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Review: Switched: N.R. Walker

Switched
N.R. Walker
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Released December 25, 2016
Buy Amazon (and Kindle Unlimited)


Israel Ingham’s life has never been easy. He grew up in a house devoid of love and warmth. Nothing he ever did was good enough. The fact Israel is gay just added to the long list of his father’s disappointments.

Then a letter from Eastport Children’s Hospital changes everything.

A discovery is made, one of gross human error. Twenty-six years ago two baby boys were switched at birth and sent home with the wrong families.

Sam, Israel’s best friend, has been his only source of love and support. With Sam beside him every step of the way, Israel decides to meet his birth mother and her son, the man who lived the life Israel should have.

Israel and Sam become closer than ever, amidst the tumultuous emotions of meeting his birth family, and Sam finds himself questioning his feelings toward his best friend. As Israel embraces new possibilities, he needs to dissect his painful relationship with his parents in order to salvage what’s left.

Because sometimes it takes proof you’re not actually family to become one.

Every now and then, the premise behind a romance novel stands out to me as, well, novel. Switched, by N.R. Walker, is one such book. Just reading the blurb had me wondering how it would turn out. The fact that it’s from an author who I’ve read and enjoyed in the past made it a no-brainer to read. And it turns out this gripping story is now my favorite from this author.

The seed for the plot of Switched is something we’ve all heard about, an idea that automatically makes us partly cringe while sparking an immediate curiosity at the same time. In the very first chapter, the point-of-view character, Israel Ingham, receives a letter from the hospital where he was born that leads to the discovery that twenty-six years ago, he and another baby born the same day had their identities mistakenly switched, and they were sent home with the wrong families. The story chronicles not only Israel’s emotional journey of dealing with the news and meeting his birth family but also confronting the painful, loveless upbringing he had in his assumed family.

Israel has always been a great disappointment to his parents. Being gay was just one thing among many. As a teenager, he met Sam and developed a best-friends relationship with him. Sam and his family essentially gave Israel the love he was missing from his upbringing. So it’s no surprise that when Israel is confronted with the news that throws his entire life into question and turmoil, Sam steps in to help Israel deal with it. Somewhere along the way, Israel starts having sexual feelings for Sam, which he tries to suppress not only because his emotions are completely overwhelming at the time but also the fact that Sam’s his best friend, something he doesn’t dare risk losing. As the story develops, the romance goes through a great slow-burn. There are plenty of hints for the reader about how Sam feels, even though Israel misreads everything. As a reader, this didn’t frustrate me at all. Instead, it made the build so much better, and when they finally did get together, it was one of the best realization scenes I’ve read. And the build made the ensuing sex scenes all the more passionate and steamy.

I believe that even if the author had not written this story framed in a romantic plot line, it still would have been a great read. It’s rare for me to say this about a romance novel because usually the background story serves no purpose other than to give the romantic plot a reason to have extra conflict and growth. Here, the background story really is the primary part of the read. It’s hard to tell whether the romance is a result of the traumatic events or if the timing was little more than circumstance. It doesn’t matter much either way, though, because the development of the romance makes the read even more interesting and compelling than it would have been without it.

The power of the emotions coming from all different angles and truly running the spectrum from pain and sorrow to pleasure comes through from start to finish in Switched. It’s a simply lovely read that I couldn’t put down, and it’s another reason why I eagerly look forward to whatever N.R. Walker writes next.

The author generously provided me a complimentary copy of Switched in exchange for this fair and honest review.

Read Kim's 4.5-star review here!

N.R. Walker

N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way. She is many things: a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words. She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things… but likes it even more when they fall in love. She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.

She’s been writing ever since…

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