Love on the Hudson follows David Webster, who has just returned home to take care of his father, who has just suffered from a stroke. While at home, David does his best to avoid his former childhood friend, Nick Patras.
David had been in love with Nick since they were children, and at the end of their high school year, they began messing around — first a lot of kissing and eventually, sex. But immediately after the last time they have sex together, Nick rejects David, telling David that he isn’t “like him” and they can’t be together ever again, which destroys their friendship. David moves away, earns a degree, and obtains a job he loves. Nick stays in town and determined to overcome this gay desires, marries a woman.
So ten years pass without them seeing each other, and now David is back. Once Nick hears about David’s return, he immediately seeks him and attempts to repair their relationship. Nick, who has finally admitted to himself that he’s gay and is trying to come to terms with his sexual orientation, divorced his wife and now runs an organic farm with two partners.
It’s worth mentioning that Nick is still deep in the closet because of his rabidly homophobic family. Now that David has returned, however, winning him back is on the top of Nick’s list. But it isn’t going to be easy given that Nick deeply hurt David and David now wants nothing to do with him. And there’s Nick’s bigoted family to contend with.
Given that this is a M/M romance, we can pretty much figure out that our two guys are going to get together at some point, and I enjoyed journeying along with them as they overcame the barriers that prevented them from being together. We then delve deeply into each character’s heart-wrenching backstory, which wasn’t always easy to read, especially in regards to Nick’s viciously homophobic family and David’s heartbreak at Nick’s rejection of him.
It’s important to note that for Nick, family is extremely important to him, and this is the main thing that’s kept him so deeply in the closet. But he eventually decides that if he’s to move forward with David and with his life, he’ll need to come out to his family — so he does, which is quite a powerful and intense scene.
I liked how the story is told in dual POVs, which really worked well here. Getting both their perspectives made the story a lot more relatable for me and helped me to understand where both these characters were coming from. It helped that each character’s voice was distinctive, and I was always aware of whose head I was inside of.
I always love second chance/redemption stories involving reconnecting with one’s high school crush or childhood best friend and felt that Fisher did an excellent job with love on the Hudson. She expertly handles some pretty heavy themes such as coming out, homophobia, heartbreak, trust, and the importance of family. It was also a joy to see how Nick evolved from being under his family’s heavy thumb. Additionally, I appreciated the added message here, of how families we create can be just as strong — or even stronger — than families created by blood.
I thought that both characters were well-fleshed out and relatable, and enjoyed getting to know them through the pages of this story. I appreciated the fact they were both relatively rational and level-headed fellows which helped to add that extra bit of “realness” to them. They are flawed and genuine, with each undergoing quite an emotional journey through the pages of this novel.
All in all, this was a sweet, heartfelt, and endearing (and sometimes steamy!) story about two men finding their way back to each other, so in this way, it was also emotive and restorative and quickly wormed its way into my heart. Half love story and half identity quest, Love on the Hudson is a sexy, compassionate story about the power of love, and I’m so glad that this book came to my attention. This isn’t the first book I’ve read by this author, and it certainly won’t be the last.