Joey was six years old when Gage saved him from bullies and the two of them have been inseparable ever since. Joey fell in love with Gage at that early age, but Gage didn’t catch on to his feelings until they were seventeen and then they fell forever in love. The kind of love that touched their souls and lasts a lifetime.
But they couldn’t be together in public, with Joey’s father the chief of police and Gage’s father always in trouble with the law. Joey’s father was abusive and made sure Joey knew he wasn’t the son he wanted. Joey and Gage just had to wait until they were eighteen and then their life together could truly begin. But one night changed everything and it’s ten years before they see each other again.
Joey and Gage are not the same when they meet again. While they are both haunted and traumatized by the events of the past and from living apart, their connection runs deep and slowly they rebuild as they naturally gravitate to the other. There is a lot for the men to work through and they have to learn how to forgive not only each other, but themselves as well, because while life might be filled with terrible tragedies, their love for each other is the one beautiful thing they will forever share.
Riley Hart hits an emotional punch with her latest novel, Beautiful and Terrible Things. The story of Joey and Gage is a deeply touching love story that resonates with raw emotion. Joey, the son of the town police chief, is beaten down verbally and physically. Joey’s father blames him for everything, including his mother’s death and not being the type of son he wanted. But Joey is smart and a scholarship is his way out and he’s taking Gage with him. While Joey’s father is on page, his character is not fully developed, leaving him feeling like a caricature at times, but his presence is strongly felt and his purpose is served.
Then there is Gage. His father drinks too much, has too many run ins with the cops, and is never there for Gage. Gage has difficulty in school and doesn’t feel worthy of much. Joey is the brightest spot in his life and when he realizes he’s in love with Joey, he never wavers from it.
A tragedy tears them apart and the later part of the book is spent rebuilding them both together and separately. Hart doesn’t gloss over the deep-rooted pain both men suffer from and, while their journey back together is not an easy one, the level of trauma described is kept at a manageable level.
The true heart of the story is the love between Joey and Gage. They are soul mates in the truest sense of the word and even though at times they don’t understand how they are so close, they just get each other on so many levels. Their love for each other is absolute and makes this story one to read.