The Word Nerd Reviews
Aftermath (Vino & Veritas) ~ L.A. Witt
Updated: Apr 22, 2021
Aftermath is the fifth book in the Vino & Veritas series set in Sarina Bowen’s True North world. It’s a beautiful tale of trying to make the best of the bumps in the road and finding someone to help you navigate the ruts.
Aftermath deals with some quite serious issues. Brent, a former professional hockey player, is badly injured in a car accident that ruined his career and almost took his life. Now living with constant pain that varies from a mild toothache to unbearable agony, he discovers at the most inopportune time that his injuries have also caused erectile dysfunction. Luckily, the person responsible for him discovering his ED is also the person he needs most. Together Brent and Jon navigate, not always successfully, the bumpy road to their HEA.
I loved how this author dealt with the issue of chronic pain. As someone who deals with chronic pain of a different sort, it was too easy to put myself into Brent’s shoes and understand him completely. It is hard for anyone who either doesn’t suffer themselves, or have someone close to them who does, to understand the isolation this type of condition brings with it. It is too easy for people to dismiss it ‘it can’t be that bad you’re still at work/school/whatever’, Witt captured this feeling perfectly, and Brent’s frustration with himself, his lashing out and the resulting remorse, was almost picture perfect.
Ah Jon, I don’t think anyone could create someone as perfect for Brent as Jon. Although dealing with his own issues, he accepted Brent completely. Where Brent saw limitations and himself as lesser, Jon thought he was perfect. As much as I though Brent was a great character and so very strong for doing what he did, it was Jon that won my heart.
That’s not to say they weren’t both stubborn mules at times, both of them with their own feelings of inadequacy when the other thought they were perfect. Of course, this caused drama, but each episode was dealt with relatively quickly and satisfactorily.
I have only read a couple of Witt’s books, but I’ve always been impressed with her writing style and her characterization. Her characters always feel real. They have their strengths, but most importantly they have their weaknesses. As for the ‘bad guys’ they are so deliciously bad! In Aftermath, there are really only two major negative characters. Brent’s father and Jon’s ex-wife’s live-in boyfriend. Both are so well developed that you really feel like reaching through the pages and punching them yourself. Especially, Brent’s father who is unable to accept that his professional hockey career is over, instead he denigrates Brent, calling him weak for not trying to return to hockey. Honestly, I would have happily run this jerk over with my car!
I really enjoyed the addition of Jon’s son, Cody to the mix, and I thought it was fantastic that Jon had had an open communication with him regarding his sexuality. I enjoyed that Cody accepted Brent, there was non of that resentment for encroaching on the established family (even if they are divorced) that sometimes comes up when a child is added to a story. I really enjoyed how Brent was able to help Cody deal with his mother’s boyfriend, he was an excellent role model for him, along with his father.
Although this book dealt with serious issues, it was certainly not an overly heavy or intense read. Yes, it did become both heavy and intense in parts, with the subject matter how could it not, but there was also a lot of humour and lightness to stop it ever becoming depressing. Humour between Jon and Brent, the surrounding characters, and don’t forget the delightful pups!
I really enjoyed Aftermath and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys a serious story with amazing characters that also has a lot of humour, true romance, and more than a little heat!