elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Best Gay Contemporary Romance (1° place): Breathe by Sloan Parker

Also Best Plot Development (1° place), Best Characters Development (1° place), Best Writing Style (3° place), Best Gay Novel (1° place)

Breathe is not a “pretty” romance, on the contrary, for being a contemporary setting, it’s quite dark, almost gothic, with some oppressive feelings supported not only by the story, but even by the setting, it seemed like there was always a cloudy day or a dark night, like the sun was never able to break through.

Jay’s wife died in a stupid accident; it was not Lincoln’s fault, who was driven the other vehicle, and neither that of Jay, who allowed his wife to be out at night for nothing really important. Sure Lincoln was worried for his sister, and he was driving towards her home, and maybe he was distracted, but for sure he didn’t want to kill a young woman and he paid for it; not only with money, but also with his own life: 6 months in jail were not enough for him and he decided to destroy what remained of his life, breaking with the man he loved, and loved him back. One year after the accident, Lincoln is still punishing himself, avoiding like hell to try to have a better life, only surviving that little enough that was necessary to help his sister and her little kids.

On the other side Jay is doing pretty much the same: he dropped from college, he is drinking too much and he is denying who he really is and what he really wants. Jay was pretty much always aware that he liked men, and being Katie, his wife, his best friend since they were 7, she did know too. And she approved. I think she knew Jay loved her and there was nothing wrong in allowing him his fantasies, since they were only that, fantasies. Maybe in time, they would have acted on those fantasies, maybe they would have reconsidered their relationship, but for now they were barely 21 years old and with still the world in front of them. Katie was not expecting to leave his husband so soon, and Jay was not expecting to be faced with his hidden desires so soon after the marriage.

But now Jay is alone, and he meets Lincoln in a pub. At first they don’t know who the other is, allowing them only to recognize each other loneliness. When they discover the truth it’s too late to deny those other feelings, and Jay is too eager to know more about his desires and himself. In this Jay really proves his young age; he is like a kid with a new, dangerous toy, despite the warnings he is not able to let it go.

I don’t know but I think that Lincoln, unconsciously, was paying his debt to Jay letting him play with him and his life; even in their first sexual encounters, with Lincoln mostly playing the submissive role, I saw like an attempt of Lincoln to give something back to Jay, something that for sure was not enough to compensate the loss of his wife, but at least was something more tangible of the money that Jay didn’t want to touch. Sure that impression was only at the beginning and their relationship moved on from that, but still, it niggled me like that.

The story was good and the characters quite complex, maybe I had only 1 complaint, everyone seemed so nice, even the villain in the end was a good person. But it’s really a minor complaint and I appreciated how the author chose to make her characters not hero material but more faulted men, like I liked how she decided not to downplay Jay and Katie’s relationship, it was a good marriage, sure they were working on it, finding their balance, but they were still so young, I bet they would have a chance if life didn’t decide differently.


Amazon Kindle: Breathe
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (November 16, 2010)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
Tags: author: sloan parker, genre: contemporary, length: novel, rainbow awards 2011, review

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