Hither, Page – A
A jaded spy and a shell shocked country doctor team up to solve a murder in postwar England.
James Sommers returned from the war with his nerves in tatters. All he wants is to retreat to the quiet village of his childhood and enjoy the boring, predictable life of a country doctor. The last thing in the world he needs is a handsome stranger who seems to be mixed up with the first violent death the village has seen in years. It certainly doesn’t help that this stranger is the first person James has wanted to touch since before the war.
The war may be over for the rest of the world, but Leo Page is still busy doing the dirty work for one of the more disreputable branches of the intelligence service. When his boss orders him to cover up a murder, Leo isn’t expecting to be sent to a sleepy village. After a week of helping old ladies wind balls of yarn and flirting with a handsome doctor, Leo is in danger of forgetting what he really is and why he’s there. He’s in danger of feeling things he has no business feeling. A person who burns his identity after every job can’t set down roots.
WAIT BUT SPOILER: HE CAN!!
Aaaaghhh I think this was my first truly HEART SCREAM novel from Cat Sebastian. It hit me right in the “but will their love WORK??” angst in that perfect, sweet way where the answer is “Yes. Life is hard, but yes.”
“I don’t think I can handle kindness,” Leo whispered, and James’s hand went still.
“I’m not sure I can be unkind to you,” James said.
It’s a well balanced mystery-romance where both elements play off each other and trot along in perfect step. The romance takes a while to develop but it doesn’t really feel like a slow burn. More like a careful undressing. It’s a book where people start to find what they didn’t think they could have, but it’s not a book where one man saves another. It doesn’t pretend that love can fix PTSD or trauma. But is a book where two people can support each other, and help each other, and care for each other, and make each others lives better that way.
It’s lovely and compassionate while still being realistic. There’s murder, and old lady lesbians, and knitting, and also a flock of hens. I’m on a re-read already and it’s still great the second time – I highly recommend it.
Hither, Page is out June 18th, preorder at most e-book stores