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A Long Way Back

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A serious accident may have left Tay’s body broken, but he’s determined to live an independent life at any cost. Except he’s barely coping. Alone and isolated in London, his only solace comes from the pain numbing drugs he’s become addicted to. Ink’s on the run. He keeps his head low, but London streets don’t feel safe. The only way to stay under the radar is to keep movin A serious accident may have left Tay’s body broken, but he’s determined to live an independent life at any cost. Except he’s barely coping. Alone and isolated in London, his only solace comes from the pain numbing drugs he’s become addicted to. Ink’s on the run. He keeps his head low, but London streets don’t feel safe. The only way to stay under the radar is to keep moving and not let anyone or anything get close. But the stray mutt that’s latched onto Ink has other ideas. A chance encounter and Ink’s bungled attempt to free himself from his four-legged companion leads to the offer of a job as a live-in helper. Tay’s moody and difficult, but he’s also scared and vulnerable, and Ink finds himself saying yes when he should be saying no. Can Tay and Ink find a clear path on the road towards true love? Or will their broken lives prove to be one roadblock too many? This is the second book in the Unfinished Business series but can be read as a standalone. This story has dark elements and possible triggers for some—bullying, death of a minor, violence, terrorism and drug addiction.


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A serious accident may have left Tay’s body broken, but he’s determined to live an independent life at any cost. Except he’s barely coping. Alone and isolated in London, his only solace comes from the pain numbing drugs he’s become addicted to. Ink’s on the run. He keeps his head low, but London streets don’t feel safe. The only way to stay under the radar is to keep movin A serious accident may have left Tay’s body broken, but he’s determined to live an independent life at any cost. Except he’s barely coping. Alone and isolated in London, his only solace comes from the pain numbing drugs he’s become addicted to. Ink’s on the run. He keeps his head low, but London streets don’t feel safe. The only way to stay under the radar is to keep moving and not let anyone or anything get close. But the stray mutt that’s latched onto Ink has other ideas. A chance encounter and Ink’s bungled attempt to free himself from his four-legged companion leads to the offer of a job as a live-in helper. Tay’s moody and difficult, but he’s also scared and vulnerable, and Ink finds himself saying yes when he should be saying no. Can Tay and Ink find a clear path on the road towards true love? Or will their broken lives prove to be one roadblock too many? This is the second book in the Unfinished Business series but can be read as a standalone. This story has dark elements and possible triggers for some—bullying, death of a minor, violence, terrorism and drug addiction.

30 review for A Long Way Back

  1. 5 out of 5

    Snjez

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. dnf @ 54% I wanted to love this story as much as I loved book 1, but sadly it just didn't click with me. I feel bad saying this, but I don't like Tay. I felt sorry for him in book 1 and I understand his frustration, but the way he treats Ink in certain situations rubs me the wrong way. I like Ink more, but he feels too good to be true. No idea why he puts up with things that happen to him because of Tay. One particular situation bothered me a lot and I just can't look past that. I don't find thei dnf @ 54% I wanted to love this story as much as I loved book 1, but sadly it just didn't click with me. I feel bad saying this, but I don't like Tay. I felt sorry for him in book 1 and I understand his frustration, but the way he treats Ink in certain situations rubs me the wrong way. I like Ink more, but he feels too good to be true. No idea why he puts up with things that happen to him because of Tay. One particular situation bothered me a lot and I just can't look past that. I don't find their relationship romantic. This sounds so basic, but I don't know how to explain it better without going into too much detail. I don't think the mix of the serious moments and the sweet moments is working for me here. They feel disconnected. There haven't been many sweet moments between them so far, but when they do happen it feels out of the blue. To be honest, I don't really get why they are attracted to each other. Another thing that bothers me is how some serious things that happen are resolved – very quickly and then the story continues like nothing happened. I find it very unbelievable.

  2. 4 out of 5

    *J* Too Many Books Too Little Time

    4.5 Stars! It's Barbara Elsborg. Enough said. 4.5 Stars! It's Barbara Elsborg. Enough said.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ariana

    I usually really like Barbara Elsborg, and I certainly loved book 1 in this series. But this one didn’t work for me. Mostly. The first half of the book is fun. The banter between Tay and Ink is hilarious, and I thoroughly enjoyed Ink’s no-nonsense approach to Tay’s health issues while being sensitive and understanding. And the increasingly dark cloud over Ink’s head adds a good dollop of tension and interest. At this stage I was quite happy to look past some of my niggles, but when I hit 65% that I usually really like Barbara Elsborg, and I certainly loved book 1 in this series. But this one didn’t work for me. Mostly. The first half of the book is fun. The banter between Tay and Ink is hilarious, and I thoroughly enjoyed Ink’s no-nonsense approach to Tay’s health issues while being sensitive and understanding. And the increasingly dark cloud over Ink’s head adds a good dollop of tension and interest. At this stage I was quite happy to look past some of my niggles, but when I hit 65% that changed very quickly. What bothered me most… .) the highly unlikely scenario under which Tay hires Ink to be his helper. Nobody would employ a guy off the street without some kind of assurances he isn’t a criminal, even if he buys you a coffee and a sausage roll. .) The time frame for quite a few events (view spoiler)[ for example: a. Tay’s recovery happens within days of Ink looking after him. Sorry, I couldn’t buy this. b. Again, it takes only a few days for Ink to get Tay off his codeine habit. We never hear of any codeine related problems for Tay later. c. Ink goes swimming in the sea only a day or two after his stitches have come open. Nope. (hide spoiler)] .) the flashbacks: What happened to Ink is utterly horrifying and the flashbacks to the past are seriously tough to read. Not sure if they had to be that lengthy and detailed. (Not a fan of flashbacks, anyway) apart from the fact that they took me totally out of the present plot. .) There is a lot of telling and we get quite a few longer ‘declarations’. And things sometimes happen on a pretty superficial basis. .) The way this played out in the end made me scratch my head, as happy as I was for Ink. I mean – the plot is far-fetched to start with, but this is really way over the top, imo. And easy, too. Anyway, it was fabulous to meet Jonty and Devon again and see Tay and Jonty make up. Shame it happened in the blink of an eye. If I’m honest, I struggled through the last third of the book. It’s not often I dither whether to pick up a book, and then decide not to. Just as well the earlier parts were more enjoyable. All in all - certainly not my favourite by this author, but I'm sure many people will enjoy this more than me.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cadiva

    So very different from book one in the series but just as amazingly written. It's an interesting subject to tackle, one I won't spoiler, and Barbara does real justice to it without ever falling into overly am-dram detail. There are two pretty big incidents in the book which are potential triggers, so I'd advise everyone to read the note and pay attention as they are graphically dealt with. Did everything work for me? Yes, on balance it did, even with the unlikely situations, the narrative ran true So very different from book one in the series but just as amazingly written. It's an interesting subject to tackle, one I won't spoiler, and Barbara does real justice to it without ever falling into overly am-dram detail. There are two pretty big incidents in the book which are potential triggers, so I'd advise everyone to read the note and pay attention as they are graphically dealt with. Did everything work for me? Yes, on balance it did, even with the unlikely situations, the narrative ran true. With a background in journalism, I absolutely believed those elements, some people in the industry are just total pieces of s**t. The romance between Tay and Ink is wonderful. They're the heart and soul of a story which is ultimately about hope. Their attraction is clear from the start. They spark off one another and stimulate each other into making an effort to try for a 'normal' life. I felt for Tay so much, having been through a similar experience with paralysis myself. I thought this particular plot thread was superbly executed. Ink though, oh my lawd that boy broke my heart as he did his best in the harshest of circumstances to try and carry on regardless of what was chucked at him. Jonty and Deven make guest appearances towards the end and I loved seeing them both still so happy. We get introduced to a new character in this book, and I'm not sure if there is going to be more, but I'd love to see him find a happy ending too. Both books in this series have tackled tough subjects with consummate ease and I hope for more PS Dog is awesome. #ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

    Sometimes opportunity knocks and sometimes it barrels through the door and obliterates obstacles and any personal space. A random act of kindness from a stranger is that first tentative knock here. But when Tay refuses to open, Ink finds another way. He doesn't know why exactly he's drawn to the man but he can't deny the pull. It's obvious Tay is in a bad way and if there's anything Ink can relate to, it's devastation. Tay is blinded by frustration, anger, and a bit of misery (depending on the d Sometimes opportunity knocks and sometimes it barrels through the door and obliterates obstacles and any personal space. A random act of kindness from a stranger is that first tentative knock here. But when Tay refuses to open, Ink finds another way. He doesn't know why exactly he's drawn to the man but he can't deny the pull. It's obvious Tay is in a bad way and if there's anything Ink can relate to, it's devastation. Tay is blinded by frustration, anger, and a bit of misery (depending on the day) though he's far from giving up (again, depending on the day). When his parents convince him they will cancel their highly anticipated trip of a lifetime to give him the assistance he clearly needs, he folds. His parents not only need this trip, but they deserve it. Which is the only reason he concedes to having a live-in helper for the next few months. Ink needs a place to stay. This leads us to opportunities increased efforts and eventually, busting down that blasted door. Once inside, Ink discovers what Tay's prickly exterior was hiding. Pain. Not just physical agony, although that is evident but a battered soul. Which is another thing Ink knows far too well. As they venture down their treacherous paths, now together, they experience numerous 'firsts'. For me, this is is the perfect package; remarkable writing, courageous characters, and a riveting tale as they embark on sexy self-discovery and redemption. Absolutely stunning! I'm going to keep this short for a few reasons. First and foremost is the confidential matter of Ink's past. Yes, you want to know. No, I'm not going to tell you. Of course, you could find out. But I can tell you this...there are secrets and then secrets within the secrets. There is much that cannot be shared. If you've met Jonty then you are aware of the particulars that spun Tay's life out of control. If you haven't had the grand pleasure of the sassy tornado knowns as Mr. Jonty Bloom (what are you waiting for?!?!) you could start here as the timelines do run parallel. But if I was you, I'd start with Jonty and then jump into Tay's world. I loved hanging out in London but especially loved returning to Northumberland. What I can tell you is how this story made me feel...I've never surfed before (ha, no shocker there) but I stumbled across a surfer's description of hitting the perfect wave and thought, bingo, that's it! She talks about waiting for the right set, spotting it, and deeming it mellow and inviting. However, once she's confidently paddled out, the back of her board begins to rise and suddenly she is staring down a horrifying vertical wall of water with a wicked wipeout written all over it. Not wanting to get hammered, she claimed it and soared with incredible speed, battling a mess of feelings. Once it ended, she found herself bursting with exhausted excitement. This is exactly how I felt. And if I might be so bold, I assume Ink and Tay felt the same. I was curious, distressed, hopeful, frightened, delighted, anxious, furious, proud, and excitedly exhausted. Talk about the full monty of feels! What more can you ask for? Well, I could ask for more. Book 3, please!! Beware of: Take heed of the author's advice...."This story has dark elements and possible triggers for some—bullying, death of a minor, violence, terrorism and drug addiction." But I'd like to add, prepare for a complex story with profound depth, cautious trust, and an abundance of hope and love. Oh, and a dog named Dog that is guaranteed to steal your heart! This book is for: If you like 'em angsty and bold this is for you. A challenger becomes a friend...a friend turns into a lover...a lover proves to be a soulmate, all whilst yearning to simply live a quiet life. If you don't mind battling the dark, I can promise you the sun does come out...eventually. Book UNfunk

  6. 5 out of 5

    Trio

    The second book in Barbara Elsborg’s Unfinished Business series, A Long Way Back is a fast paced, dark, and intensely emotional romance. After meeting Tay in The Making of Jonty Bloom, we learned just enough about him to make me as a reader want to know more, and while it’s not essential to read Jonty first, I recommend it. There are details in the first novel which provide a better understanding of Tay and his issues. This is a very different story, but the messages of finding hope where there’ The second book in Barbara Elsborg’s Unfinished Business series, A Long Way Back is a fast paced, dark, and intensely emotional romance. After meeting Tay in The Making of Jonty Bloom, we learned just enough about him to make me as a reader want to know more, and while it’s not essential to read Jonty first, I recommend it. There are details in the first novel which provide a better understanding of Tay and his issues. This is a very different story, but the messages of finding hope where there’s hopelessness, and discovering the power to change one’s life for the better, ring out loud and clear in both novels. Centered around Tay and his new friend Ink, this story starts out with two men at devastatingly low points in their lives. Spiraling down into severe depression and a dangerous drug dependence, Tay is struggling just to get through each day. Riddled with pain from an almost life-ending injury, angry and frustrated, Tay has turned his back on his friends and the life he knew. Hopefully a fresh start in London is the answer. Hired as Tay’s live-in helper, all we really know about Ink is that he’s homeless and on the run. We don’t get his details until much later into the story, and the way Barbara Elsborg reveals it all is simply amazing! An incredibly complex character, with a backstory which completely gutted me, I can’t remember when a character has affected me so thoroughly. Ms. Elsborg delivers a powerful message successfully; that when life is at its darkest, never lose hope. As horrific as the transgressions against both Tay and Ink appear, these men both rise above and create something worth living for. But neither man could do it on his own. Opening up, and taking a chance on friendship, and eventually love, is the key to a life worth living. Of course, it’s not all about personal growth and romance. Barbara Elsborg includes some fascinating facts and history of the London Tay and Ink explore. And the fresh and witty banter between the men enriches both of their characters, and shows the progression of their relationship. Fans of Barbara Elsborg know how perfectly this author can wrap you up in a story, and A Long Way Back is one of her best. I was sorry to see it end, and I can only hope that one of the side characters from this novel is next in line to have their journey told.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elisa Glendenning

    3.75 I really liked this sequel, but not as much as it’s predecessor. It got off to a great start and from their very first meeting, it was obvious these two lonely MC’s were meant to be. Tay is struggling after a traumatic head injury and is secretly addicted to pain killers. He hires Ink as a live-in worker to assist with rehabilitation. From the prologue, I felt a lot of sympathy for Tay and his current state. Some of the decisions he made were harsh but understandable. If Tay’s situation isn’t 3.75 I really liked this sequel, but not as much as it’s predecessor. It got off to a great start and from their very first meeting, it was obvious these two lonely MC’s were meant to be. Tay is struggling after a traumatic head injury and is secretly addicted to pain killers. He hires Ink as a live-in worker to assist with rehabilitation. From the prologue, I felt a lot of sympathy for Tay and his current state. Some of the decisions he made were harsh but understandable. If Tay’s situation isn’t bad enough, Ink’s plight is truly dire. His arc provides an element of mystery/suspense with respect to his past and who/what he’s running from. Not only was I concerned for his wellbeing, I also feared what his past might reveal. Whilst some of the subject matter was darker than I’d expected, there was a lot of light too. The dog. Their first meeting. The interview. The hurt/comfort. Ink’s kindness/compassion. Tay’s acceptance. Jonty’s and Devan’s reappearance (though you’ll be waiting awhile) - much to my delight, Jonty was his usual sunny self. The epilogue 🥰. Whilst it was entertaining, I can’t deny that I had to suspend some disbelief with respect to certain parts of the plot. Mostly what occurred was plausible but doubtful within a one week timeframe. (view spoiler)[(addiction, swift recoveries, fast love, assault, terrorism, miscarriages of justice, menacing media, shocking reveals) (hide spoiler)] . Despite my niggles, I like what I’ve read so far by this author. The plot was engaging and provided the escape I was looking for after a hard week. I’ve discovered places in London I never knew existed and am keen to investigate for myself. Can be read as a stand-alone but I recommend reading The Making of Jonty Bloom first.

  8. 4 out of 5

    NicoleR.M.M.

    I waited too long to read this. That's my first thought after finishing this book. I loved Jonty's book (the first in this series), and knew I wanted to read Tay's book too. But you probably know how that goes - too many books to read and some just disappear into the mountainous pile of your tbr. Since I received an ARC for the 4th book in this series - Ru's book - I thought it was about time to get to this one, because I don't like to read a series out of order, afraid to miss out on something I waited too long to read this. That's my first thought after finishing this book. I loved Jonty's book (the first in this series), and knew I wanted to read Tay's book too. But you probably know how that goes - too many books to read and some just disappear into the mountainous pile of your tbr. Since I received an ARC for the 4th book in this series - Ru's book - I thought it was about time to get to this one, because I don't like to read a series out of order, afraid to miss out on something basic that might make me enjoy a book more. I'm glad I knew a bit of Tay's background before going into this one. He's miserable after having been pushed off a ladder by Jonty's jealous boyfriend at the time - barely able to walk again, his brain injury making it difficult for him to talk, in the end addicted to painkillers. His parents worry (even though he hides his addiction from them) and make him agree to have an in house caretaker. And so Ink enters the story. He and his dog (named Dog) accidentally come to live with Tay and Ink is just the sweetest guy around. The way he takes care of Tay, his humor and their banter is a perfect balance for the horrified sides of this story. Ink comes with a lot of baggage (figuratively speaking, because he only carries one bag with all his earthly possessions) and slowly but surely his past comes knocking on their door. Yes, there was quite some drama in this one. I advice anyone who wants to read this book to be aware of the trigger warnings. In the end the drama about Ink's past took over quite an important part of the story, but even though I can imagine that to some it might feel a bit too much, it wasn't for me. I’m just happy that Tay never gave Ink the chance to run away, and that Ink was honest about who he really was. That the author did NOT take the route where the mc’s don’t talk with each other, which leads up to the GREAT MISUNDERSTANDING. I’m glad Tay and Ink had conversations! But when Ink’s past reveals, it sure made me curious about Ru's story, which we will be reading in the 4th book. I liked how Jonty and Devon showed up in this book too, even played an important part in solving Ink's past drama. I really love how Barbara Elsborg balances drama with humor and banter. I haven't read many books by her yet, but I will be sure to make up for that. This book was a great sequel to Jonty's book The Making of Jonty Bloom and I look forward to read the third book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Picky. Judgey. Critical.

    On first read, I didn’t realize how tight the author made the timeline. All of this would have happened in a matter of two weeks. Tay references the hotel invitation date as being in two weeks, in ch. 8, before he went through withdrawal. So he went from barely able to walk, through withdrawal, regained his strength, galloped on a horse for the first time in two years, then supposedly spent a few days exercising more before the hotel event. In two weeks. Totally off base timeline. A bit more ang On first read, I didn’t realize how tight the author made the timeline. All of this would have happened in a matter of two weeks. Tay references the hotel invitation date as being in two weeks, in ch. 8, before he went through withdrawal. So he went from barely able to walk, through withdrawal, regained his strength, galloped on a horse for the first time in two years, then supposedly spent a few days exercising more before the hotel event. In two weeks. Totally off base timeline. A bit more angst This was quite a bit heavier than Jonty’s story (which was positively fluffy for Barbara Elsborg) although I couldn’t entirely buy into the big reveal. Too much drama packed in. Poor Ink though, he really went through it. I enjoyed the heck out of it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kazza

    No matter what I do, I can't seem to come up with a review for A long Way Back. There are already plenty of good ones on here. I loved Ink. His story is heart breaking. He was very kind and kind characters are important to me in contemporary romance. Tay needed time to heal emotionally and to grow on me. Once he did that, I was hooked. He was a strong character. I liked his family too. The feelings the book elicits are very real. Empathy being a strong one. It's good not to believe everything yo No matter what I do, I can't seem to come up with a review for A long Way Back. There are already plenty of good ones on here. I loved Ink. His story is heart breaking. He was very kind and kind characters are important to me in contemporary romance. Tay needed time to heal emotionally and to grow on me. Once he did that, I was hooked. He was a strong character. I liked his family too. The feelings the book elicits are very real. Empathy being a strong one. It's good not to believe everything you read. That is definitely a lesson to be learned. Man, Jonty is very.... hyperactive (I didn't read book #1.) Barbara Elsborg is a quality writer.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Miriah

    3.5 Maybe? I’m not really sure how to feel about this. I liked the first half well enough and felt like it was headed in a pretty good direction. I hated how Tay treated Jonty, which felt really out of character for what we knew, and poor Jonty just continues to get shit on by everyone other than Devan. Tay is also kind of a dick to everyone, which is partially understandable and partially very irritating. Tay got a bit too angry/aggressive for me in one scene and it was wildly uncomfortable. The 3.5 Maybe? I’m not really sure how to feel about this. I liked the first half well enough and felt like it was headed in a pretty good direction. I hated how Tay treated Jonty, which felt really out of character for what we knew, and poor Jonty just continues to get shit on by everyone other than Devan. Tay is also kind of a dick to everyone, which is partially understandable and partially very irritating. Tay got a bit too angry/aggressive for me in one scene and it was wildly uncomfortable. There was a lot of sad and upsetting things that happened, especially to Ink. I didn’t feel a ton of chemistry between Tay and Ink but I was enjoying the story well enough. The pacing/timelines were not great. Ink basically wagged his fingers and Tay was cured of multiple things. After the half way point I was just bored and annoyed with the absolutely absurd plot of Ink’s past. I felt like I was drowning because there was absolutely no way out of it for Ink and Tay to be together. The resolution was so far past absurd that I should’ve looked up a different word in a thesaurus. I didn’t love a lot of the dialogue either. I did love seeing Jonty and Devin again, and the moments in which Tay and Ink were just together were really lovely. I think this was lacking romance due to the other plots largely taking over.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joyfully Jay

    A Joyfully Jay review. 5 stars Note: While it may not be imperative to read The Making of Jonty Bloom prior to reading this connecting novel, A Long Way Back, author Barbara Elsborg definitely crosses over between the two during this second story. This review does have some spoilers for the first book. This novel is a gripping tale of second chances and of learning what is most important in life. It is a testament to what can happen when one learns to trust in another and give oneself permission t A Joyfully Jay review. 5 stars Note: While it may not be imperative to read The Making of Jonty Bloom prior to reading this connecting novel, A Long Way Back, author Barbara Elsborg definitely crosses over between the two during this second story. This review does have some spoilers for the first book. This novel is a gripping tale of second chances and of learning what is most important in life. It is a testament to what can happen when one learns to trust in another and give oneself permission to dream about a future. The ending of this novel is mind-blowing and how the author resolves a life-altering event in this story is nothing short of amazing. Read Sammy’s review in its entirety here.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Kamau

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was fascinated by this one, and to think that I had avoided reading it for the longest time because I was afraid of being disappointed. Their relationship, albeit fast, progressed well, and I kept hoping and praying for the best. I was somewhat disappointed that Ru was still alive, but that twist was unexpected yet very much satisfying. I couldn't imagine watching Ink break down because of any backlash they received if his story had turned out negative. Tay and Ink were perfect for each other, a I was fascinated by this one, and to think that I had avoided reading it for the longest time because I was afraid of being disappointed. Their relationship, albeit fast, progressed well, and I kept hoping and praying for the best. I was somewhat disappointed that Ru was still alive, but that twist was unexpected yet very much satisfying. I couldn't imagine watching Ink break down because of any backlash they received if his story had turned out negative. Tay and Ink were perfect for each other, although I had hated Tay for ignoring Johnty, considering how Johnty had refused to leave the town because Tay was still in a coma. I'm glad they made up though. This was a good book, and at least it helped me figure out who Cato is.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Absolutely stunning. Loved so much about this book. Such a well considered and compassionate story. An important reminder not to judge but to learn first ❤️ Adored this

  15. 5 out of 5

    suzette ~Always Reading~

    I’m a bit torn with the rating on this. I loved so much about this book until the last part. I loved Tay and Ink and they both had so much to sort through and they did it together which I loved. I found the last part very unbelievable and so out there that it just caught me off guard. Even so I really loved the overall story.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Reilley

    I am going to say this again. I feel like I say it over and over but I will read anything that Barbara writes and I do NOT need a blurb. This book had such an interesting story with both guys that kept me engaged and routing for them. I could not wait for Tay’s book once we met him in Jonty. Tay is probably at the lowest he can be. He is recovering from being severely injured including a traumatic brain injury. He is in pain and alone. He has pushed his best friend away and moved away from his p I am going to say this again. I feel like I say it over and over but I will read anything that Barbara writes and I do NOT need a blurb. This book had such an interesting story with both guys that kept me engaged and routing for them. I could not wait for Tay’s book once we met him in Jonty. Tay is probably at the lowest he can be. He is recovering from being severely injured including a traumatic brain injury. He is in pain and alone. He has pushed his best friend away and moved away from his parents. Ink, let me just say I am still swooning over him. He is homeless and surviving. I knew from the minute we met him and Dog they were going to find their way into my heart. He is so sweet and caring but he is hiding and running away from something. His past gut wrenched me. I loved them, plain and simple. They were fun, supportive, protective of each other, and had awesome banter. I laughed, cried, and felt extreme anger. See, exactly what a book should do, make you feel all the feels. Run and get this book but if you haven’t read Jonty’s story first I recommend start there even though this one could be read as a stand-alone. I need more from all these guys as their stories are ones I will not forget.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gitte TotallyBookedBlog

    ‘I want to die. I want to live. But not like this.’ A Long Way Back by Barbara Elsborg is the story of Tay and Ink, Tay being Jonty’s best mate from The Making of Jonty Bloom, which we loved! This story can absolutely be read as a standalone, however, we strongly recommend reading this series in order as not only is it fabulous, but you also need to meet and fall in love with Jonty, like we did, and experience his and Tay’s friendship from the beginning. Barbara Elsborg is without question our - ‘I want to die. I want to live. But not like this.’ A Long Way Back by Barbara Elsborg is the story of Tay and Ink, Tay being Jonty’s best mate from The Making of Jonty Bloom, which we loved! This story can absolutely be read as a standalone, however, we strongly recommend reading this series in order as not only is it fabulous, but you also need to meet and fall in love with Jonty, like we did, and experience his and Tay’s friendship from the beginning. Barbara Elsborg is without question our -go-to Author- when we are in the mood for an MM romance, not only is she a magnificent and unique storyteller, her passion, vivid imagery, and the way she makes us truly feel every emotion, is second to none. A Long Way Back is a testament to this and once again she wowed us! To be able to weave humour into a devastating storyline and create characters with such depth that we feel a part of them, is utterly astounding. “There’s a lot I can’t tell you about me. The things I’ve not done are as important as the things I have. In a way, more important.” Tay has suffered tremendously after an accident nearly killed him. Living trapped in a coma unable to communicate with loved ones, he’s facing a long road of recovery and rehabilitation. Whilst he is lucky to be alive, he certainly doesn’t feel it. His mental health is at its lowest ebb and his heartbroken from missed chances. The only way out is to remove himself from what and who he loves by moving to London. He cuts a solitary and sad figure until he meets the indomitable, Ink. Whilst Tay has an incredibly sad story to tell, so does the Jonty like, Ink. On the surface, Ink comes across as spirited and stubborn with a sarcastic sense of humour and adorable silliness. However, Ink is hiding a heart-breaking truth from which he is running and has him watching over his shoulder. Tay and Ink are a right pair, and we couldn’t think of a more perfect relationship to overcome pain, grief, and devastation. Tangled up in their own stories the tragic and frightening situations they have to go through had us crying big fat tears! ‘Why not fall together? Take the risk. Just don’t open your heart because if you do, you’ll not only break yours, you’ll break his.’ We can sit here for hours and wax lyrical on why and how much we love Barbara Elsborg’s writing. She makes us laugh, she makes us cry and she has us completely compelled every single time we pick up a new book by her. When we say that there really isn’t many Authors like her for making us feel so emotionally invested in mm romance, it’s because of how much we love and stand by her work. When you pick up a Barbara Elsborg you know what you’re going to get, and you know it’ll be a guaranteed emotional and passionate ride with her trademark humour to lighten the pages. So, if you love this Author too you know you need to pick up this series. If you’ve never met her work this series is a good a place as any to start your love affair. ‘Happiness was being in each other’s arms. Happiness was a hand held, a kiss given, a smile shared, a joke told.’ Available to purchase below Amazon US Amazon UK Come and say hi, at: ✲ TotallyBookedBlog ✲ TBB on Facebook ✲ TBB on Instagram ✲ TBB on Twitter ✲ TBB on Pinterest

  18. 4 out of 5

    QuietlyKat

    A Long Way Back was 100% Barbara Elsborg doing what she does best from start to finish. No matter whether she’s writing drama, suspense, intrigue, mystery, fantasy, or comedy, no matter whether the themes are heavy and dark or light and fluffy, she injects humor and wit seamlessly and in a way that works even when humor seems counterintuitive for the genre or theme. This story was a perfect example of the gift she has of bringing light and laughter to even the grimmest of situations and stories A Long Way Back was 100% Barbara Elsborg doing what she does best from start to finish. No matter whether she’s writing drama, suspense, intrigue, mystery, fantasy, or comedy, no matter whether the themes are heavy and dark or light and fluffy, she injects humor and wit seamlessly and in a way that works even when humor seems counterintuitive for the genre or theme. This story was a perfect example of the gift she has of bringing light and laughter to even the grimmest of situations and stories and making the unbearable bearable. Straight out of the gate I was fully invested in this story. Granted, The Making of Jonty Bloom set the stage well so I was really looking forward to Tay’s story even before Jonty’s finished. A Long Way Back did not disappoint! Interestingly, the story of Tay and Ink’s relationship takes place over a fairly short period of time but didn’t feel insta to me at all. Tay and Ink connect in a deep way quickly but believably. And even though Ink has secrets, they each reveal their true character, warts and weaknesses as well as compassion and strengths right from the beginning so the story felt packed with character development despite the short timeline. Though I suppose, in truth, their individual histories and backstories contribute to the feeling of depth and dimension even if Ink’s story is revealed slowly. For me, A Long Way Back is a solid 4.5 star read. I was fully invested and intrigued and entertained from page one until the end. It gave me ALL the feels, joy, sorrow, anger, frustration, worry, anxiety, relief, laughter, pain. My heart is full. All that said, I did have a moment or two where I was slightly skeptical of a few developments and plot twists but they were minor enough that they didn’t negatively affect my overall enjoyment or my rating. Rearead May 2021 I enjoyed this just as much the second time around.

  19. 5 out of 5

    ML

    Beautiful story of triumph Tay and Ink’s story told in dual POV. Both of their pasts keep them apart but they are like magnets being pushed together. They cannot resist. This book is dramatic, angsty and gorgeous to read. I really love how this author spins a plot together. Ink’s backstory is beyond tragic and I think that’s what binds him to Tay. Tay understands grief and Ink needs understanding and love in his life. There are so many twists and turns to this story it reads like a mystery novel Beautiful story of triumph Tay and Ink’s story told in dual POV. Both of their pasts keep them apart but they are like magnets being pushed together. They cannot resist. This book is dramatic, angsty and gorgeous to read. I really love how this author spins a plot together. Ink’s backstory is beyond tragic and I think that’s what binds him to Tay. Tay understands grief and Ink needs understanding and love in his life. There are so many twists and turns to this story it reads like a mystery novel. I loved the intrigue. Also a treat, Jonty and Devan make a wonderful addition to this book! Loved that! The HEA was beautiful and made me so happy! This is how you write an epilogue 🥰🥰

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jenny - TotallybookedBlog

    ‘I want to die. I want to live. But not like this.’ A Long Way Back by Barbara Elsborg is the story of Tay and Ink, Tay being Jonty’s best mate from The Making of Jonty Bloom, which we loved! This story can absolutely be read as a standalone, however, we strongly recommend reading this series in order as not only is it fabulous, but you also need to meet and fall in love with Jonty, like we did, and experience his and Tay’s friendship from the beginning. Barbara Elsborg is without question our -g ‘I want to die. I want to live. But not like this.’ A Long Way Back by Barbara Elsborg is the story of Tay and Ink, Tay being Jonty’s best mate from The Making of Jonty Bloom, which we loved! This story can absolutely be read as a standalone, however, we strongly recommend reading this series in order as not only is it fabulous, but you also need to meet and fall in love with Jonty, like we did, and experience his and Tay’s friendship from the beginning. Barbara Elsborg is without question our -go-to Author- when we are in the mood for an MM romance, not only is she a magnificent and unique storyteller, her passion, vivid imagery, and the way she makes us truly feel every emotion, is second to none. A Long Way Back is a testament to this and once again she wowed us! To be able to weave humour into a devastating storyline and create characters with such depth that we feel a part of them, is utterly astounding. “There’s a lot I can’t tell you about me. The things I’ve not done are as important as the things I have. In a way, more important.” Tay has suffered tremendously after an accident nearly killed him. Living trapped in a coma unable to communicate with loved ones, he’s facing a long road of recovery and rehabilitation. Whilst he is lucky to be alive, he certainly doesn’t feel it. His mental health is at its lowest ebb and his heartbroken from missed chances. The only way out is to remove himself from what and who he loves by moving to London. He cuts a solitary and sad figure until he meets the indomitable, Ink. Whilst Tay has an incredibly sad story to tell, so does the Jonty like, Ink. On the surface, Ink comes across as spirited and stubborn with a sarcastic sense of humour and adorable silliness. However, Ink is hiding a heart-breaking truth from which he is running and has him watching over his shoulder. Tay and Ink are a right pair, and we couldn’t think of a more perfect relationship to overcome pain, grief, and devastation. Tangled up in their own stories the tragic and frightening situations they have to go through had us crying big fat tears! ‘Why not fall together? Take the risk. Just don’t open your heart because if you do, you’ll not only break yours, you’ll break his.’ We can sit here for hours and wax lyrical on why and how much we love Barbara Elsborg’s writing. She makes us laugh, she makes us cry and she has us completely compelled every single time we pick up a new book by her. When we say that there really isn’t many Authors like her for making us feel so emotionally invested in mm romance, it’s because of how much we love and stand by her work. When you pick up a Barbara Elsborg you know what you’re going to get, and you know it’ll be a guaranteed emotional and passionate ride with her trademark humour to lighten the pages. So, if you love this Author too you know you need to pick up this series. If you’ve never met her work this series is a good a place as any to start your love affair. ‘Happiness was being in each other’s arms. Happiness was a hand held, a kiss given, a smile shared, a joke told.’ Available to purchase below Amazon US Amazon UK Come and say hi, at: ✲ TotallyBookedBlog ✲ TBB on Facebook ✲ TBB on Instagram ✲ TBB on Twitter ✲ TBB on Pinterest

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sherry

    The Making of Jonty Bloom is one of my favorite romances published so far this year, and A Long Way Back comes close to matching it. Jonty is such a bright spark that he outshines Tay and Ink a bit, but that said, they are both compelling characters in their own right, as is their shared story. Readers who enjoy angsty hurt/comfort romances should be glued to the page by Tay’s struggle to rehabilitate from a horrific head injury while dealing with an addiction to codeine. Ink comes into his life The Making of Jonty Bloom is one of my favorite romances published so far this year, and A Long Way Back comes close to matching it. Jonty is such a bright spark that he outshines Tay and Ink a bit, but that said, they are both compelling characters in their own right, as is their shared story. Readers who enjoy angsty hurt/comfort romances should be glued to the page by Tay’s struggle to rehabilitate from a horrific head injury while dealing with an addiction to codeine. Ink comes into his life when Tay’s parents insist that he hire a live-in helper, and he’s very good for Tay. Ink has his own demons, though, and when Ink’s past comes to light, Tay realizes that his suffering pales in comparison to what Ink has experienced. Between the two of them, there’s a lot of hurting and a lot of comforting as they fall in love. The angst level is extremely high with this novel, to the point that it might be too much for some people. (It would be a good idea to pay attention to the potentially triggering elements mentioned in the book synopsis.) In the hands of a less talented writer, the story could slip over into melodrama. The use of humor to lighten the mood helps keep that from happening, though. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. Given the past of the character who will probably be the center of that story, there’s a lot more angst to come! This review is based on a complimentary advanced reader copy; all opinions are my own.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Airy

    First I did not enjoy the book so much. I really did love the first one and I was very upset with the way Tay treated one of the MCs of the previous book. But this story and the characters grew on me. So there are so many things happening and so many plottwists that I think about this book like one of those telenovelas where anything is possible and somehow plausible. I enjoyed reading this book .

  23. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    3.5 stars

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mercedes

    3.75 stars

  25. 5 out of 5

    ☆☆☆~Bev's World of Books~☆☆☆

    3.5 stars rounded up. Not my fave BE story to be honest. Quite a far-fetched storyline, even allowing for artistic license (view spoiler)[especially the Ruari part (hide spoiler)] , and 'Ink' had no-one at his back at a time when he was most vulnerable...I sincerely hope that doesn't really happen in RL, but I suppose it could 🙁. You never know who you're going to be saddled with as far as child protection services are concerned...a jobsworth or someone genuinely interested in your case. Same goe 3.5 stars rounded up. Not my fave BE story to be honest. Quite a far-fetched storyline, even allowing for artistic license (view spoiler)[especially the Ruari part (hide spoiler)] , and 'Ink' had no-one at his back at a time when he was most vulnerable...I sincerely hope that doesn't really happen in RL, but I suppose it could 🙁. You never know who you're going to be saddled with as far as child protection services are concerned...a jobsworth or someone genuinely interested in your case. Same goes for the police/prison service. Took me a long time to warm to Tay after he blamed Jonty for everything that had happened to him, but glad he finally saw sense. Ink I liked, and he deserved every happiness.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    4.5+ stars I was so intrigued by Tay's story after reading The Making of Jonty Bloom. He has lived through something horrible that was no fault of his own and is still struggling with the repercussions. We finally get his point of view about what happened. He is still recovering physically, depressed, angry, lonely, lost, and using poor coping mechanisms. Ink is a man just living day to day. He has been through something that caused complete destruction to his life and has no hope of a good futur 4.5+ stars I was so intrigued by Tay's story after reading The Making of Jonty Bloom. He has lived through something horrible that was no fault of his own and is still struggling with the repercussions. We finally get his point of view about what happened. He is still recovering physically, depressed, angry, lonely, lost, and using poor coping mechanisms. Ink is a man just living day to day. He has been through something that caused complete destruction to his life and has no hope of a good future or happiness. His demons never leave him and some keep chasing him, so he can never stay still for long. But brief contact with Tay ends up with him being his caregiver. And along the way, they begin to connect. Ink can see through Tay's issues and pushes him to do better and not take his life for granted. And Tay gives Ink something he wishes he could finally stay for. Two broken young men who have suffered so much and robbed of their lives and happiness. Secrets that threaten to come between them. The inkling of hope from a connection that neither expected. A fight to save each other and what they could have. This installment deals with darker subjects and a lot of past pain and current issues. But I felt that it was not handled in such a heavy-handed way that it was too depressing for the reader. I was invested in both Tay and Ink's journeys. Despite what they had been through there was an innocence and vulnerability to their relationship that touched my heart. And their snarky banter adds some humor. They both are survivors in a game that they never wanted to play but were thrust into anyway and had to deal with the consequences. I was rooting for them to overcome and find acceptance, true love, and redemption. It is angsty, emotional, tragic, inspiring, mysterious, and has a few surprises. It is a longish book and will admit at a few times it might have dragged a bit, but it might have just been me wanting to know all of Ink's secrets faster and to see if Tay and Jonty would find a resolution. But there were also bits that surprised and had me gripping my kindle harder. These two books intertwined really well and I am looking forward to more with Jonty's Christmas story. Yes there are much needed cameos eventually, and there is another side character that I would be interested in reading more about as well. Follow Me: Blog: Reviews by Tammy & Kim (Rachel and Jay) | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

  27. 5 out of 5

    Terri Jones

    I read this one because in part I knew Jonty would reappear in Tay's life. And he does, and it's lovely. But Tay's journey, and Ink's, turned out to be even more rewarding. I "knew" how things were probably going to work out. But it was entirely worth admiring how the author brought it to the page, so inventive and creepy, and too plausible. And I appreciated the direct link to the underlying causes. That was brilliant. The very end doesn't offer a whole lot. It's arguably average for romance ep I read this one because in part I knew Jonty would reappear in Tay's life. And he does, and it's lovely. But Tay's journey, and Ink's, turned out to be even more rewarding. I "knew" how things were probably going to work out. But it was entirely worth admiring how the author brought it to the page, so inventive and creepy, and too plausible. And I appreciated the direct link to the underlying causes. That was brilliant. The very end doesn't offer a whole lot. It's arguably average for romance epilogues. But by then I hardly minded. Whew.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shelby

    I always forgot how ridiculously OTT Barbara Elsborg's plots can get. If you ignore the fact that Tay goes from heavily relying his wheelchair to using just one crutch, goes thru withdrawal and overcomes his addiction, gets over his fear of touch, and falls in love all in less than a week... and Ink recovers from two stab wounds in seemingly less time, it's a pretty good read. I do wish, since Tay's parents were going on a cruise for a few months that everything hadn't been rushed into the span o I always forgot how ridiculously OTT Barbara Elsborg's plots can get. If you ignore the fact that Tay goes from heavily relying his wheelchair to using just one crutch, goes thru withdrawal and overcomes his addiction, gets over his fear of touch, and falls in love all in less than a week... and Ink recovers from two stab wounds in seemingly less time, it's a pretty good read. I do wish, since Tay's parents were going on a cruise for a few months that everything hadn't been rushed into the span of a week. The whole Ru thing was a bit much. (view spoiler)[I also don't understand exactly why he would have tried to run away so often in the early days if he believed his father killed his mother and himself and that his brother died of an illness (his cousin, too) and that is why he was in the care of his uncle. I get that he was only 8, but if he so readily accepted those things as the truth, it feels like a bit of a head scratcher. He also seemed remarkable well adjusted for a kidnapped recluse who's only been in society for 2 months after 12 years of essentially being captive. (hide spoiler)] I hated the epilogue, but I typically do, and always Barbara Elsborg's epilogues.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mickie Ashling

    4.5 stars rounded up to 5. I didn't expect this to best The Making of Jonty Bloom but I was pleasantly surprised. The characters and pacing were different, of course, but the guts of the story is pure Elsborg-- passionate, gut-wrenching, heartwarming, and with a good dash of humor. Recommended. 4.5 stars rounded up to 5. I didn't expect this to best The Making of Jonty Bloom but I was pleasantly surprised. The characters and pacing were different, of course, but the guts of the story is pure Elsborg-- passionate, gut-wrenching, heartwarming, and with a good dash of humor. Recommended.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Silkeeeeeereads

    Excellent I so love characters. They make a book for me. These two were wonderful characters. The storyline was touching and brought tears to my eyes. I’m hoping the author’s next book is Ru’s. Highly Recommended!

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