"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." - Oscar Wilde
Can you call it a classic when it was published in 2009 by a bestselling author in the genre?
I don't know, but I'm going to go ahead and call it that anyway. It's a standard MM classic in so far that the story isn't something terribly new or unique. A parenting MC takes care of a young child while trying to navigate a growing attraction to another MC. Also, the neglecting parent of the young kid tries some stunt for personal reasons, so drama isn't far off where the family is concerned.
What is different is the age of the MCs. Logan, a retired Marine, is finding his footing in the civilian world, sexual attraction to another man included. The one who caught his eye is Richard, a relatively young grandfather trying to do right by his son and grandson, passionate pacifist, liberal at heart, with a healthy dose of fear of guns. While the whole plot concerning Richard's family didn't surprise me or sweep me off my feet, I was happy with how Maxfield handled the conflicts between a conservative military man and a liberal pacifist.
The arguments and the conflicts were on point. Some very valid concerns made a realtionship between Richard and Logan tricky. Keeping a gun in the bedside table, attack as the best defense, keeping the peace with everyone without loosing one's self in the process, how to raise a kid when you're basically an outsider looking in, the kid always coming first no matter what the personal costs - all very important stepstones in their every-day life as a potential couple. I especially enjoyed how basic beliefs and the navigation of real problems made up the main part of the struggle the two MCs faced while getting together. Sure, the attraction was very insta, the development of the relationship however, was not. And it was good that it wasn't because that's what I expect and like about a good story featuring two mature MCs. No miscommunication, white lies or unnecessary misunderstandings. Just two honest guys over 40, somewhat set in their ways and very sure of their priorities and desires, finding their way as a couple.
That's problably also the main reason why the drama surrounding Richards grandson and his mother didn't grab me the way it was intended to. It was... maybe a little too much for me after all the "real" things happening. I'm not saying it's unrealistic - in fact I'm pretty sure it happens more often than anyone wants to admit in custody battles with parents deemed unfit to raise a child. But in this story, I was not 100% convinced by the turn of events. I guess, I was just hpoing too much for something different.
But all in all, still a very nice story about two very different, mature men falling in love and making a family. Definitely recommended for sunny days and readers tired of the "childish-miscommunication" trope.