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Imaginist and purveyor of tall tales Adam Fitzroy is a UK resident who has been successfully spinning male-male romances either part-time or full-time since the 1980s, and has a particular interest in examining the conflicting demands of love and duty.
on Dec. 24, 2013 :
I really like the main characters, some wonderful secondary characters, and all the theater references. A nice LONG book, covering about nine years, with a lot of quiet angst but an eventual excellent finish.
Poor Jon sometimes acts as if he's in his dotage--he's seen it all, done it all, and he is now content to live a calm life making his way as a working actor. When Callum comes along and shakes up his well-ordered life by actually returning Jon's barely realized affection, they begin a secret affair. The book begins in 1996, as the reasons for their secrecy make sense for that time period, but would be less believable today.
My heart ached for the two men, who were so happy when they could be together, but who had to hide everything when others were around. I just wanted to hug Jon, who was always so worried that things would not work out. He was so sure that there could never be any great romance in his life, and he hid his true feelings so well that it was no wonder Callum couldn't really tell how important he was to Jon.
There are many wonderful secondary characters as well. Jon's actress friend Izzy was such an important friend who was also trying to figure out her place in the world. I really liked Jon's daughter Justine, especially once she got old enough to be interesting. Her acceptance of Jon and Callum's relationship at the end was very satisfying, but also highlighted that Jon might have been right to do whatever he could to stay a positive influence in her life as she was growing up.
I also enjoyed many of the theater references, quotations, and the backstage happenings as the book progressed. My friends and I often include movie quotes, TV jingles, and bad jokes in our conversations, so it felt very realistic that the performers would all incorporate pieces of their stage lives into their real lives. It made them seem like people I'd enjoy knowing--or at least most of them anyway.
But in the end, the book is mostly a love story. It's a story that takes a while to get all the characters to their proper places, but the ending made me breathe a very contented sigh. I really enjoyed it.
(reviewed long after purchase)