ending. What a good reading start to 2017! Switched at birth is an intriguing concept and strikes us if we ever hear a case in the news. This is the premise of the story but not all of it, it is best friends realising they’re in love, a tale of friendship and of family in all its many guises.
Israel Ingham comes from a wealthy family and works in his father’s company. His father has always been distant and unavailable. Israel has been told he’s a failure and a constant disappointment to his father all of his life. Wholly compounded by the fact that he’s gay. His mother has always been cold, unemotional and uncaring and Israel is very messed up by his childhood and the relationship he has with his parents. Israel and his parents find out that he was switched at birth with another baby boy born on the same day. This totally throws Israel for a loop and he turns to the one person in his life who has always been there for him, his childhood best friend Sam.
Sam also comes from a very wealthy family but it is a very different environment than the one Israel grew up in. They are an emotionally close family and they showed Israel what it was to be included in a family. Sam is just about the best thing in this story. I loved him from the outset. He cares so deeply for Israel and is there for him at the drop of a hat. Throught the story we see just how much he loves Israel and I just adored their relationship.
Israel meets his birth family and his birth mother Donna is so maternal and accepting and loving, it is everything Israel missed out on in his childhood. To make sense of it all he goes to see a psychologist who helps him navigate his way through the mess. We see him confront his parents and they begin to work towards healing their relationship. We see the reasons that his parents are how they are. Throughout this journey he has Sam by his side offering unwavering friendship and support. It is only after Israel’s birth mother makes a remark about Sam and Israel being together does it begin to dawn on Israel that there may be more than friendship between them. This was such a lovely part of the story and I just adored the pair of them and how things developed between them.
We also see a bit of the other side of the switch, with Nick, Donna’s son and the differences in how they perceive things and how different families can be. I liked how things aren’t resolved overnight but things move in the right direction and you can see the characters growth. I even started to warm towards Israel’s parents by the end after hating them for how they treat Israel. The emotional warmth in this book shone through, contrasted strongly with the cold, unemotional detachment that was Israel’s parents and his childhood. This could have been a very angsty book because of the content, but NR Walker always adds humour and levity to lighten things up. The ending of the story left me with a very happy heart and I will read this again and again. Sam is one of my most favourite characters ever, I just fell in love with him. He stole this one for me. Another brilliant read, in typical NR Walker style, totally recommended!