Review: ‘Invitation to the Blues’ by Roan Parrish

38510053Published March 28th 2018
220 pages

Eight months ago Jude Lucen fled his partner, his career, and a hospital in Boston after a suicide attempt. Now back in Philadelphia, he feels like a complete failure. Piano has always been his passion and his only escape. Without it, he has nothing. Well, nothing except a pathetic crush on the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.

Faron Locklear came to Philly looking for a fresh start and has thrown himself into tattooing at Small Change. He’s only met Jude a few times, but something about the red-haired man with the haunted eyes calls to him. Faron is blown away by Jude’s talent. What he isn’t expecting is the electricity he feels the first time they kiss—and the way Jude’s needs in bed speak directly to his own deepest desires.

Jude and Faron fall fast and hard, but Jude has spent a lifetime learning that he can’t be what the people he loves need. So when the opportunity arises to renew his career in Boston, he thinks he has to choose: music, or Faron? Only by taking a huge risk—and finally believing he’s worthy of love just as he is—can he have the chance for both.

THIS BOOK. THIS SERIES. THIS AUTHOR. Everything is just so good. So so so SO good. With every book I read from Roan Parrish, I get more and more blown away by her way with words. She just gets better and better. This book was absolutely stunning.

We met Jude and Faron in the first book of this series, ‘Small Change’, but I do feel like this book stands pretty well on its own if you haven’t read that (although I highly recommend that you do anyway, because it’s one of my favourite M/F books of all time). There are characters who pop up from the first book, but this is most definitely entirely Jude’s story. And god, is it heartbreakingly gorgeous.

I will say that it’s not always the easiest story to read. Not because of the writing, that is flawless, but the subject matter is pretty heavy. Jude is seriously depressed. There’s no sugar-coating it, he is not in a good place. He’s coming back from a suicide attempt, feeling worthless and hopeless, feeling like a failure and undeserving of love. Like he’s not worth the effort. He’s having to deal with his manipulative ex and the loss of the music career that was his whole life. It’s difficult to be inside his head, seeing how badly he’s hurting and not being able to reassure him.

But that’s where Faron comes in. These two were so completely meant to be. Faron is captivating and compassionate and so completely in tune with what Jude needs. He doesn’t see him as damaged or broken, he sees the beauty and strength and passion inside of him that Jude can’t see himself. It’s one of those romances where neither of the people involved are perfect, but they are truly perfect for one another. Faron brings Jude back to life, brings him back out into the world, brings him the all-encompassing, unconditional love and understanding he’s always needed.

As someone who struggles with depression and anxiety myself, this was quite a therapeutic read for me; watching someone battling demons like mine let someone in to love them as they are. I saw a lot of myself in Jude, so him getting his happy ending was quite overwhelming in the best kind of way.

Essentially, this was a powerful romance full of everything I’ve come to adore from Roan. Poetic writing, gorgeous characters with deep connections, delicious descriptions of food (and some not so pleasant ones, but still just as vivid) and, of course, a wonderful canine companion. I felt completely wrung out by the end, but also like a little broken part inside of me had been healed. It was simply beautiful.

5/5 stars

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