Published by Riptide Publishing
Reviewed by Cassie
Owen Meade is not a confident man. Born with only one hand, he also battles his sexuality and a severe stutter that returns when he least wants it to. He hides in his apartment, working and trying to convince himself he isn’t gay. Then Nick Reynolds moves in downstairs. Nick is everything Owen isn’t: outgoing, confident, and secure in his sexuality. To Owen’s surprise, Nick seems to want to befriend him. They form a friendship that Owen would love to make into more, but Nick holds back. Can Owen get past his own fears and Nick’s secrets to find the happiness he craves?
Never a Hero is a beautifully written tale of a man who has never been secure in himself learning not only to accept himself but to reach out for love as well. Owen broke my heart. He’s a sweet, gentle man who anyone would love to call friend, yet he hides in his home like a turtle in its shell. The pain and embarrassment he felt over his stutter and his congenitally amputated arm made me want to hug him and protect him from the childhood that left him feeling like he wasn’t good enough. His situation hit especially close to home for me because I grew up with a brother who dealt with the same issue, and I witnessed the way people sometimes treated him due to his missing hand. I felt terrible for poor Owen, who didn’t have a supportive family like mine. From the very first page, I was rooting for Owen to find his confidence and see what a truly good man he was.
If there was any man who was perfect for Owen, it would be Nick. Nick is a friendly, kind veterinarian who, like me, has a sibling who was born with only one hand. Because of his childhood, he knows how to treat Owen to make him feel more normal. His attraction to Owen is obvious right away, and I began to get frustrated with him for pushing Owen away. Still, he’s such a wonderful guy that I knew he had to have a good reason. His reason, when it was revealed, was not only reasonable, but also heart-wrenching. Fortunately, Owen learns his own strength and refuses to let anything stand in the way of his happiness.
Never a Hero is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Marie Sexton handles two sensitive issues with understanding. I adored both main characters, and the book also has several great secondary characters. Nick’s sister, who shares Owen’s condition, is sassy, bold, and fun. Nick’s friends, many of whom featured in previous Tucker Springs books, are wonderful as well—and it was nice to see how they were doing. Owen’s parents were compelling characters as well. Their choices shaped Owen’s self-image, yet they are not caricatures. Fans of Tucker Springs books will be certain to love Never a Hero, but I would recommend it to anyone who likes heroes battling unusual issues, emotional journeys, and just plain good storytelling.