Review – LOVE, Hypothetically by Anne Tenino

LOVE, Hypothetically Cover
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Publish Date: Out now
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher

Paul’s been called many things—graduate student, humanities tutor, jock-hater, even broke—but “forgiving” isn’t one of them. When the new women’s softball coach at Calapooya college specifically requests Paul to tutor his athletes, Paul’s forced to put aside his strict “no athletes” policy for the sake of his paycheck.
Enter Trevor Gardiner, former Major League Baseball player and Paul’s high school boyfriend. Yeah, that one—the guy who sacrificed Paul for the safety of his closet and his future career. But Trevor’s come out and retired from baseball, and now he’s looking for forgiveness and a second chance.
There’s no earthly reason Paul should give him one, but he keeps letting the man state his case. And touch him. And take him sailing. The waters are far from smooth, though, and Paul says awful things to Trevor he isn’t sure he means. Now Paul has to decide: apologize and forgive Trevor for everything, or chalk it up as revenge and move on.

This blurb came from the author’s website here.

Since my months ago blog post about expanding my reading horizons I really had not ventured much beyond the others I had mentioned so when we received this request I read the blurb and decided that I would give Anne Tenino a try. I did not realize that LOVE, Hypothetically was not only part of a series but not the first one until after I had finished reading it. In some regards I think that helped and in others I think that hurt my reading experience.

I didn’t start reading with any preconceived notions or expectation about Paul beyond the blurb, which meant my initial distaste of his character was based on his thoughts and actions only in this book. I did not have the background to expect the redemption of Paul from his previous behavior. I also felt like I had been dropped right in the middle of a story and had to make a lot of guesses and assumptions about character linkages. I am certainly glad that Tenino included flashbacks because I would have been entirely lost. On the other hand I didn’t know exactly how much of an @ss Paul had been to his former roommate and lover, which is probably a good thing. I don’t think I could have picked up the book with that knowledge because I would have despised him.

As I continued to read I found that the adult character of Trevor was a lot more sympathetic and relatable then Paul. While his high school experience and fears for his professional career did shape his actions initially and for several years, he refused to let them define his entirety. Trevor decided at some point that enough hiding was enough and he needed to step out and make amends. Paul on the other hand let his high school experience color his entire life and make him into a bitter cantankerous man. I really felt for Paul’s high school self because peers can be the most cruel of all but you do not have to let that define who you will always be. My moments of sympathy for him were usually brief and replaced by his immature behavior.

I was pretty impressed by the focus and dedication Trevor showed as he tried to win Paul back but I thought he moved a bit too fast and didn’t consider who Paul was at the time. Trevor was still expecting Paul to be as giving, loving and forgiving as he had been in the past and received some rude awakenings. I do think it spoke volumes about the depth of feeling he had for Paul in terms of a remembered love and also guilt for his actions. I was glad when he decided that enough was enough and that Paul needed to decide if he was going to actually forgive and take a chance or remain bitter and alone.

Tenino did give me several giggles when it came to the ‘hypothetically’ portion of the title. I mean who hasn’t tried to get opinions from other people regarding a real life situation but used hypothetically as a means to preserve the identity of the guilty or innocent for that matter. I know I certainly have and found those conversations to provide the comic relief that was needed.

I won’t go into how this ends because it is too spoilerish but I think Tenino did a good job of having Paul grow up. The angst towards the end was rather wonderful. All in all this was an interesting read. I do recommend that this series be read in order because I think it would have added more depth to the characters and Paul’s discovery.

I give LOVE, Hypothetically a C+

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