Where There’s Smoke is a political romance, setting is the year before the California governor election, and of course the hidden scandal is that the candidate is gay and in the closet. The common and used plot of having Anthony Hunter, starry eyed campaign manager with an ethic code and strict principle, falling in love with candidate Jesse Cameron and convincing him he can come out of the closet, winning the elections and they can walk hand in hand towards the horizon, is soon destroyed by clever Witt. She makes Hunter older and wiser than Cameron, sure with principles, but in any case his job is to win the campaign; when he finds out that Cameron’s marriage is a fluke, and that his candidate is gay, Hunter is more worried of a possible impeachment, than of misleading the electors. And moreover, the same Hunter is more or less in the closet, not living openly his being gay, not actually denying it but still… so when he discovers that his attraction to the younger Cameron is mutual, Hunter doesn’t worry much that Cameron is married, that his wife is fighting with an eating disorder, and that, above all, if the media find out, the campaign is over.
I liked the interaction between Jesse and his wife Simone; the author didn’t underplay the effect it can have on a wife to find out her husband is gay. Simone is not homophobic, and for that reason she doesn’t hate Jesse, but at the same time it’s not easy for her to admit their marriage is at the end. Maybe if Jesse was destined to remain single, unhappy like her in their fake marriage, she would be more at ease. Simone unfortunately has other issues other than their marriage, and all of them together are destroying her mental stability. She is absolutely a positive character, only that she is fragile. In a way I like her better than Jesse and Anthony.
That is probably the reason why I think this novel was good, that nor Jesse or Anthony were flawless romance heroes, but more realistic men involved in politics, that, as we all know, is far from being the place where to find idealistic heroes.
Amazon: Where There's Smoke
Amazon Kindle: Where There's Smoke
Paperback: 428 pages
Publisher: Loose Id, LLC (February 20, 2013)
Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bott
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