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Jake Manning’s smart mouth frequently gets him into trouble. Because of it, he can’t hold a job. Combined with some bad luck, it’s prevented him from keeping steady employment. A huge debt looms over him, and alone he shoulders the care of his alcoholic mother and three younger sisters. When a housekeeping position opens, Jake’s so desperate he leaps at the opportunity. On landing, he finds his new boss, Patrick Stanford, a fussy, arrogant, rude… and blind man.
Born without sight, Patrick is used to being accommodated, but he’s met his match with Jake, who doesn’t take any of his crap and threatens to swap all the braille labels on his groceries and run off with his guide dog unless he behaves.
Jake gets a kick out of Patrick. Things are looking up: the girls are starting their own lives and his mum’s sobriety might stick this time. He’s sacrificed everything for his family; maybe it’s time for him to live his life and start a relationship with Patrick. When his mother needs him, guilt makes his choice between family and Patrick difficult, and Jake must realize he’s not alone anymore.
This was a really nice and lovely surprise, and I love that it was! I really, really, liked the narrator, Jonathan Young. His voice is absolutely enjoyable, and he picks good voices for each one of the characters. The accent was fitting, and since the book is told in first person (Jake’s POV), the narrator picked tones, and up and down voice pitch that made this fun to listen. I liked his voiced as he read Jake’s thoughts, too. The audio lasts a little over 6 hours, and I practically listened to it in one go. Almost. Haha.
The story is nice. It’s practically angst-free. There are smart funny lines that made the characters quite enjoyable to listen.
Jake is the oldest of four siblings. His mom is alcoholic and Jake has always taken care of his three younger sisters. He’s like the man of the house, a provider by nature. He puts his family first, always. For him nothing is more important than his three girls. While I could understand Jake’s position, and feelings, I felt like at times he was a bit of a doormat, especially where his family is concerned, and this frustrated me in Jake’s behalf. Jake needs money, not only for him, but also for his sisters and what he needs, so he has different jobs. In one of them he is a housekeeper, and this is how he, eventually, meets Patrick, his boss. (Yes, they don’t know each other right away).
Patrick is blind. He’s bossy, and I guess his need to have everything in control makes him look rude at times. Literally, man: manners!. He contacted an agency that would send him someone to take care of the cleaning and maintenance of his house. Since he’s out most of the day, for work, in the beginning he doesn’t get to meet his new housekeeper, Jake, and for quite some time they talk to each other through notes. These exchanges I found adorable. I think it’s one of the things I enjoyed the most. Patrick’s bitchiness and Jakes reluctance to be bitched around was fun to read. It was also then, when as a reader/listener you see that Jake has, unknowingly, started to break Patrick’s walls.
They go on like that for a couple of weeks until one day they finally meet. Patrick’s stayed home because he’s horribly sick. When Jake sees him, he’s astonished by the beauty of his boss, and Patrick is astonished as well, but for different reasons.
They start building a nice friendship. It becomes strong, and we see Jake struggling with his attraction for Patrick (not that he really wants to hide it, or intends to). We see Patrick becoming a bit warmer to Jake, and enjoying himself more. I think Jake was a good influence on Patrick. You see, in the beginning, Patrick is not only bitchy, but also rude. Having walked through life without even saying Thank You or Please, to anyone… Apparently (This seemed highly unlikely, but then you never know), so Patrick had to learn to be nicer and more caring, and more polite, and this, he learnt from Jake. Patrick has also been very scared and felt very insecure due to his condition, and Jake showed him that it was okay to have fun and take risks. I also think that Patrick was good for Jake. He understood that it was imperative that he took time for himself.
I mostly liked how their relationship came across, and how it was paced. I do have a couple of things I didn’t particularly like… Yup.
The thing is that, as smoothly as all seemed to go for them, at some point they came up with a terrible arrangement, or at least, it was terrible for me. It felt like they were still on a contract and it felt like all the love I was reading was, well, part of the contract. I know why Patrick proposed it that way, but for the life of me I can’t understand why Jake accepted it. Really, for me it spelled JOB instead of LOVE. And this was confusing because to some extent I could even see the love there, so it made even less sense to me. Had I been Jake I’d been pissed to even been asked that. So there’s that. I also had a bit of a problem with the first sexual encounter. I’m always weary of scenes when one of the characters is not really in his five senses, and seeing it happen that way made me uncomfortable. It didn’t go wrong, no, but yet, I felt a bit of unease as I listened to that particular part.
Jake’s family stressed the shit outta me. Now, let’s be honest. That does happen. And it happens a lot. I’ve met people who’ve been in situations where they have to provide for their siblings for one reason or the other, and seeing it here, frustrated me. It stressed me because it felt incredibly unfair that EVERYONE in that family expected and expected and expected from Jake, and that in turn, Jake gave and gave and gave and gave. Was it beautiful to see him being so selfless? Hell, yes! It absolutely was. Does that make me feel better? Well, no. Not really, no. I still feel for him. Especially because of his mom, whom, I never grew to like.
In the end something happens with Jake’s mom, and her decision of involving Jake and Patrick seemed like a nasty move on her part. There is NO WAY that I can see it differently, no matter how many times she repeated that it was her way of repaying him for all he’d done for her. It still seemed to me like a way to have Jake to take care of her responsibilities, again. The more I heard about how insecure Jake was about all of that, the more I confirmed this. In the end he accepted, and he was happy with it, but I didn’t completely buy it. I feel like this happened because it was already there. It felt like he really wasn’t given a choice, and nor was Patrick, but then Patrick was much more excited with the prospect than Jake was. So, yes, we do get a happily ever after, but for me, the situation felt forced. And, honestly, a bit unfair, too.
That being said, I still liked it, and really enjoyed it. The fact that this was an audio book and that the narrator made it all so fun, was a nice plus.