The First Hello is a lovely romantic story about two men who have loved each other over countless lifetimes. The blurb explains exactly what happens in the story. Shawn is trying to sell a house he has inherited but he's struggling with what he thinks are psychotic episodes. They've been happening for months and in them he sees visions of lives he knows he hasn't lived and a man who is faceless in all of them. When a potential buyer for the house shows up, this man, Raleigh, tells Shawn he isn't crazy. He explains they've been reincarnated and they come together again and again over the years.
The author has a unique storytelling style and at first I found Shawn's flashbacks a little confusing. Once I figured this out and got in to the rhythm of it though I enjoyed this story. It was touching and romantic and one of those stories that warms your heart.
Shawn Tillerman thinks he’s losing his mind. Wary and damaged after a hard life filled with broken promises, he's been having dissociative episodes for the past few months. Flashes of different lives he didn’t live. Walking in the footsteps of men he knows he never was. In these waking dreams, he’s always with a lover, but he can't see the man’s face and doesn’t know his name. Though the episodes are becoming more frequent, he hasn’t told anyone what's happening to him. He’s too busy taking care of his twin sister and keeping her away from Oxy. If he can sell the house he’s inherited from a distant relative, he'll finally have enough money to put her in a good rehab center. He can turn their lives around.
Or not. Because Raleigh, the compelling stranger who wants to buy their house, swears that Shawn isn’t experiencing psychotic episodes, but is reliving memories. That he and Shawn have come together in life after life and time after time. That he is the man from Shawn's dreams, and has been searching everywhere for him. Even if Shawn remembers nothing, Raleigh remembers it all, and he isn’t going to give up now.
Shawn doesn’t believe Raleigh--but he’s beginning to wish he could. What if it is true, after all? What if saying goodbye to all he thought he was sure of is only the first part of hello?