Book Reviews

Borrowed Heart by Andrew Grey at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Disability / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 13-March-2019

Book Blurb

Robin, the recipient of a brand-new heart, knows he can’t give it to just anyone….

 

Robin’s been through his share of upsets recently, from heart transplant surgery to a brutal breakup. But his experiences have taught him life is short, and he’s ready to seize the day and start anew. A job at Euro Pride Tours is just the kind of adventure he’s looking for. He gets to see the world and live a little, but love isn’t on his radar screen. He isn’t sure his heart can endure that again.

 

Johan might’ve disappointed his family by striking out on his own, but when he meets Robin, he has no intention of letting him down. Each man is just what the other needs to feel whole again, and while Johan might not be the man Robin originally thought he was, he’s exactly what the doctor ordered to make Robin’s borrowed heart beat faster. As the tour through Germany progresses, they grow closer, but when Robin’s ex joins the tour, he could bring their blossoming love to a dramatic halt. 

 

Book Review

“Johan had to be the most un-German German he had ever met. As a rule, Germans tended to be somewhat reserved… well, they also tended to think that the German way was the best way to do everything, so maybe Johan was just too German for words.” — Robin

‘Borrowed Heart’ is a touching story about defining what’s really important, dealing with the past, and unexpected new beginnings. The title reminded me of “living on borrowed time” – not something that can make you happy because you have a feeling of constant dread. As serious as the theme is, there is also a lot of lighthearted fun that accompanies Robin, the main character, on his inner journey of discovery. And the setting in Germany, where Robin is a tour guide for the summer, ensures that there is external adventure as well.

Robin was born with a weak heart, was sick a lot when he was younger, and had a heart transplant six years earlier, but he is doing quite well. If anything he overdoes it more than once – but who can blame him when he knows his time is limited? Heart transplants do save lives, but with all the medication needed to avoid rejection, any physical stress is dangerous. What Robin has to learn is that, even though he knows he might not have more than a decade left, this does not mean he can’t enjoy life or be happy.

Johan is a little adrift after discovering that he was not happy doing what his family expected him to do (study at university). He likes being a tour bus driver, but he is also a talented wood carver. Meeting Robin and working with him gives Johan an opportunity to think things through, and the better he gets to know Robin, the more certain he is that they belong together – for however long they have.

With all the wonderful details about the places the tour visits, the activities in each city, and the food they eat, this story felt a lot like a minivacation to me, I have been to some of the places mentioned, but not all of them, and now I want to go! Added to insightful observations about people, both the members of the tour and the ones they encounter as they travel, it made for a very entertaining book.

There is also lots of drama, as expected with a group of strangers traveling together and having to deal with figuring out what to do, personality conflicts, a few couples’ fights, and a variety of group activities. A few minor and a major personal mystery add a flavor of adventure, and it turns out that quite a few things are not exactly what they seem. Especially Robin’s slimy ex-boyfriend!

If you like character-driven stories, if emotional journeys of discovery and figuring out what is important in life are your thing, and if you’re looking for a read that is a great illustration of why life is too short to worry about the future, then you will probably like this novel. It’s a little sad due to Robin’s health issues, but it’s also utterly realistic and the message of hope left me smiling despite it all.

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 194 pages/61477 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 12-March-2019
Price $6.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback, $14.99 bundle
Buy Link https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/borrowed-heart-by-andrew-grey-10304-b