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Fiona Glass

REVIEW: I Do, Anthology

REVIEW: I Do, Anthology

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

13684I think I’ve mentioned before that anthologies usually make me twitch. I know I’m usually looking at a few great stories, some good ones, a few ‘meh’ ones and a couple that make me shudder. Depending on how many are in the collection. It’s rare that I read an entire anthology. It’s even rarer when every one of the entries is good. Congratulations.

I won’t discuss every story – for that I’ll say people should check out Elisa Rolle’s review – but I will talk about why I like them. Because the writing is good, the characters are people I could walk down the street and see at any street corner. Okay, maybe not the historical molly house party goers, the men in the French Foreign Legion or the Prince from the fairy tale but most of the rest are just ordinary people, living their lives, trying to do what we all attempt in life.

Some have found that special someone and have relationships that have lasted for years or mere days. Others are still searching. Some have experienced loss, either through death, divorce or social pressure. They’re having problems with their families, their jobs, the movers, the studio execs and their fans, the cops, their students, and their exes.

Some have been rejected by those who should be closest to them. Others have found acceptance when they never expected it. They are fathers and mothers, they are younger and older, they are black and white, they are everyone.

You tell their stories in first person, in alternate POVs, in third person and third person present tense. The stories are mainly contemporaries though I really enjoyed the two historicals and the opening fairy tale. Some stories are funny, some sad, some bittersweet, some violent.

But I finished each story, whether it was long or short, feeling that I’d just gotten a vivid glimpse into someone else’s life. And I found myself pulling for all of them to be able just to live an ordinary life, like everyone else, with no fingers pointed, no judgments made, no fanfare or hoopla. Just to be accepted. Maybe one day. Good job, one and all. B+


This book can be purchased in ebook format from AllRomanceEbooks and other etailers.

REVIEW:  Roses in December by Fiona Glass

REVIEW: Roses in December by Fiona Glass

Dear Ms. Glass,

RosesInDecemberI started reading this book out of curiosity and couldn’t put it down. I wasn’t expecting much. I’ve purchased a few gay “romances” and most let me down in one of two ways. Either they’re erotica that has left romance and character out for the most part, or they’re just not written that well. This book, on the other hand, is all about characters and romance, and you write very well.

The flow and pacing of your book just pulled me through it. It was so smooth I didn’t notice pages slipping by. I loved your dialogue too. You seem to have a gift for that. The internal monologues of your hero and his talks with the others in the hospital were completely natural. His point of view said loads about his character without you have to say more.

The language of the story is very British and very authentic (probably because you are authentically British?). It might confuse some American readers a little, but those familiar with any British literature should understand it quite well. Besides, as the story is told from the point of view of the hero it only added to his character.

The story itself reminded me of gothic romances, or the best ghost stories, ones told by someone who understands understatement. The little hints throughout the book added to the otherworldliness, and the questions I had kept mounting, even though I thought I was beginning to grasp what was going on. But the time I hit the last section I was flying through it to get to the end.

A word about the story for those who might be curious… Nat Brook is sergeant in the British army whose leg was destroyed in an IRA bombing, and he’s experiencing some realistically told mental problems as a result as well. He’s been sent from hospital to hospital until he finally arrives at Partington Towers, an old country estate that has seen better days and has been converted into a VA hospital. It’s not that pleasant a place though, not quite creepy, but uncomfortable. Nat feels out of place, and alone, and not only because of the setting. To remain in the army he needs to keep his sexuality a secret, and that’s becoming increasingly difficult to do. He starts spending time away from the people there, in the gardens, and he finds they hold much more than expected. They’re described with lush detail, and you make them almost another character, with their fickleness and mystery.

Romance comes in the form of a mischievous young man that Nat meets one day wandering the gardens. The man, Richie, is entrancing, not just to Nat but the reader, charming us in every scene he appears in. His appearance is rare which brings it into even sharper contrast with the drabness and depression Nat is experiencing elsewhere.

The rarity of their encounters might bother some readers though who prefer the romantic leads have more time together. Richie feels more like a secondary character, though an important one. And to be honest, I didn’t find their sex scenes to be erotic, more just a couple of blokes having sex. But erotic is really in the eye of the beholder, so many may not agree with me. But thank God the sex was not the Tab A into Slot B set pieces in standard erotica that I normally skim or skip altogether. It was sex, told simply and well, and readable as such.

The other thing I loved a little less was the way the ending was handled. Or maybe not. I keep going back and forth about this one. When I read it I blinked at the speed with which it was finished. By the time I got down to the last chapter, I had an inkling of how it might end, and was surprised at how very much you fit in there. And while the last few lines were lovely, part of me just wanted a little more. But I also like the rhythm of the section that led to that final point, and the fact that it feels *right*. To be honest I’m not sure which I’d prefer, to have my cake and eat it too it seems. But I’d invested so much in the characters that for once I wanted an epilogue. I know some readers would definitely want a little something extra there.

But overall I liked this story so much. It’s not for everyone, not because the heroes are gay, though that won’t appeal to some, but because it’s not action packed and there’s not a lot of talking and the heroes don’t spend a whole lot of time together. But anyone who wants a book that draws them into another world and keeps them there for the duration, this is it. A-.