elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Best Contemporary Novel (2° place): A Note in the Margin by Isabelle Rowan

Every book that makes you cry even once is a book worthy to be read, and A Note in the Margin made me cry from more or less page 50 till the end of all the more than 250 pages of it. And not that mild moving which warms you and predisposes your body to cuddle under a blanket on the couch, but that strong lump in the throat and big fat tears that you can't help falling from your eyes.

Someone could think that John is a self-centered man; a man wealthy enough not only to go to a doctor that prescribes him to move near the sea, a sea change, to cure his migraines (and let me say, even if I suffer from migraines, this is an ill that most of the people endure without doing nothing), but to be able to take an year off from his executive job and buy a bookstore with upstair apartment included. John actually doesn't move on with his live for a new adventure, since he is wealthy enough to maintain his work (sabbatical year) and his upper-class condo, he only allows himself an year to see if that strange medical prescription will work.

With the bookstore and the apartment, arrives also Jamie, the son of the previous owner that decides to continue to work for John. Jamie is young and gay, and makes pretty clear that he is interested in John for a friends with benefits relationship. No strings attached, only fun. And John in a way, confirm the first impression that he could leave to a reader, since, even if he has an on and off relationship with a woman, he jumps to the opportunity of a bit of fun with Jamie. It's obvious that John is not interested nor in his girlfriend or in Jamie, but he is not a man without heart, he is only not used to listen to it. There is something in John's past that let the reader glimpses something different and nice in this man, a past that maybe pushed John too much towards the pursue of success and let him forget what is really important in life.

From this first pages, the reader could have had the idea that the main story was between John and Jamie, and instead, like the author said, pay attention since the real story maybe is written in the margins. And the margins are represented by David, an homeless who has taken residence in one of the leather chair in the second hand section of the bookstore; so there are more meanings to that "margins", David lives at the margin of society, David is always present to Jamie and John first approaches, but he is at the margins of them, and David is not exactly a full-figured romance hero, he is more a marginal character that finally takes the full stage. It was not in David's persona to "impose" himself on someone, he instead tries to be as much invisible as he can, but Jamie's mother, the previous owner of the bookstore, saw something in him and forced the man to enter the bookstore and spend his days there. As John, David has a past that influenced his present life and that pushes him to try to disappear. David is not a crazy man who lives in his mind, he is more than aware of who he is become and he is embarrassed by it; but there is something in his past that made him like that.

Both John and David realize that what they are starting to feel for the other man is not a simple interest for someone in need, John cares for David in a way he has never felt for anyone else (for how much relationship he had, John was never in love), and David, with his skittish behavior and his proud, the only thing he has left, cares for John, even if he knows that John deserves someone better, even if that someone is Jamie.

I like as the author presented all the characters, giving to all of them the chance to be the main hero of the story, even Jamie. But the reader knows, from John's behavior, that is final choice will be David. For Jamie, John feels friendship and he is amused by the joyous behavior of the man, but for David it will be real love. Truth, John's first reaction to David was embarrassment, but he soon was able to see beyond the outside look, even before the man cleaned up enough to let him glimpse the man that he was before. The initial embarrassment of John was right and real, I would want to see you if you find a vagrant in your new shop, even if that man is innocuous and shy. But John is able to move on to that initial feeling, and even when he should have more nice thoughts in mind, his worries for David never leave him.

A Note in the Margin is a romance, but it's above all a wonderful novel, and I'm even more glad to see for it a really nice cover that attracts people more than drive them away. And so friends, go and buy this novel and read it in the metro, on the plane, during your lunch break! I for sure love it (even if I'm still in tears...).


Amazon Kindle: A Note in the Margin

Amazon: A Note in the Margin

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle
Tags: author: isabelle rowan, genre: contemporary, length: novel, rainbow awards 2009, review, theme: cinderfella, theme: disability, theme: friends benefits, theme: hustlers

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