When Ade loses his best friend he soon learns that mourning Jack brings not only sorrow but happiness too.
Restaurant chef Ade is a man of his word. When his best friend is killed while serving in Afghanistan, he honours a promise to look after Jack’s lover, Cal.
Ever the white knight, Ade does his best to console Cal in spite of losing his job and nearly losing his life. Ever the fool, Ade falls in love and learns the hard way that loving someone who can’t love him isn’t enough.
With a new job in a new place comes the possibility of a new love, but Eric has baggage of his own. Can Ade and Eric leave their old heartaches behind and find new happiness with each other?
Plot spoilers ahead!
Mourning Jack is one hell of a superb novel that really wrenches the emotions. Right from the first chapter I was in tears. And I mean in tears. Sobbing. The emotion in the first two chapters where Ade attends the funeral of his best friend Jack really did get to me, and Jack’s father losing a son hit me right where it hurts most. Those scenes are so well done that it was as though I was at the funeral too, that I was one of Jack’s friends. The utter defeat and loss displayed by Cal is so very real, and I’ll never forget him sitting in that chair not eating until Ade encourages him to.
Ade has vowed to look after Cal, help him through the grieving process, and I watched as Ade battled with his growing feelings for Cal, knowing he maybe shouldn't feel that way, knowing it was too soon for Cal to begin again. They grow closer, and Ade is head over heels but manages to hold the majority of his feelings back so Cal can have time to become adjusted to life without Jack. I loved that part about Ade—he thought of Cal before himself.
It soon becomes clear that, despite Ade and Cal trying for a relationship, Cal still isn’t ready. Ade moves away, and I felt it really was for the best and all he could do. They have very brief contact, Ade wanting Cal to focus on the grieving process, even though he’d like nothing more than for Cal to be able to love him without Jack’s ghost lingering.
But life, and time, moves on. And here I’ve come to my favourite part of the book. The reality. Life doesn’t always work out the way we want it. Life isn’t always a straight A loves B, they have conflict/something to get over, and end up together anyway. No, real life has its own agenda, and it does in Mourning Jack. Ade meets someone else after months of being alone and without Cal contacting—and sometimes that’s just the way it goes.
Eric is adorable, has sadness of his own in his life, so fully understands Ade and his situation with Cal. They embark on a relationship, and slowly, Ade is able to feel less raw over Cal and realises that although he’d have liked a happy ever after with him, it wasn’t meant to be. His feelings for Eric grow—and then Cal turns up.
At this point you might expect that A loves B to occur, Eric tossed aside because hey, Cal’s back! But Cal’s appearance would mean Ade left Eric…
Verdict: A top-notch tale I could read again and again. It’s so very emotional and so very real, the latter one of the best things about it.