Shelter the Sea
by Heidi Cullinan
Available April 18, 2017
The Roosevelt, Book 2
Some heroes wear capes. Some prefer sensory sacks.
Emmet Washington has never let the world define him, even though he, his boyfriend, Jeremey, and his friends aren’t considered “real” adults because of their disabilities. When the State of Iowa restructures its mental health system and puts the independent living facility where they live in jeopardy, Emmet refuses to be forced into substandard, privatized corporate care. With the help of Jeremey and their friends, he starts a local grassroots organization and fights every step of the way.
In addition to navigating his boyfriend’s increased depression and anxiety, Emmet has to make his autistic tics acceptable to politicians and donors, and he wonders if they’re raising awareness or putting their disabilities on display. When their campaign attracts the attention of the opposition’s powerful corporate lobbyist, Emmet relies on his skill with calculations and predictions and trusts he can save the day—for himself, his friends, and everyone with disabilities.
He only hopes there isn’t a variable in his formula he’s failed to foresee.
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This book was definitely easier to read but as emotional with just as much going on. I’m going to try to touch on each aspect of the story.
Jeremey and Emmet are still rocking and rolling in their relationship. Jeremey is still struggling with his depression and anxiety but Emmet goes to great lengths to take care of Jeremey. They discover just how much they mean to each other and support each other pretty perfectly when needed. Emmet is a rock star in this story…and the lengths he goes to show Jeremey how much he means to him were outstanding. There were so many times these two brought a tear to my eyes as they navigated their relationship waters. We also get quite a few ‘aw’ moments between them which I absolutely loved! Obviously there will be more from them as their story is not done.
David again is almost a main character in this book. He isn’t as bitter toward all his new friends and unselfishly directs those strong emotions toward the cause. I love seeing him forge a friendship with Darren. I can’t wait to see more from him too.
It was great to see folks realize, even in The Roosevelt, they completely underestimated and diminished both Darren and Stuart until they took the time to get to know them. I loved watching them come out of their shells and shine bright! Darren is simply amazing and I definitely want more from him in the future.
The supporting cast is just as strong in this story as in CtO including a few new characters we meet.
The reason this was only 4 stars for me instead of 5 is I felt the political agenda, while important, was a bit overwhelming at times. I did love how it brought these characters out of their shells and taught them important lessons but it felt ‘soapboxy’ again like CtO did at times.
Overall this, as well as Carry the Ocean, is a must read.
Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, playing with her cats, and watching television with her family. Find out more about Heidi at heidicullinan.com.
Also in the Series
Carry the Ocean (The Roosevelt Book 1)
High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it’s time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The young man with a double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey—and he has autism.
But Jeremey doesn’t judge him for that. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in things like clinical depression. When Jeremey’s untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility.
As Jeremey and Emmet find their feet at The Roosevelt, they begin to believe they can be loved for the men they are beyond their disabilities. But before they can trust enough to fall head over heels, they must trust their own convictions that friendship is a healing force and love can overcome any obstacle.
What’s Coming Up Next
Originally my intent was for The Roosevelt to be a three-book series, with David’s story being second. I struggled to write his story, however, and when I tried to write a short Christmas story for my patrons last year, I realized my problem: Emmet and Jeremey had more to say. I thought perhaps I could get away with writing their continuation as a novella, and at first I tried that. Then their story grew longer, as stories do, and as the mental health crisis in Iowa became worse, I realized there was so much more to say all around.
I think now what will happen is that at the very least there will now be a Roosevelt universe, with Carry the Ocean and Shelter the Sea being books one and two of the Oceans books, and then there being some kind of third book (maybe, finally, a novella or short story?) and then we move on to David. I’m not sure who the third book is about—I thought I knew, but I’ve decided to stop pretending I know what’s going on and simply show up and see what happens as this seems to be the better strategy, as when I drive things only get messed up. Needless to say, there will be more books coming. And more residents moving into The Roosevelt.