Resilient Love: Unquiet by Melanie Hansen

​Title : Unquiet                         Word Count: 103,129

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance
Blurb: Loren Smith has been in love with Eliot Devlin almost his entire life. During their turbulent childhood and teen years, Loren didn’t always understand Eliot, and sometimes he could be a challenge, but Eliot was the only one to ever truly ease Loren’s deep loneliness and accept him. When Eliot’s increasingly erratic and self-destructive behavior culminates in a suicide attempt at seventeen, Loren is devastated.

Upon meeting again by chance nine years later, Loren is enjoying a successful career as a police officer while Eliot’s life has been a constant struggle for stability. In and out of mental hospitals, with a rap sheet a mile long, he continues to be buffeted by the twin storms of mania and depression. Loren’s love and protectiveness for Eliot are deeply ingrained in him, however, and their feelings for each other are quickly rekindled.

Loren has issues of his own he’s dealing with, and trying to understand and cope with Eliot’s bipolar disorder isn’t easy. They believe they’re meant to be, and Eliot brings a fulfillment to Loren’s life that no one else will ever match. But as they both come to realize, love by itself can’t cure all.
My Review: This is one of the most heartbreaking romances I’ve read in a long time. It was my first from this author and it definitely will not be my last. It was very well written and quite informative about a very sensitive subject, Mental Illness. From the very first moment Loren and Eliot meets at the age of 6, they’ve been inseparable.  According to Loren, Eliot is the one that took away his loneliness. Loren was a bit of a loner when he was a kid since he was chubby. Eliot always seemed very hyper always jumping from one subject to the next. They were both latch key kids and they often spent their time at each others house. Eliot was always there to support Loren as they were growing up. Loren was always there to hold Eliot and listen to him even when he acted weird. 

It was during their teenage years that they both became more than friends as they came out to each other. They professed their love for each other and talked about  their futures together. Throughout this all, Loren noticed that Eliot was acting more and more strange day by day. He suggested that Eliot get some help when he realized how depressed he was getting. Before he knew it Eliot seemed to be back to his normal self. 

One day at school Loren goes looking for Eliot and finds him on his knees pleasuring one of the football jocks. Loren is devastated and confronts Eliot with his accusations.  When Eliot tries to brush it off  Loren gets really upset and says some really hurtful things to Eliot and walks away. If isn’t until the next day that Loren finds out that Eliot attempted suicide and failed. After this their lives move in different directions without them speaking again.

It isn’t until 9 yrs later that Loren and Eliot meet up again. Loren is now an  undercover cop meeting an informant in a gay strip club when he sees ‘Angel’  dancing on stage and recognized him as none other than Eliot. Eliot doesn’t even seem to know who he is after giving him a lap dance. Loren is horrified to see Eliot in this way and decides to use his resources to get in touch with Eliot’s mother to get some answers.  The answers are definitely not what Loren expects. Eliot has since been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 1 where he goes between manic episodes and depression. Eliot’s mom Rebecca has all but given up on him, she  is all burnt out and doesn’t know how to help him anymore. Eliot drinks way too much and does drugs in order to keep the demons away, but it’s obviously not working. Loren feels so much guilt and wants to try to help the boy he once loved.

When Loren knocks on Eliot’s door for the first time after so much time has passed, Eliot thinks he is in a dream.  They come together like they’ve never been apart.  Loren asks Eliot to date him, but he soon realizes that El is even more sick than he was before. It isn’t long before he truly sees what El looks like during a manic episode and it’s definitely not pretty. El is almost thrown in jail and has racked up quite a few charges. They are able to get him into a mental institution after his mother pays a hefty fee. Loren stands by El supporting him the whole way and El gets a little more stable and does his 3 mths. stint successfully.  

El and Loren realize that sticking to a regimen will definitely aid in El’s recovery. El tries to stay on the straight and narrow path and he does well , but it’s not long before he becomes manic again. All of his worries over Loren’s dangerous job as a cop culminates into him having a severe break with reality. This time his manic episodes affect Loren’s professional life when  El outs him at work and causes him embarrassment. This takes a little bit longer to get  over for Loren but  he finally acknowledges in the end that he has to change his thought process about El’s illness. Loren comes to the realization that El’s illness can’t fit into the expectations and dreams that he always had for his future.  He decides to change his dreams to be all encompassing by taking joy from Eliot being a part of his life. This was definitely not the last time that Eliot would hurt Loren.

Three years into their future, El once again tries to  commit suicide and almost succeeds. Loren becomes very bitter and it almost cost them their relationship,  but somehow they persevered. I can only imagine how exhausting it must be to love someone with a mental illness, but what comes through in Loren and Eliot’s journey is unconditional love.  I really enjoyed these characters despite all the adversities that they will face, most of which will be beyond their control. They make me want to believe in a love that is resilient,  one that will stand against the tests of time. I give this my ratings of 4- the sexual chemistry was definitely amazing between these two, but I fell in love with them because of their all encompassing resilient love story.