she saved the best for last!!

Renewal - Helena Stone
This is book three in the Dublin Virtues series. I think you should at least read book one, Patience, before this, to give you the full effect of Shane and what he did. Jumping straight in here, because I'm left with one word to tell you how I feel about this book. WOW!!!! I said Patience was cute, and Equality was nice. Good, positive words for two very good books that didn't quite blow me away. But this one?? I cried a lot!! I cheered a lot. I cried some more. I was warned, but warnings never quite hit you til you read a book, and this one hits you, fair and square in the heart!! OH!!! We met Shane in Patience, he was the one who left Troy high and dry and who had his way with Xander and was done. He has a not so good reputation and I was worried about how Stone could write a story for him without that nastiness coming through. I need not have worried because the Shane here is NOT the man who went to America. He comes home to help his sister, who is close to death, his 5 year old nephew and his mum. He is, I think, quite broken, by what's happened. Anyone would be, but Shane more so, since he basically flips his personality on it's head. He freely says, in the course of this book, he was a barsteward (yes, I know that's not a proper word, but I can't swear in a review, Mr Amazon doesn't like it!! ) for what he did to Troy and Xander, his apologies are given. But it's Chris who has the most effect on him, I think. From the time Chris sees Shane, looking so lost, in the pub, something pulls at him. He doesn't know at the point that it's THE Shane, but he finds out. But Chris is keen to point out to Troy and Xander that HIS Shane isn't the same Shane they are talking about, he is a totally different soul, and Chris is old enough to make his own mind up. If the old Shane shows his face, Chris will walk away. I loved that neither man could fight the pull, that neither man could explain it. It's quite beautiful, watching Chris and Shane come together, after that first rushed time in the pub. Quite early, I think, there is love between the two of them, but neither can see it. And I loved watching it all come together. I've tagged it darker/grittier because of what Shane is dealing with at home. It may carry some triggers for some readers. Me included. Made me remember going through all that, made for a tearful read. Bravo, Ms Stone, for saving the best for last. I read this in one sitting, and this was the longest of the three. 5 full stars. **same worded review will appear elsewhere**