Reviewed by Ulysses Dietz
Member of The Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
I had the chance to read both Settle Down and to re-read The Troll Whisperer, the book for which it is the sequel. That was published five years ago, and I liked it, so it was great to reacquaint myself with the set-up for Noel Henderson and Oscar Lozada’s story.
The striking thing about Settle Down is that it’s really Noah’s story, while The Troll Whisperer was Oscar’s. Oscar was an angry man, trolling the internet to find validation that made up for the complete lack of self-worth he felt. In that book, Noah is the magical being, having walked away from his life as a Jehovah’s Witness, who saves Oscar’s heart and soul. What the first book didn’t do was deal with Noah’s loss, the damage Noah’s past has caused him. Come to think of it, Noah seems weirdly solid in the first book. Well, that’s all taken care of in Settle Down.
The story begins five years into Noah’s career as a nurse, with the birth of their daughter, Bette. The author really sets up the new book well, giving us the backstory almost to the point of being a stand-alone; but, honestly, it is a richer experience having read the first book. Here, Oscar is the rock, having benefited hugely from Noah’s love and encouragement. Oscar’s family, his best friend Jeremy, and Jeremy’s family are all there for backup, and Trevor makes this an ensemble cast, where everybody matters to the plot and the emotional potency of the story arc.
Finally, faced with a potential tragedy, Noah’s family enters the picture, and everything this young man has bottled up and ignored since he left home comes barreling to the front of the stage. Finally, Noah must face his truth, and this time it is Oscar who has to heal the damage.
Settle Down is an unexpectedly powerful and emotional book, surprising and gratifying by turns. If you didn’t catch The Troll Whisperer five years ago, I recommend you get it and read them together as I did.