Monday, February 8, 2016

Until September by Chris Sully

Until September*** 1/2

As a teenager, Archie Noblesse clawed his way out of the poverty, heartache, and abuse of the reservation and left his family behind. Desperate to shake the shadow of his past, he reinvents himself as Archer Noble, an outspoken blogger and controversial author who lives only for himself. But when his beloved sister dies, Archer is saddled with guardianship of his niece and nephew.

Elementary school teacher Ryan Eriksson is devastated when his best friend Marguerite is killed, leaving her two young children orphaned. Helping Archer with his new responsibilities eases his grief, but when Archer offers him custody of the children, Ryan’s left with an impossible choice: get the family he’s always wanted, or respect Margie’s wishes and convince Archer to give parenting—and his heritage—a chance.

To buy time, Ryan promises to stay for the summer, hoping that Archer will change his mind and fall for the kids. But Archer’s reluctant, and the growing attraction between him and Ryan complicates matters. Legal decisions must be made, and soon, before Ryan returns to school. But with hearts involved, more than just the children’s future is on the line.


Archie Noblesse had a nightmare childhood.  Between watching his mother sell her body to pay for the drugs that were destroying her, his mother’s eventual disappearance and the abuse he suffered at the hands of his uncle as his grandmother looked the other way, it’s a miracle he survived.  But his desire to protect his sister was all the motivation he needed.  He ran away, he worked and scrimped and did unimaginable things so his sister could have a future.  Sounds like an amazing guy, right?  Not exactly.  Don’t get me wrong.  Archie is dedicated but his moral compass is a little out of whack – he makes his money on creating controversy. Enmeshed in that controversy is his inability to form relationships and his somewhat misdirected anger at Indian Reservation is which he grew up.  Having grown up without being able to depend on anyone (other than his younger sister) has made him into a man that lacks trust and has no desire to put his heart on the line for anyone.  Not even his niece and nephew.

Ryan Eriksson is, quite simply, adorable.   A sweet grade school teacher that wants nothing more than to have a family.   You know me.  I love a forever boy.  Any hero that just wants to take care of people immediately wins me over and Ryan was no exception.  The family that he wants so badly is being handed to Ryan on a silver platter when his late best friend’s brother (the famous Archer Noble) tries to sign custody of her children over to him.  But he made a promise that he would convince Archer to stick around (Margie had Archer’s number from the get go) so he does just that. 

The compromise is that Ryan move in for the summer and help Archer because Archer has no idea how to deal with two children let alone two grieving children.  As the summer progresses Archer finds himself falling for his niece and nephew and in turn faces the impossible hurdle of dealing with his own grief and anger about his childhood.  And, of course, he falls for Ryan too.  Until September is, first and foremost, a romance.  But the growing relationship between Archer and his niece and nephew are in no way overshadowed and are significant part of this story.

I found Archie’s character to be quite fascinating.  He’s not a kind or naturally empathetic person.  He’s super focused and ruthless.  What I loved most about this story was that even though his character grows, he never changes the core of who he is.  He was/is never abusive or cruel but in the end, Archer Noble is still an extremely driven man that will do anything he needs to in order to care for the people he loves.    

Before I close this review I have to commend Chris Sully for her in depth research on First Nations Cree and the history and politics of reservation life in Canada.  That research was evident throughout the book which was both informative and compassionate.  Archer Noble’s heritage and history were a significant part of who he was and Sully did not minimize that.

If you are looking for a m/m romance with plenty of angst and a promise of a happy ever after I highly recommend this one.  I definitely enjoyed Until September and I plan on reading more books by Chris Sully in the future.  


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