Title: The Imperfection of Swans
Author: Brandon Witt
Length: Novel (284 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (January 18th 2016)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts
Blurb: Kevin Bivanti’s dream is to open a wedding dress shop, a place with the stunning gowns to make every bride-to-be feel adored. At thirty-eight, he quits a successful advertising career to buy an old brownstone in a trendy Boston neighborhood and to make his dream a reality. When one of his cosigners drops out, fate intervenes, ushering in Casper James, who hopes to open his own bakery. With Casper willing to take the risk, their ambitions meld into a wedding dress and wedding cake boutique.
Extensive renovations to the brownstone, an affair with his ex-husband, family drama with his mothers, and the anxiety of significant life changes push Kevin to the brink of a nervous breakdown. In the midst of stress and uncertainty, Casper becomes more than a business partner, a mutual attraction that adds another layer of intensity and risk.
With their dreams on the verge of reality, Kevin and Casper must find the courage to face the stress of managing their attraction, the gamble of a new business venture, and the resurgence of Kevin’s personal demons.
Product Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7324
Review:It’s been a while since I’ve read a Brandon Witt book, so I thought it was about time to get back in the saddle. Now, after finishing this book, I wonder, how is it possible that what came after the epilogue changed this rating from a solid 4 stars to 5 stars? Only one answer comes to mind, so that must be it: this book was written after real characters, with real feelings, which makes the topic of this book even more heartbreakingly real.
I have to offer praise to Brandon for having the courage and determination to approach a topic that’s rarely mentioned when it comes to men: eating disorders. I know we get to see how the female population suffers and is affected by these, but to get to experience it from a male POV, and to see that men deal with body image issues and eating disorders while striving to achieve perfection just as women do, was captivating, heartbreaking, eye-opening, and an experience I won’t forget anytime soon.
Kevin is a gorgeous 38-year-old man, who comes from an overbearing Italian family who’s as supportive as it is overwhelming. Kevin has been dreaming about owning a bridal store since he was a teenager, and while he never gave up on his dream, life had other plans in store for him.
The child of a lesbian couple, Kevin had all the support and love needed while growing up, and he was never judged of shamed for his homosexuality. But sometimes, no matter how much love and support we have, we are still affected by different conditions and/or we’re not quite happy with who we are.
Kevin suffers from a severe anxiety disorder that started in his teenage years, and has been battling bulimia and anorexia for many years, even though for the most part he got his bulimia under control. Kevin is gorgeous and has a great body, only when he looks in a mirror, that’s not what he sees: he sees ugliness and fat, imperfection and disappointment.
No matter how much those around him tell him he looks great, he never believes it. Being married for years to Scott, a beautiful, pretty much physically perfect man, and being cheated on and divorced because Scott chose another man, certainly didn’t help Kevin’s condition.
Kevin’s story affected me a lot, and I was able to connect with him like I’ve never connected with another character before. I understand perfectly what he’s going through and that he can’t control the way he feels about his own body; I understand because I go through the same thing, although I’m not even close to the severity of Kevin’s experiences. But I experienced this enough throughout my life to feel connected to Kevin on a very deep level.
Casper is a chef whose dreams are to one day open his own dessert shop, specializing in wedding cakes. When Casper and Kevin meet through some mutual friends and learn that they have similar goals, they decide to go into business together to help each other with the expenses or starting a new business, and to offer people a unique experience when it comes to their bridal needs.
Casper finds Kevin extremely attractive and no matter how much he tries, he can never think of him as a business partner only. This was one of those cases where the heart wants what it wants, and having faith in fate might make your dreams come true. Casper knows that he’s not beautiful enough, not cool enough, not interesting enough and entirely too geeky to ever make Kevin interested in him, especially once he meets Kevin’s ex-husband/on-again lover Scott, because he knows he’s never going to fall into the same category with Scott. And yet he never stops hoping.
The more time Kevin spends with Casper, the more attracted to him he feels; the stress and pressure of starting a new business, along with his anorexia, are causing Kevin to experience severe anxiety attacks. But with time he comes to realize that being with Casper makes him feel relaxed and happy, and the anxiety that causes him to eat Xanax like candy doesn’t make an appearance as frequently when they spend time together.
What starts off as a friendship becomes so much more, and I loved every bump in their road to happiness. Casper and Kevin are a great couple and a fantastic team, and I especially love how unconditionally Casper loves Kevin, and how good he is for Kevin’s well-being.
The reason I wanted to give this book 4 stars instead of five is for the lack of steam and sex factor. If this had some on-page sex and maybe some descriptive steamy parts, it truly would’ve been the most perfect book.
Only after reading the word from the real life Kevin at the end of this book, and Brandon’s word where we find out most of this book’s characters are inspired by real-life people, this book became less of a fiction and more of a reality, and I quite frankly stopped minding the lack of sex that much.
I know this is still fiction and many of the things that happened are fiction as well, but knowing the core of this book is based on real people made a huge difference for me.
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through https://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *