As mentioned in the preview review :), I found this a little difficult to get into. I didn't settle into the story straight away. However, this is one of those storys that draws you in without you realizing it and I predict this may be one of my future comfort reads. Before you know it (well p52) you are pulled into the world of the Margins book shop and the characters there. (This is where I admit I'm a sucker for stories set in bookshops, lol.)
At the start of the story, John is almost an everyman character, he represents the majority of people and their attitudes to the homeless. However, in coming in to contact with David, John has to deal with things he might otherwise not have had to and also he has to confront a lot of things about himself that he might not have wished to acknowledge.
David is understandably not as easy a character to get to know. We learn about him as John does, and at the end of the story John knows there is still much that he doesn't know about the man he's fallen in love with, but he knows he's got the time to find it all out. Unlike John we have the luxury of being able to see into David's head and hear his thoughts.
Maybe some lessons can be unlearned and survival is more than staying warm?I love the way Isabelle Rowan develops her characters gradually and with lots of subtle touches.
He didn't open his eyes when Jamie asked him if he was okay and flinched away from Jamie's hand on his hair.I like that the author took her time in developing the relationship between John and David and didn't rush it. She makes it clear that it's two steps forward and one step (or in some instances two or three steps) back. John and the reader learn that it's not just going to be a case of giving David food and a warm place to stay, the baggage he comes with is more complex than that.
Although there are other characters in the story, notably Jamie the bookshop assistant and Barbara who volunteers at the homeless shelter. This story is very much focused on David and John.
There is lots of other stuff that happens here, but I don't want to go into too much detail and spoil the story. If I had a problem at all it was the point of view shifts. I personally prefer to stick with one character for a large chunk of time. Whereas Isabelle Rowan seems to favour a constantly shifting point of view which is sometimes dizzying.
There's a sense at the end that John and David still have a long way to go, but you also feel that they'll get there. This is only the end of the beginning.
I just want to add that if this is the quality of material that Dreamspinner Press are publishing I will definitely be looking for more from them in the future.