Free ebook as part of the Dreamspinner’s OctoberGanza TweetAway promotion
Dreamspinner Press has had the most AMAZING month, and I’ve gotten so many books in their OctoberGanza TweetAway on twitter that I may not have picked up otherwise. This book was one of them. I’d never even heard of it, but for free? Sure, I’ll try it. The synopsis on their site sounded great, so I was excited to break it out and get started.
This story starts out very promising. Shane is a new college graduate who hails from Texas and decides to embark on a one-year French adventure before settling into a PhD program back home. That’s not to say it’s all fun and games; he has a job working in a research lab in Grenoble, France. He’s finally decided to break out of the shell of his conservative, religious upbringing and embrace his homosexuality as part of this adventure as well. This isn’t quite as easy as he thinks it will be, and I perceived a lot of conflict between what Shane wanted and what he did. He repeatedly states he’s going to live his life as a gay man with all that entails, but he’s reluctant to do so because of his religious beliefs and conservative values.
Where this story went wrong for me is that Shane can’t seem to make a decision for himself. He develops a support network in France – no small feat – and man does he give it a workout. His journey is told through entries in his personal journal, and his thoughts are often contrary. He’s mixed up and when he is, he decides to consult the leaders of a religious group for LGBT individuals. This would have been fine once or twice for major things, but he wanted to discuss EVERYTHING with them. Questioning urges and how to interpret feelings was believable to me, but it was almost like he was asking for their permission or blessing to do things as innocent as kissing which made him a little weak in my eyes. He tended to make even the smallest issue and decision seem like it was life altering, and after a while that was tiring.
I was also frustrated with how long it took for Shane to clue in to the big picture. He has a few relationships as he’s finding his way, and they have typical ups and downs. However I could see from not even 1/4 into the book that what he needed was right in front of him, yet it took him until about 2/3 into the story to figure it out. I’m not saying this isn’t realistic, just that it was not for me.
All in all it is a sweet story, and it’s a good option for anyone who enjoys m/m without the more graphic content. There’s some mention of male sexual practices, but they’re in retrospect rather than in the moment. I was happy to finally see a guy with some standards and values as well, since you frequently have at least one guy who’s very free with his favors. The beautiful scenic French countryside and historic sites described throughout his journey are a definite bonus.
RATING: MARY JANES