I wrote in my summary of the best books I read 2016 that I’d review some of them here on the blog eventually. Here’s the first:
Cultivating Love by Addison Albright
This is a story about an established couple, and usually I don’t read those kind of books. I prefer reading about people getting to know each other and falling in love. Another reason I try to steer clear of established couples, is because authors tend to be mean, mean people, who think up lots of drama for the poor unsuspecting couple, and I prefer my HEAs to be of the forever, totally unbelievable, kind. You know, where the guys ride off into the sunset, holding hands, professing their undying love, and never ever break up or argue.
So this was a different read for me, but good different. Don’t get me wrong, there was drama, but it came from outside sources, and I’ll even go so far as to say it was beneficial for the guys as a couple.
The relationship between Ed and Joe starts out being solid, but not very romantic. They don’t cuddle, or hold hands, and they have very specific rules for sexy-times. So while they’re both in it for the long haul, the other doesn’t necessarily know it.
But when something happens that changes their lives and their relationship, it pushes them both to takes risks in their relationship. To dare to ask for more and to give more. To want more, not just sex, but intimacy and closeness.
Addison Albright has done a phenomenal job of showing the progression in their relationship. They take small, careful steps and they worry about what the other person is going to think, but I love that they both put themselves out there. I love seeing them taking a chance on each other, even if they aren’t always using so many words doing it.
It works wonderfully with the characters Albright has created. They are two ordinary guys, trying to find their way in life. They’re not super ripped, alpha males showing their love in grand, bombastic gestures, but that doesn’t make the story any less romantic. It might not be not flowers and chocolate and loud declarations, but instead they express their love in a way that’s deeply meaningful for the characters, something I find incredibly romantic.
I’ve read several of Albright’s novels, and one of my favorite things is how well she writes quiet, intimate moments between characters. Moments that fill me with warm, fuzzy feelings and makes me sigh happily. This book is full of them and I simply adore it.
The only thing negative thing I have to say about it, is that I don’t like the cover very much. I mean: why is the N in “Cultivating” so large compared to the other letters? It’s weird. Unfortunately, it put me off reading this book for the longest time, which is too bad because it’s a wonderful story.
I give Cultivating Love my warmest recommendations. Just skip the cover and immerse yourself in a quick, heartwarming read. You won’t regret it.
5 feel-good stars.