TELL ME THAT YOU'RE MINE – Victoria De La O
Tell Me Series, #3
St. Martin's Press's Swerve
The Present in Northern California's Bay Area
TELL ME THAT YOU'RE MINE is all about relationships among friends, family, the work place, and most especially between a man and a woman. In this case, the man is Ryan McAllister, who had a difficult childhood. His father deserted his wife and sons before Ryan was even born. Ryan's mother died when he was eleven. The boys went to an uncle's until he died, then it was Jude, Ryan's older brother, who finished raising him. Jude was definitely the dominant brother until he stole Lizzie, Ryan's girlfriend. Ryan left to teach in Japan for a year. Now he's back home, but not the home of his childhood. Jude and Lizzie live there. Ryan has plans to go back to San Jose State to get his teaching credentials, but now he needs a job and a place to live.
Eva Romero, a divorced mother of a six-year old son, just happens to have a studio apartment in her back yard to rent. She'd rather rent to a female, but this Ryan seems gentle and is good with Diego. Eva is a bit older than Ryan and has a full schedule with Diego and her job as well as dealing with an ex-husband with a borderline personality disorder. Yet propinquity will have something to say about things.
Ryan and Eva take every other chapter to share the narrative of their story. The author has them bare everything about themselves; their hopes and dreams, their memories good and hurtful, and of dealings with others. Their road is not easy, but is increasingly fascinating. It would be difficult not to care about these two…and some others besides, especially Diego. (Though not everyone is admirable.) Toward the end of the book, I was struck with the description of Ryan as “kind, patient, and sweet”.
To sum up, readers who like deeply plumbed characters will love this book.