Teacher Dane Bernard is a gentle giant, loved by all at Summitville High School. He has a beautiful wife, two kids, and an easy rapport with staff and students alike. But Dane has a secret, one he expects to keep hidden for the rest of his life—he’s gay. But when he loses his wife, Dane finally confronts his attraction to men.
A new teacher, Seth Wolcott, immediately catches his eye. Seth is also starting over, licking his wounds from a breakup, and the last thing Seth wants is another relationship—but when he spies Dane on his first day at Summitville High, his attraction is immediate and electric.
As the two men enter into a dance of discovery and new love, they’re called upon to come to the aid of bullied gay student Truman Reid. Truman is out and proud, which not everyone at his small-town high school approves of. As the two men work to help Truman ignore the bullies and love himself without reservation, they all learn life-changing lessons about coming out, coming to terms, acceptance, heartbreak, and falling in love.
I guess my way of warning people of trigger warnings in a book is tagging it with “tough issues” and Big Love was loaded with them. Coming out, grief that involves both a partner and children, attempted suicide, bullying are all included, so if want to stay clear of any or all of these topics, this book is definitely not for you. Although I haven’t been reading books by this author for very long, I’ve now read enough to realize that shouldn’t consider anything that he writes to be an “easy” read so I brace myself going in.
Another important point about Big Love is that although there is a bit of romance, it’s more of a book about relationships than a true romance. It’s also about characters finding themselves and being comfortable with who they are. The story centers around Dane and his prior relationship with his wife and his current relationship with his kids, his his relationship with his students (especially Truman) and Seth. There is a lot that all of these characters have to come to terms with in Big Love and none of it is easy. Readers spend time getting to know not just Seth and Dane, but are given Truman’s POV as well. This is one of those books that wasn’t easy to read, but it was well worth the emotional time spent with each of them.
The next book in the Big Love series centers on Truman. He was in a good place at the end of Big Love and I’m hoping he’s still there by the time readers catch up with him in Bigger Love.