I was a little taken aback from this note from the author right at the beginning of the novel: “This is set in a world where everyone is treated the same regardless of sexual orientation-- like it should be”; so, I thought, this is an alternative reality? I’m not reading an Army contemporary romance? I was not sure if that was a good or bad thing. But actually this is a contemporary romance, and the two men involved in the romance (plus two other friends, soldiers as well) have to face discrimination and prejudices, but what I think the author was implying is that, the obstacles are from the society of men, not the society of law. Let me explain: being gay is not a crime (as it should be…), there is no law forbidding Ryan and Phillip to be in love, there is no law forbidding them to marry if they want, or to separate them in an hospital (if not the ordinary rule that only family is allowed). But Ryan has to face discrimination, he is a preacher’s son who is disowned by his family when he comes out to them, and he has to join the Army to complete his college education. Phillip is a gay man who married right out of high school, probably since that is what was expected by him. But what makes this an “alternative reality” sort of romance is that, once they are able to overcome the emotional issues these past experiences left them, there is no other obstacle to their happiness. Unfortunately, this is an alternative reality since, until same sex marriage will not be legal for everyone in every US state, the likes of Ryan and Phillip will have plenty of outside obstacles to their happiness, especially if they are in a situation where one of them needs the other beside him.
This is an highly emotional novel, but it’s also light in some aspects. Ryan is a pushy bottom, Phillip is a bigger-than-life top (those men who embrace you with a lot more than only their body). I love the interaction between them, and Ryan’s friends, straight and gay men together, are the best family a gay boy could wish. Sure, sometime their interferences, especially the female ones, were over the top, but all in all, I enjoyed also them.
Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bott
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