Author: D. C. Williams
Length: Novel (184 pages)
Publisher: MLR Press (January 12th, 2014)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥ 3 Hearts
Blurb: A chance encounter with a college acquaintance leaves Paul Willauer questioning everything, from who he is to what he wants from life.
New attorney, Paul Willauer stops into a local bar for a bite to eat after work and runs into an old college acquaintance, Quinn Fitzpatrick. Paul thinks an encounter with Quinn will satisfy his curiosity about being with another man, but instead he finds himself questioning everything he’d thought about who he was and what he wanted. When an episode of violence threatens to shatter the fragile love that has grown between Paul and Quinn, will Paul walk away or choose to stay?
Purchase Link: http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=DCWPRICE
Review: This story is Paul’s story as he navigates his sexuality and how it will impact all areas of his life. Closeted Paul meets his college friend Quinn and the fireworks begin. They move from casual friends with benefits relationship to being boyfriends. Paul continues to question his sexuality while feeling emotionally drawn to Quinn, however, he cannot commit publicly to Quinn and so he compromises with Quinn on the standards of their relationship. Paul feels that to hurt his family is not a good enough option if he’s not really, certain what he himself really wants.
By the time Paul recognizes that he wants Quinn, their relationship is dealt a serious blow and Paul must determine how he will handle this situation since it will affect the declaration of his sexuality, his relationship with his family, his relationship with Quinn, and his career. The story navigates all these various paths, which Paul must explore until Paul has come to terms with all these areas of his life. The story starts out with Paul needing Quinn to help him find the compass of his reality, and then does a quick reversal into Paul becoming Quinn’s anchor – which is how Paul is able to come into his own as a man and as the guiding character in the story.
The relationship that Paul has with his family is very interesting and is vastly different from what one often sees in m/m books, which is usually either disdain, disgust or full acceptance. Paul’s relationship with his parents is one, which is not accepting due to their Christian principles, but is not one, which allows them to disown their son. The relationship with his parents makes Paul’s reticence very easy to understand and shed light into much of Paul’s character.
The entire premise of the story is excellent, especially as seen from Paul’s perspective; but the passive, reporting style of writing takes some of the punch out of how visceral the story could have been. The style has the reader sitting on the outside and observing how Paul reports on the actions of his life rather than the reader being allowed to take a ringside seat and go along the ride with Paul. This could well have been the author’s aim so it’s not a criticism, merely an observation.
Paul’s journey to himself is a good read and the last quarter of the book, the reader really begins to appreciate and like Paul more and more for the man he becomes. As it is his story, it is one well worth reading and enjoying.