Title: From this Day
Authors: J.R. Patrick and Jambrea Jo Jones
Cover Artist: DWS Photography
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary M/M, interracial
Length: Novella/70 PDF pages
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Review Summary: If you’re looking for a frothy story with a touch of angst and two likeable MCs, this book might be for you.
Joshua Ames and Roman Johnson have been together for eight happy years when some visiting friends get engaged, sparking Roman’s desire to tie the knot with Joshua. But Joshua claims marriage spells disaster for any couple. Suddenly Roman finds himself rethinking their relationship. Taking some time apart could prove Joshua’s point that even talk of marriage is toxic—or it might prove that absence makes the heart grow fonder and show him that love is worth the risk.
I picked up From this Day because I wanted to see how the authors dealt with this topic, especially since the MCs were an interracial couple and they typically have more problems than the norm. We don’t get that many IR romances in our genre, although things are getting better. Also, I hadn’t read any books by this writing team and thought I would give them a try.
The blurb gives a pretty succinct description of the story. Roman and Josh had known each other for 11 years and had been together for 8 years as lovers. During a recent visit their friends Brian and Steve got engaged and this spurred Roman to express his wish to tie the knot with Josh as well, but Josh wasn’t having a wedding anytime soon. He had many bad memories of marriage as an institution and his parents’ marriage in particular – he felt that getting married had destroyed his family. His parents got married and had an acrimonious divorce very quickly after living in harmony together for years, so marriage was the furthest thing from his mind. In addition, in his opinion a few friends’ relationships had soured after getting married and all of them were now divorced. He didn’t want a similar fate to befall him and Roman and he would do anything to avoid getting married.
This situation, where one partner wanted something as important as marriage and the other one didn’t was sure to cause friction, and the fights got more frequent and heated between Josh and Rome. When the inevitable happened i.e. they couldn’t agree, Josh decided that the only solution was to take a break away from Rome, even though they were supposed to be going away on vacation in a few days. Could they mend fences? The answer is obvious since this is a romance, but they had a few hills to climb and conquer.
My major problem with this book is that it tackled an important subject such as a fundamental disagreement about marriage within 70 pages with no in depth discussions about the pros and cons, commitment, love, children, money or any of that good stuff. I really wanted to see how the couple would deal with the important issues that arise in any marriage but they didn’t come up, which seemed strange to me because if you have been with someone for the length of time that Josh and Roman had lived together the topic of marriage would not have come out of left field, so I couldn’t understand why Josh acted so surprised when Roman raised it. Josh’s way of dealing with this matter was the norm for gay men in these books – there was no discussion. His approach was to leave Roman and hop on a plane with Brian and Steve who were returning to their home.
The way the story progressed was par for the course: lots of sex, misunderstandings, a major disagreement, separation, make-up and eventual HEA. Since the story was so short it was obviously not intended to be a forum to deal with something as serious as marriage breakdown and its causes, so I wasn’t surprised when the subject was only touched on briefly and mostly in relation to others whose marriages had failed. The writing wasn’t bad except for the excessive use of the words “you guys” which got to be tedious due to frequency. The MCs were quite likeable and I thought they were well drawn but I felt that Steve, one of the supporting characters, was somewhat of a stereotypical flighty gay man. In my opinion the resolution was too easy in view of the plot and a new complication that reared its ugly head which involved a trust issue, but facile HEAs are typical of short novellas where there is not enough word count to tackle serious topics. To me the epilogue was a bit over the top, but if you like wedding shenanigans this would be in your ballpark.
If you’re looking for a story that veers between being funny and serious, with two MCs who are very much in love, are easy to like, don’t have a lot of depth or appear to take themselves or their issues seriously, then From This Day will appeal to you. The DWS Photography cover is just awesome.