Another point that you need to consider, and be patient for the good part to start, is that, if you are searching for a gay romance, at first this book didn’t seem to belong to that category; for a good half of the story, it was more a father (gay) and son (straight) relationship than anything else. That is probably the other strong point of this novel: it’s actually two story in one, first Robert, the gay father, will have to try and find a way to communicate, and having a relationship, with his son Alex, and only after that he would be able to consider, or re-consider, his relationship with Mitchell.
At the beginning of this story, everything crashed around Robert: his relationship with his mother, the only relative still talking to him after his own conservative son, Alex, disowned Robert since he was not in line with his political career expectations; and his relationship with Mitchell, the lover who patiently waited for years for Robert to understand that they needed to have a life and that finally was at the end of the rope.
At this point Robert does something that is quite against his ordinary behaviour: Robert indeed is a very strong man, the dominant in the relationship with Mitchell, the caretaker of his own family (his mother, his son), but also him, like Mitchell, was probably at the end of his own rope. The desperate act is not a cry of help, but that is the consequences, and Alex will have to finally realize that Robert is not only his father, he is also a man who wants, and needs, to have a life. With a quite clever turning point in the story, the author let Alex sees a different side of his own father, a side that Robert had to repress when he became the man of the family at only 15 years old. In doing so, Alex in a way becomes the father, the caretaker, and Robert the one who needs care.
This shifting in roles completely turn back in the second part of the story, when the focus shifts from Alex and Robert to Robert and Mitchell; also Mitchell, in the first part of the story, had the chance to show his “strong” side, while Robert was a little more subdued than his ordinary behaviour, but in part two, Robert completely comes back to his old own, and so does Mitchell.
That is what I liked most, the inter-relationships in the story, Alex-Robert, Robert-Mitchell, but also among the supporting characters, like Alex’s wife and Robert’s doctor, among the other. What sometime I found a little too much (but this is also the point that probably would appeal to the very romantic reader) is that sometime the story was a bit too much sugary, and that the resolution of the internal conflict between the characters were too simple; this was counterparted with a quite heavy and dramatic outside negative opposition, the environment in which Robert and Mitchell are living is not exactly gay-friendly and they suffer a lot due to that.
Amazon: Darkness Descending
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (June 19, 2007)