Title: Ethan, Who Loved Carter
Author: Ryan Loveless
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: Carter Stevenson, Ethan Hart
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance,
By twenty-four, Carter Stevenson has stuttered and ticced his way to debilitating shyness. Although his friends accuse him of letting his Tourette’s dictate his life, Carter moves from Los Angeles to a quiet California town. He’ll keep his head down and avoid people. He doesn’t anticipate his new neighbor, Ethan Hart, crashing into his solitude and forcing him to get out and live.
From the beginning, Ethan makes his love for Carter clear. But he fears Carter won’t see past Ethan’s damaged brain, even though it makes Ethan more attuned to his emotions than most people. For Carter, there’s a bigger issue: he’s been burned by so-called “perfect” matches, and he won’t risk his heart again.
One way or another, Ethan’s determined to show Carter they belong together. Then Ethan receives tragic news. Suddenly he must turn to Carter for strength and support. Will Carter come through when Ethan needs him most.
I read a lot of books. Many of them I’ve loved and liked and some are even just okay for me. Once in a while I’ll come across a love story that is so beautiful and unique and really touches my heart and lives with me long after I’ve finished reading the book. Ethan, Who Loved Carter by Ryan Loveless has everything I love and look for when it comes to reading romance. I read the book two days ago, and I can honestly say it still continues to be on my mind and the characters are still in my heart.
The blurb does an outstanding job at describing the story. Honestly, I’m not sure if I could add much more to it to explain the story, so instead I’ve decided to write why I loved this book and why it’s a desert island keeper for me AND it’s definitely one of the top five books I’ve read all year…and possibly in the past several years. I know I’ll still probably describe some of the story anyway, but not enough to really spoil anything.
As the blurb mentions, Carter has Tourette’s syndrome. Because he lives in the constant fear of being made fun of or laughed out, this has kept him from experiencing many things in his life. It takes a lot for him to do simple things you and I take for granted. Things like go to the grocery store, coffee shop or even being in a public place makes him nervous and on edge. He does have a couple of close friends that keep an eye on him and constantly beg him to be more interactive with others, but because of the tic he has and cannot always control, he prefers to work his job from home and keep away from others.
One day he gathers up the courage to go to a local coffee shop. Immediately, he has a difficult time telling the clerk what he wants and people soon become impatient with him, in which makes his tic even worse. Finally, he’s able to get his coffee and when he spots a very handsome man named Ethan, he’s immediately attracted to him and soon realizes that Ethan too, is special. Although he’s a grown man, he’s also very innocent, naïve and even childlike and Carter immediately thinks that he’s someone that might understand his disability. Through an innocent comment, he hurts Ethan’s feelings and immediately feels contrite because of it. Knowing he caused the sweet man pain, Carter does what he can to make it up to Ethan and they end up forming a beautiful friendship that develops into a once in a lifetime love.
I couldn’t help but truly love both Ethan and Carter. Both are such compelling, realistically written and all around amazing characters they both really pulled at my heartstrings. I will say that even though both men must live with being different than everyone else, they soon bring out the best in each other. They learn from each other and become even better people because of it. At first I felt sorry for both Ethan and Carter, but honestly as the book progressed, I no longer saw them as victims of circumstance anymore. I began to see them as strong, determined men who take life one step at a time and strive to live the life they both wanted and deserved to live.
Ethan suffers from a head trauma and doesn’t remember the teenaged boy he was before the accident. Even though this would bring many people down, it doesn’t Ethan. He works, has friends and even has sexual relationships with other men. Now, I’m sure this might make some people uneasy because Ethan is so innocent and naïve, but honestly, I believe this was also realistically portrayed.
Once upon a time, I was once a case manager for mentally challenged children and adults. I worked with many adults like Ethan and Carter and I know firsthand that just because some people may never see Ethan as a man, he still is. He still has needs and desires just like we do. Just because he’s different doesn’t make his capacity to love or want a boyfriend and a sexual relationship any less for him. I appreciated how much he loved and wanted Carter with his whole heart and soul. I also loved how determined he was to make Carter see him as nothing less than a man and someone who should be desired and loved for who he really is.
Another thing I really appreciated about this story was the amazing relationship Ethan has with his parents. They were truly wonderful, supportive people who strove to give Ethan as normal of a life as possible. I also loved how they didn’t try to deter Ethan and Carter from being together. Instead, they embraced Carter as their own and along with Ethan’s love, Carter was shown what true love and acceptance is really all about.
So, as you can tell I truly loved this book. I can’t keep from raving about it and I hope that you will read this review and think about giving it an honest try. I do realize that it might not be some readers’ cup of tea, but I do urge everyone to at least check it out. I know I’ll be re-reading Ethan, Who Loved Carter again and again throughout the rest of my life, and know that I’ll enjoy it the hundredth time as much as the first time I was privileged to read it. Ryan Loveless has written a stunningly beautiful love story and I can’t recommend it high enough.
Reviewed By: Gabbi