Title ~ Fin&Matt
Author ~ Charlie Winters
Published ~ 28th May 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary MM Romance
Fin MacAuliffe had always been less than masculine; never truly confident enough to be himself. He’d long known he was gay – he’d just never shared it with anyone, not even his own free-thinking, liberal parents. Sure, they knew. Yet, they never quite gave up on linking him to some respectable girl with good genes and a generous bank account. Fin’s own account was nothing to be ashamed of, but even with all of the advantages, the only true thing he longed for was companionship.
After dragging himself back home to Missouri after graduation, Fin prepared to start his adult life – beginning with taking a new job as a music teacher at a private school. He was set, at least by the traditional standards. On his very first day, he saw him...
If there was a God, he made Matt DiFiore personally. Disheveled, straight black hair which appeared to be self-cut. Chiseled cheekbones. Tanned smooth skin.
Fin knew he was staring. Matt’s lower half was covered by track pants with side snaps, but Fin knew that beneath those snaps housed the most glorious legs in existence. Those full lips wrapped around an apple, biting down as a small smile formed and he turned to walk… Fin’s… way.
If I had to pick one word to describe this story, it would be... 'lovely'...because that's exactly what this story was; a lovely reading experience about two men in love in the true sense of the word. A gentle, touching exploration of a relationship between two soul mates who, quite simply, were obviously fated to be together.
Two halves destined to meet to form a (near) perfect whole!
Sweet, funny and winsome at times, but never saccharine or sugary, it was a heartfelt, uncomplicated, genuine read; with moments of heart stopping tenderness between Fin and Matt, that sometimes took my breath away because of the simplicity, beauty and realness of its core story. Made even more delightful by the effortless, easy flow of Charlie Winters straightforward but classy writing style. One that pulled me in and kept me completely and utterly entranced from the start.
It was so special at times, that I almost felt a bit like an intruder, because some scenes were so intimate. It was like being a fly on the wall, but it was also a privilege to be part of their journey together.
This wasn't about umpteen convoluted side plots interweaving in the background; nor was it filled to the brim with tons of contrived angst meant to create the sort of drama that has you huffing frustratingly. No...this was about two people meeting, connecting, falling head over heels in love and then dealing with the sort of emotional obstacles and personal insecurities that at some time in our lives, we all have to face up to. BUT...big sigh of relief...whenever the odd crisis did threaten to impinge on their relationship, Fin and Matt actually did what people who love each other enough to want to get through those emotional impasses do...shock horror! They talked...and in doing so, got through each problem in a realistic way that strengthened their bond even more.
HALLELUJAH! The customary 'Big Misunderstanding' held no truck in this novel, and that in itself was a refreshing change.
Of the two of them, Fin is the most emotionally insecure. He's always had issues with his feminine looks and has convinced himself that no one will accept him, but still he craves a long term, loving relationship with the right person. He's trust fund rich and his designer clothes and general lifestyle show that; but there's nothing 'spoilt brat ' about Fin at all. His slightly dippy mum and dad love him unconditionally and indulge him selflessly but not because he ever expects or demands it as money is not a driving force in his life. I loved those two people so much! They added a touch of humour, wit and warmth to the book that balanced the emotional side of the love story beautifully.
Matt's personal demons lie with his family history, a huge mistake made in his youth; that has impacted on his life and career in a big way and his pride in not wanting to feel beholden to Fin's immense wealth. He's a proud, proud man; but one thing he's certain about is that from the moment he sets eyes on the beautiful, ethereal Fin, he's a goner! And Fin mirrors that, although it takes a while for him to fully accept this eye catchingly gorgeous, man is in it for the long haul.
You can call this insta love but it's done in such a convincing way that I never once found myself questioning the fast progression of their falling in love. It was a love at first sight situation that wasn't written with bells and whistles, but was portrayed in a unassuming way that worked because the author conveyed the realization of their attraction to each other simply and believably, and the progression of their relationship from that moment on was pitched perfectly. I loved these two as a couple so much because it wasn't the type of sickly, too good to be true romance that, to be honest, doesn't always work for me as I'm not a hearts and flowers girl myself. Yet it still managed to ooze a romanticism that got my slightly fossilised old heart fluttering like it did when I was a teenager and still open to a bit of sighing and mooning over the guy of the moment.
I think this might actually be one of the most sexy, sensual, romantic books I've ever read, because it had me believing that a love like that could truly exist, and honestly, despite the odd blip, there was NEVER a time when I didn't think that these two beautiful men wouldn't make their life together work. The love scenes are hot but again they're beautifully portrayed because of the soul connection between its two MC's. Just gorgeous!
So if I loved it so much, why not five stars? Well...without wanting to give too much away, up to its sublime and uber romantic ending I would quite happily have doubled it's stars, but then Charlie Winters added an epilogue that unfortunately caused me to go from a satisfyingly euphoric high, to a sobbing mess in matters of minutes! I'd just had a crying session at a very moving scene between Matt and his family that was poignant and cathartic and integral to the on going heart of the story. But the addition of the epi dropped me emotionally from that high and actually left me feeling pretty low in spirit when I'd finally calmed down from my ugly crying session, and taken time to digest what I'd just read.
Don't get me wrong it's beautifully written and I sort of get why Charlie added it, but in all honesty I truly don't think it was needed to enhance the sentimental appeal this lovely story already has in buckets, and personally I'd have preferred the book without, as it was the only part that felt slightly contrived to elicit more of an emotional response, that again, in my humble opinion felt a little bit too much like overkill.
But PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, don't bypass this wonderful book because of my thoughts and musings about the finish. Read and make up your own minds about the epilogues inclusion...it might just be the perfect ending for you guys. If you don't read this, then you'll be missing out on a beautiful, heartfelt love story, with characters who will touch your heart and stay with you a long, long time...I fell in love at first read, like Fin and Matt fell in love at first sight, and in my heart it's a five star plus read but my practical reviewing head and that one damned irritating niggle dictated the slight drop in rating, so 4.5 it is.
Overall though, I'll end as I began and just say...LOVELY!