Book Reviews

A Way Back to Then (Tales from Foster High) by Robert Halliwell at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 08-November-2022

Book Blurb

Snarky yet good-hearted Robbie DeCaro made his first appearance in the pages of Tales from Foster High: End of the Innocence, years after the loss of his first and only love. A New York transplant, Robbie now decides that his work is done in the town of Foster, and the time has come for him to leave Texas.

Returning to his childhood home on Long Island, Robbie reunites with his family members. Each using their own unique methods, they try in vain to help Robbie reset to a life he knew before he left it all for the fairy-tale love he found, then tragically lost. He wants to put himself back out there, but the drunks, shallow guys at bars, and fair-weather friends remind him why he left Long Island in the first place.

 

Can Sebastian convince Robbie he's more than a pretty face and that together, they can rediscover the "after" in "happily ever after"?

 

 

First edition published by Dreamspinner Press, June 2015.

 

Book Review

I remember thinking when I first saw this book on the coming soon shelves of Dreamspinner Press, "What the hell?" I mean, 'Tales from Foster High' is a much loved series of mine, and I'm mad, crazy about its author, John Goode. So, who was this interloper, Robert Halliwell, and why was he writing Robbie's story? I'd loved Robbie from the first moment I met him, how was this author going to understand him? Well, trust me my friends, Mr. Halliwell did a phenomenal job, and I owe him an apology for not believing in him right from the start.

“Whether it’s four decades or two years, you never feel like it was ever enough.”
I sat on the arm of the sofa next to him. “There’s a piece of my heart that still cries every day.” I looked up at the faded coffered ceiling. “I can’t be shattered again.” I turned my head to hide my tears."

The last I'd seen of Robbie, he was driving away from Kyle after graduation, and leaving Foster, Texas, forever. The sad, angry, bitter man I'd first met had opened his heart, just a wee bit, to two high school kids, and now he was heading home to his people, to try to find his own happy ever after. 'A Way Back to Then' is written all from Robbie's point of view, instead of the alternating points in the Foster High series. This was a relief, actually, because I learned so much more about Robbie - his childhood, his growing up gay, his family, his life in Foster, his thoughts and dreams - than I ever would have otherwise.

“You’re terrified of letting anyone back in.” He poked me right in the chest. “You’ve built a wall up, dug a moat, and hired an army to be on watch at all times to make sure you don’t get hurt again.”

If you know me, then you'll know that a lot of this story hit way too close to home. I loved seeing Robbie finally learn to accept (or, at the very least, begin to) that he can't keep people at arm’s length so he can protect himself from ever getting hurt. Life is painful, and it can suck, in a really big way. Robbie already knew this, but what he starts to learn is that sometimes life can give you another, different happy ever after.

A wonderful addition to a series I love, and the author left me with a bit of a cliff-hanger, so I'll need to get cracking on the next book fairly quickly. Thank you, Robert, I enjoyed every moment.

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. The first edition of this book was provided by the publisher for the purpose of a review.

 

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 182 pages/62014 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 08-November-2022
Price $6.99 ebook, $16.99 paperback
Buy Link https://dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-way-back-to-then-2nd-ed-by-robert-halliwell-12228-b