A wonderfully written, but quite melancholy romance.Derek has not exactly an ideal childhood : his mother has a miscarriage and a nervous breakdown, from which she doesn't recover for a long tim; his father is distant and not much interested in him; he stutters and his painful shyness add to his realisation of his sexuality and and he is a shy and reserved person, withdrawn and silent.This is more his story, than a mere romance. The story of his family (his biological and the Lunds, neighbours in his childhood, his "chosen" family) and the realisation of himself. Derek as a child falls in love with Nicolai Lund, the wild son, brother of his best friend. Much later when he is engaged to a very dominant, controlling man, and going through a tough personal time his Aunt Frannie, the most important person and only real mother he knew is slowly dying of cancer he meets the Lunds again. His whole house of cards tumbles around him and he has to come out of his cocoon.I liked the writing a lot, I liked the poetry and the characterizations here.What I was missing, was humor. It was a good story and a good book, but as I said in the beginning, quite melancholy in the tone - though it is a romance novel.