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Double Bound by Nick Nolan

Double Bound

by Nick Nolan

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I really wanted to like this book. The writing was great and the beginning really caught me. Arthur was a very interesting person at the start, and his depression was described very well.

But then the story went down the drain for me.

I didn't like the sexual tension between the father figure and the son of his first love - that felt wrong to me.

Then the age difference: A 39 year old and an 18 year old? I don't buy into the "I had a hard childhood and therefore mentally I am MUCH older than my young and sexy body looks like"...the old guy had a hard youth as well, how old does that make him now according to this logic?
I think that especially young people who have a unstable or difficult youth are even more vulnerable. I never really believed in this "hard experiences make you more mature and strong". It might be true for some people, but my personal experience with pretty much everybody I ever met, says clearly different. I think it is kind of a nice idea that you get maturity and wisdom out of a shitty childhood, but in real life? I am not so sure.

And the relationship doesn't prevail. So the whole "I love you so much, can't live without you" is more or less pointless, because they stay "only" friends in the end. Would have made a better story imo if they didn't fool around with each other in the first place - the whole Daddy-re-live-first love-issue was a bit much, especially with the physical similarities between father and son. I don't know, but in Jeremy's place, I would not feel so special and cherished and loved for myself, if I found out my lover was the first love of my Dad's, whose spitting image I am...

As I said, I enjoyed the very good writing (some even poetic phrases in between), but the story and characters were not really interesting to me and hit some sore points with me. ( )
  Tam2603 | Apr 18, 2013 |
Following close on the heels of the appealing Stings Attached, which centred on the young Jeremy Tyler's rise to the fortune to which he was entitled, comes Double Bound. The central character here however is Arthur Blauefee, ex-Marine and more recently ex-FBI agent and now butler and estate manager to wealthy Katherine Tyler, and protector and unofficial surrogate father to Jeremy. Here the story is told very much from his perspective and as such it steps back in time to provide some insight to his upbringing, earlier career and his previous love life.

The account then picks up where Strings Attached left off, and we are taken on an escaped to Brazil where Arthur accompanies Jeremy and his flambouyant lover Carlo as carer and bodyguaard. Jeremy has been charged by his aunt Katherine with responsibility for investigating an investment opportunity the Tylers are investing in; an adventure that will involve corruption, double dealing and betrayal upon betrayal, and prove life threatening for all three men.

The few days in Brazil also provide other opportunities. Importantly a chance for Arthur and Jeremy to explore their true feelings for each other, feelings it seems are equally shared - perhaps the predominant theme of the story. It's also chance for Arthur to put into practice his training as a Marine, and for Carlo to prove that he is very much more than just a beautiful sissy boy. Events in Brazil will form the making of each of these central and most likable men, especially in view of the further troubles they will have to face on their return home.

Double Bound, based on the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk interwoven with old Brazilian beliefs and superstitions (as the author fully explains in his Notes at the conclusion) is a much darker tale than Stings Attached. In fact the opening chapter sets the scene with a seemingly unrelated sinister and tragic account involving a couple of American boys in Rio de Janeiro, but in fact does have a direct relevance. We get to know Arthur very well, his strengths and his weaknesses along with his failures, and we will no doubt become very attached to and feel for him as he faces dilemmas and difficult decisions. As such it is at times a very moving tale, especially when the real crunch comes towards the end; but it is yet a positive story.

I really enjoyed this book, possibly more even more than Strings Attached, it has greater depth and explores the characters more fully, with no holds bared. It is also a story of the meaning of true unselfish love. There are just a couple or so explicit sex scenes, but these are essential to the story, and one of these even keeps the reading tantalisingly guessing. Although I read this shortly after Strings Attached, it is a book that can stand very well on its own, providing enough information on relevant facts from Strings Attached for those that have not read that, but not to the extent that readers of it will feel they are being served up old information. Highly recommended. ( )
  presto | Apr 23, 2012 |
First of all, I'd like to point out that this book is a very easy read, meaning that the story flows smoothly and it maintains always an high pace. The first chapters are also very time consuming, trying to summarize 20 years of Arthur's life in few time. Arthur's past life is not the main focus of the book, but it shaped the man who he is now, and so it's essential to identify the character. Those first chapters allows also a first time reader to take in hand Double Bound without necessarily having read Strings Attached, like me, but then, at the end of the book, you will probably have the wish to read it, like me, since while this is the story of arthur, the other one is the story of Jeremy, the eighteen years old boy that play an important role in Double Bound. And it would be probably interesting to see how the author manages a coming of age story, while Double Bond is almost a silver romance: Strings Attached was Nick Nolan first book, and it was a coming of age book... maybe the author grows with his writing? Or maybe it's only that Arthur was so compelling in Strings Attached that the author felt the need to give him his own story?

More than the story itself, that you can have summarized from the blurb, and that I would prefer not to develop more, I would like instead to talk about Arthur; the story has a lot of turn of events, and this contributes to the high pace said above. Enough to say that after all the high and down, Arthur's long and bumping life journey will end with him happy in bed with his lover, and I'm not spoiling anything, since the book starts like that, with Arthur satisfied in bed who goes down the memory lane.

Even if Arthur is a former marine, a former FBI agent and now a well-paid dogsbody who essentially has to protect Jeremy, he is not the hero type. All Arthur's grandeur gestures were made out of love or friendship, he has not a sacred fire inside for honor or patriotism. Arthur is a man who loves, and loved, too much, who can think to end his live when he is down, but that in the end never bring on the thought since he is able to love again. He loved Jeremy's father, Jonathan, and due to his betrayal he joined the Marine Corp; Arthur hoped to find in the Marine the family he hadn't and the comfort of being loved that he had with Jonathan. He did well and he opened his heart again, to Danny. But Danny died, that fathal November 11, and Arthur threw away his soldier life to commemorate Danny's love. And now Arthur is ready to love again, but at this point, it is real love, or only the memory of a lost love? or maybe the wish to finally have that family that he always searched and never found? In a case or the other, it's the proof that Arthur is able to love, and that despite all the time he was burned, he is always ready to love again.

Another thing I noticed in the story plot is that, despite being adventurous and fast paced, every events end in a 'normal' way; there are not acts out of heroism, most of the time the decisive man is the one you will not expect, and even in the big action of the evil there is almost always a very small reason; and in the end, the novel closes with hope, and in a romantic way (remember Arthur in bed with his lover), but still in a very 'pragmatic' way.

  elisa.rolle | Jul 1, 2009 |
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