Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 244 Pages
At a Glance: Overall, this is a sweet love story. Highly recommended.
Reviewed By: Lynn
Blurb: At thirty-eight years of age, Chandler finds himself single and caring for his brother Raymond, who suffers numerous health problems.
Mired in grief from the multiple deaths of close family members, he recedes into himself, crippled with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive tendencies.
Early one morning Chandler’s life is flipped on its end when he encounters his neighbor, twenty-five year old Marcus.
Nothing about a relationship with this young man makes sense. For one thing, Marcus is… well… YOUNG. He’s also biracial and has all kinds of tattooed muscles!
The streetwise Marcus introduces Chandler to an entirely different lifestyle, pulling the would-be hermit from his shell, albeit kicking and screaming. But how long can such a relationship last, and what about Raymond? Chandler fears a guy like Marcus, seemingly perfect in every way, won’t be able to truly accept Chandler with all his baggage.
An unexpected bombshell detonates and Chandler learns some unsavory details about Marcus, who he really is, and what he’s done in the past.
Finally, it’s Chandler who must decide if he can accept Marcus’ baggage.
Review: I’ve read this author before and have enjoyed his stories, and Baggage is no exception. What I loved most about this story was the real life concept: two men finding each other when they least expect it. Chandler and Marcus are polar opposites. These are two people I would never in a million years put together, but fate, destiny, divine intervention, or whatever you want to call it, pulls them towards one another. And you know what? It worked and it was lovely.
When we first meet Chandler, he exudes loneliness, taking his lot in life with grace and acceptance. You see, he’s taking care of his older brother, a brother who has a slew of medical conditions, as well as being bi polar. It’s a full time job. Then we have Marcus. He’s a lot younger than Chandler, thirteen years younger, in fact, and seems to have taken a shine to Chandler. Here we go folks.
We get Chandler’s POV for the entire story. Usually when this happens, I feel like I’m missing something from the other characters; not so with this one. Mr. Erno does such a wonderful job of presenting Marcus that we really don’t need his POV. We know exactly what he’s thinking and feeling throughout the story. His intentions towards Chandler are very clear from the get-go. I loved watching Chandler’s reactions to Marcus. He really didn’t (or couldn’t) believe this young man was interested in him. But Marcus was bound and determined to change Chandler’s way of thinking.
I really enjoyed these two characters. At first I was a little leery about Marcus. I guess I was going by what Chandler was thinking, which was that Marcus could find someone his own age, and what does he want with Chandler? As I got to know Marcus better, his sincerity shined through. His humor and carefree manner was just what the doctor ordered. But then something happens (which I won’t go into because that would be a spoiler) and because of Marcus’s background, I thought the worst. Of course, when the truth comes out, I felt like an ass right along with Chandler. The lesson learned here is to never judge a book by its cover. Oh, and never assume anything.
What I loved most about this book was its simplicity. And by simple, I don’t mean boring—far from it. I love a great love story, and this is definitely one of those. Chandler and Marcus’s relationship was about overcoming stereotypes, accepting each other’s flaws, differences, and yes, baggage. I loved the realism the author gave us with these two. It wasn’t love at first sight, everything didn’t fall right into place. At times it was a struggle with miscommunication, self-doubt and worry. But when all the pieces were put together, it was beautiful.
Overall, this is a sweet love story. It has bittersweet moments, heartbreaking and sad moments, but a happy ending, for sure. Highly recommended.
You can buy Baggage here: