Forty-eight-year-old Ben Thompson is a librarian, a passionate book lover, and a man who embodies the definition of a bear. He’s also lonely after the loss of his long-term partner. Young ex-gymnast Jason Barnes piques his interest, but Ben quickly realizes there’s more to Jason than his good looks. While Jason visits the library almost every day, he never checks out a book.
With gentle persistence, Ben befriends Jason and learns the nineteen-year-old’s tragic secrets. After years of abuse at his father’s hands, Jason was kicked out of his family home for being gay. And despite his apparent love of books, Jason never learned to read. Ben offers to teach him, and the two men bond over their lessons. Ben can’t deny his attraction to Jason, but he wonders if Jason is too young and too handsome to return his interest. With the help of the close-knit library team and Jason’s growing self-confidence, they move beyond the books and into the bedroom, where their own story is just beginning.
Bear Among the Books is one the purchases I made at the UK Meet, and have just had a chance to read. This is a feel-good, curl up on a sofa when your heart is aching, slurp tea and relax kind of book. It's gentle and kind, and I loved it. Yes, very middle-class England but with all the people that I love reading about. A May to December romance, hurt/comfort but where they help each other in a gentle way, strong and interesting female characters (and TJ, thank you very very much for not doing what I thought you were going to), well-written secondary characters, and above all, a believable relationship between the two of them.
TJ's writing is growing in skill and confidence, and it shines here. If you need a little bit of loving in your world, this is the book to read. A shiny 5 stars for making me feel good when I really needed it.