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Cole Wheaton is a high-end garden designer just getting out of a difficult relationship with a deeply closeted architect. David McLean is just coming out of the closet himself. Cole befriends him, but won’t get any more involved, because David is a risky proposition, and Cole wants something stable. They finally get close enough to try for something more, but then David’s ex-wife pulls him back into her life, and it may end up pushing Cole away.
Kate Sherwood is a new to me author and after reading Room To Grow, I’ll happily seek out more of her works. Room To Grow was a wonderful story in more ways that one. There were a lot of different relationships going on during this story including the one involving Cole Wheaton and David McLean. But, and to me this is huge, what happens to them is just a piece of this entire book. Yes, it’s a huge piece but many things had to happen in order for them to get it right.
When Cole meets David, he’s married to Stephanie. Cole is a landscape designer and has been hired by Stephanie to redo the couple’s garden. David and Stephanie have, for lack of a better term, an open marriage. They are going through counseling but are free to see other people. During this time, David had pursued encounters with other men. David becomes increasingly aware of his attraction to Cole but Cole having just come out of a bad relationship with someone who couldn’t admit he was gay refuses to get involved romantically. David does come to the conclusion that his marriage is over.
The emotions of both David and Stephanie that come out during this time run the gambit. Stephanie does a very unselfish thing for David which I truly admire. Cole lends an ear and a shoulder and helps Stephanie understand that it isn’t about her. Cole kind of takes David under his wing introducing him to his gay and unique friends. Cole also helps David understand that he has to “come out” in order for his new life to work. The scene in which David admits this to himself was written well and made me smile and laugh because I could so see someone doing exactly what he did.
We see the friendship of David and Cole progress over time. They grow closer and eventually they do give in to each other. When they finally do, it’s passionate and quite obvious this is more than just a sexual encounter.
For such a short book, I was amazed at the depth of the characters. Stephanie tried everything to save her marriage. I applaud her for trying so hard and while yes, there was a scene or two where she was somewhat nasty it rang true. She was hurt and upset and shaken. But, in the end she came to terms and I’d like to think that she David and Cole will maintain a very nice friendship. Cole is passionate about his work, a good friend, but obviously has been affected by previous relationships. He had a few moments where I wanted to hit him upside his head, but I like how he communicated his fears to David and they were able to work through them. David…wow, I love how once he figured out he really did prefer men, he told his wife and therapist and then moved forward to embrace and accept his sexuality. He didn’t let harsh words stop him in fact, he understood about how others might feel.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I’ll admit I’m always amazed when married men figure out they are gay (not bisexual, full out gay). I know it happens and I’m sure society has a lot to do wi
th men thinking they need to marry (a woman) and reproduce. While David had other encounters with men, it was Cole who really made him stop and re-evaluate his life. I think that says a lot, you fall in love with who you love regardless of sex, race, or creed. Room To Grow is an outstanding offering from Kate Sherwood, one that gives us hope that right person is out there for each and every one of us.
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