Book Review: The River Leith by Leta Blake

The River Leith by Leta BlakeTitle: The River Leith
Author: Leta Blake
Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: NetGalley
Published: May 15, 2014 by Romance Beckons

After an injury in the ring, amateur boxer Leith Wenz wakes to discover his most recent memories are three years out of date. Unmoored and struggling to face his new reality, Leith must cope anew with painful revelations about his family. His brother is there to support him, but it’s the unfamiliar face of Zach, a man introduced as his best friend, that provides the calm he craves. Until Zach’s presence begins to stir up feelings Leith can’t explain.

For Zach, being forgotten by his lover is excruciating. He carefully hides the truth from Leith to protect them both from additional pain. His bottled-up turmoil finds release through vlogging, where he confesses his fears and grief to the faceless Internet. But after Leith begins to open up to him, Zach's choices may come back to haunt him.

Ultimately, Leith must ask his heart the questions memory can no longer answer.

Reviewed By: J9

In a Nutshell: A sexy and heartfelt romance with stellar characters and unique romantic tension. I enjoyed this so much that I can overlook the  plot forcing the reconciliation instead of the characters coming to their emotional denouement themselves.

The Set Up: Leith lost his memories in a boxing accident and he’s coming to turns with losing the last three years of his life, including the memories of Zach, who is introduced as Leith’s best friend. Zach holds on to the secret that he and Leith were lovers but his turmoil has to come out somewhere and it’s on his vlog. Will Leith and Zach ever have a relationship with the people they’ve become?

Why I Read This Book: Lovely cover and attention grabbing synopsis.

What I Liked: I loved these characters. Leith and Zach’s emotions, thoughts and motivations were believable and combined to make well-rounded characters that I really cared about. Leith’s anger at his memory loss and Zach’s crippling sorrow at the loss of Leith as his boyfriend are compelling. I’m normally very skeptical of amnesia plots in romance as it seems so contrived but the emotional connection between Leith and Zach is so tangible that it worked for me. A great example is when Zach visits Leith in the hospital for movie night—pure romance gold!

What I Also Liked: This story isn’t all gilded romance, there is a realism to it. Leith has therapy in the rehab hospital that I loved, both because it shows us who this new Leith is and because it shows the challenges he’ll face. How the amnesia unfolds also seems realistic, as Leith feels the pressure of others wanting an emotional connection to him that he just doesn’t have.

I suspect some readers will have issue with some of Zach’s actions but I certainly didn’t. What he did fit with his character, and his desire to feel something other than acute pain with first Leith’s injury and then with Leith’s memory loss. This won’t make romance purists happy but I almost wish the author took it farther and made Zach refuse to apologize for his actions. Still, this realism added excellent flavor to this HEA romance.

What I Didn’t Like: I’m not a fan of books that use plot to reconcile the leads instead of having the characters come to it on their own.

The following may be considered a SPOILER so click the button and proceed reading at YOUR OWN RISK. And don't say I didn't warn you ;)

As it was I felt the emotional denouement between Leith and Zach was a tad manufactured. Still, the book was so enjoyable I only knocked a half-frog off instead of a full frog like I normally would have.

IMO: I will absolutely look for more books by this author since I enjoyed this well told one so much.

J9’s Rating:
4 Frogs

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About J9: Vegan. Avid runner. Android addict. Never without a book in hand. Currently devouring MM romance but reads historial romance and paranormal romance as well. Follow J9 on Twitter.


  1. I see you and I enjoyed the same elements of this book. The emotional constructs of Leith and Zach were so authentic. Nice review.

  2. This sounds like a great read. Fab review.

  3. I'm going to go get this one now.


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