This is one of those feel-good stories of how a young orphan finds a new family made up of a distant cousin and his male lover. It's not the conventional family but it's one that is based on love at least and one that needs to be created by the shared commitment of the members of that family-to-be.
William, who's been at boarding school in Switzerland for several years, often not seeing or hearing from his parents for months at a time, learns that his parents have been killed in a car accident and that he's going to be living with a distant cousin of his mother's, an artist who lives alone on a ranch in the Alberta foothills, outside Calgary. Jerry, the man who's agreed to take William in on a trial basis is apprehensive since he's never been married and never expected to have to raise a pre-teen boy especially not one whom he'd never even met before. Then there's David, a French immersion teacher at the elementary school William will be attending. David is dedicated and liked and respected by his students, their parents, and his colleagues. David takes a special interest in William and in doing so also finds a powerful attraction is drawing him to Jerry. It doesn't take long before Jerry comes to love William and there's no further question of this being anything other than a permanent arrangement. At the same time, David and Jerry also develop their relationship into something much more than just friends with benefits,
The author includes a number of very detailed, highly erotic sexual encounters between Jerry and David, always carefully shielded from any contact with William, of course. Those physical moments are used to show how close the two men are becoming emotionally as well, so I guess it all fits well enough.
Adversity comes in the form of a challenge from a bible-thumping, fundamentalist, whore-mongering colleague of David's who attempts to rile up the community against having David, a gay teacher, working in their elementary school. Because David is determined to protect Jerry and especially William from the fall-out of what could easily become a major public dispute, he shuts them out and when a public hearing threatens them all, he abandons his fight. This causes a break with Jerry that neither of them wants but they don't know how to heal the rift. The characters are likeable and very human and what happens seems to ring true to real life. Alberta is a rather conservative province but there's no doubt that even in that context it's not likely that a good teacher with an impeccable record would be dismissed just for being gay. On the other hand, their lives could definitely be severely disrupted and their happiness threatened. That comes through loud and clear in this novel.
Without giving away the whole story, let's just say that this all ends in the way of all feel-good stories. In fact, there are even some surprises in store for David and the readers. I enjoyed this book, not in small part because the physical setting for the story was on my former home turf of the beautiful foothills between Calgary and the Rockies. And the scenes in the school's staffroom and with the administration brought back any number of similar personal experiences for me as well.
In the end this is a love story. Love creates a bond between the two adults and love bonds William to the two men so there can be a family unit that will work for all of them. I've just read the opening paragraph of the sequel to this novel and I'm looking forward to immersing myself in it. By the way, these two volumes are my first two full-length ebooks and I'm enjoying the experience very much.