Author: Evelyn R. Baldwin
Source: Received through blog tour in exchange for an honest review
Ethan Parker gets up every day, surviving the only way he knows how—alone. Orphaned as a child and forced into the child welfare system, he knows better than to depend on anyone but himself. He’s learned trust is a word used all too often, but rarely earned. Ethan believes that his best chance for maintaining a simple and solitary existence is to live by a simple mantra: Don’t get involved. Keep things simple. Take care of yourself! When a young woman moves in next door, Ethan is forced to reevaluate his beliefs. He tries to keep his distance, but his new neighbor’s infectious smile and outlook on life leave him struggling with the decision of living the life he knows, or taking a chance on the unexpected. As Ethan develops a relationship with his new neighbor, Emily, he realizes nothing is simple and learns that life is about more than just surviving... it’s about living.
Vacant is a contemporary adult novella by Evelyn R. Baldwin. This particular version has some sexual content, though there is another version of this book that is clean. This story is told from a male point of view. Ethan is a young man that you can't help but feel sorry for. He was orphaned as a child, and has nobody in his life. When he turned 18, the state pretty much kicked him to the curb and he had to fend for himself. He is very much a loner. He goes to work each day, and comes home. That's it. He leads a rather sad and lonely life.
When this book starts, it is Ethan's 21st birthday. He is sitting home alone when his new neighbor knocks on his door asking for help with her window. Her name is Emily, and she is a teenage girl living alone. He finds out that she is an orphan too. Even though he wants to keep to himself, he finds that he keeps reaching out to her to help her. He knows exactly what she is going through and feels a need to protect her. Because she is underage, Ethan refuses to consider having a romantic relationship with her.
Unfortunately, this book is way too short. It's around 100 pages and spans 15 years. It jumps around a lot and seems very rushed. There are big chunks of time missing when these two are getting to know each other. It's hard to feel a connection with these two, when you don't really have a chance to see their relationship build. Also, while most of the book is told from Ethan's point of view, there are a couple of chapters randomly thrown in from Emily's point of view. It felt very odd.
The story as a whole, was good. It could have been great if it was longer and if Emily would have come into Ethan's life when she was older so there wouldn't have been so much time go by before their relationship started. Something that I really liked was the fact that there was an Autistic child that Ethan spent time with toward the end of the book. My son has Autism, so that little bit of Autism awareness included in the book meant a lot to me. There were actually several good messages that were included in this book.
The romance in this book was sweet, I just wish I could have read about their relationship more. I read that this version is considered erotic, but it's really not. There wasn't a lot of time devoted to sex, and it went into less detail than a lot of other non-erotic books I've read. The book was more about being able to be happy with what little you have in life – as long as you have the right person to share it with.
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