Sunday, September 24, 2017

Book Review: 'Grace Notes' by Jerry Cole

From his website we learn a bit more about this solid author Jerry Cole, a gay author who lives in California and has been writing fiction since he was a child. As a young adult, he worked as a freelance writer in the evenings and on weekends. In the summer of 2015 he published his first gay romance short story on Amazon. Overwhelmed by the positive response he decided to quit his “day job” and took up writing gay romance full time. When he’s not writing steamy M/M romance he enjoys globetrotting, watching movies with family and friends, working out, & being dragged down the road by his two Great Danes.

Jerry excels at including contemporary life situations in his stories, one of the many reasons he has caught on with the young set. He understands the background of the lives of his characters so that by the time the romance hits, we have a solid idea of the personality, conflicts, and needs each character owns.

How often are characters defined so well in the first page of a book as this? – It was only six in the evening. Plenty of commuters would have been caught in the storm, and Gil didn’t envy them, out on the highway, wondering glumly whether they would freeze to death before the state patrols could dig them out. Most people were, of course, prepared for the crippling Minnesota weather and only those from out of town would be foolish enough to venture outside past October without extra blankets, shovels, water and food stashed away in the trunk. But even with all the best weather warnings in the world, there were fatalities every winter. Gil was only too aware of that: the Minnesota weather had left him orphaned.’ And imagine where this quiet start will lead…

But on to the interesting story – ‘Gil DuPont likes life exactly the way it is. It might not be full of friends, love, and laughter, but he gave up on believing life would ever hold much of that for him anyway. A confirmed loner, and bachelor by default, his routine is important and rarely interrupted. All that changes when he receives an unexpected visit from Child Protection Services one freezing Minnesota night. Originally believing they’re there to deliver bad news, he prepares himself for details of his estranged sister’s death. However, once he finds out that they have a different problem for him, he realizes his life is about to take an unexpected turn. His sister, Marguerite, six years older than him and somewhat of a phantom throughout his life, has been taken into the hospital due to her problems with alcohol. Her illness has left in its wake someone Gil discovers is suddenly completely reliant on him: a little girl of eight. Gil had no idea he was even an uncle, but soon understands that he’s required to step up and take responsibility for Roxy. As they settle down into a brand new routine, one where Gil is a care provider and new parent, he discovers that the joys of life can be found in the smallest things, not least of all his niece’s warm heart and childish innocence. What Gil certainly doesn’t expect, however, is for the dark and handsome Micah to come as an extra into the arrangement. A social worker who has made it his life’s work to ensure children are given the best possible chance despite somewhat difficult beginnings, he takes an interest in Gil and Roxy’s situation, and even Gil himself. Loving Roxy comes easily to Gil, but allowing himself to be loved by Micah? That may be pushing things a little too far. But he’s about to learn that it’s not just his niece who’s been offered a second chance at happiness.’

Jerry knows how to leave the reader satisfied on all levels. It is another winner. Grady Harp, July 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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