elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Cafe Eisenhower by Richard Natale

Cafe Eisenhower by Richard Natale
Gay Historical Romance
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (December 2, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 162639217X
ISBN-13: 978-1626392175
Amazon: Cafe Eisenhower
Amazon Kindle: Cafe Eisenhower

In the early 1990s, soon after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Matthew Robins, who is grieving the sudden loss of his lover, travels to Eastern Europe to claim an inheritance from a great-uncle. He discovers a world that is strange and oddly compelling. After facilitating a romance between his new friend Olga and her beloved Nina, he becomes smitten with a young local. At Olga’s urging, he uses part of his inheritance to open a gay café, runs afoul of the local authorities, and has to be rescued by his estranged brother. But perhaps his most startling and moving discovery is a series of journals in his uncle’s apartment, a thinly-veiled fictional account of a lifelong love affair between two men, a romance that survives war, genocide, and decades of Soviet repression.

The plot moved at a good pace and the storyline kept me intrigued from beginning to end. I kept wanting to find out the next layer that would be unfolded. It was interesting that within the first few lines of the book we learned of the main characters lovers death, but while one might have expected him to grieve and move on this book was more about personal growth than finding new love. The settings was written so that I felt as though I walked the streets of early post soviet Russia. The lives of the residents were outline in a way that I felt a part of their struggles. However not only did the author brave a tumultuous political era, but also the cultural growth of the gay community. The primary and secondary characters captured my attention. The attention paid to their respective personalities made them likable, even in their less than stellar moments. However what I really enjoyed was that each character grew throughout the book. It was easy to read and the language was appropriate to the era of the book.

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Tags: rainbow awards 2015

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