Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
The book opens up with Trevor Rowland quoting the Bible (because I am a nerd, I looked it up, Samuel 1:25, KJV) “How are the mighty fallen in the midst of battle!” referring to himself. He had been a wealthy, celebrated stage actor when he suffered a stroke that left him completely blind. To add insult to injury, while he was still in rehabilitation his boyfriend ran away after emptying their bank accounts, and Trevor found that he had been swindling him all along. Trevor is feeling pretty low – he used to have it all, and now he’s disabled, poor, and feeling like an ass for not recognizing that his boyfriend was so shallow and dishonest. He is depressed, angry, bored, scared, and frustrated.
The same page introduces Jack Burrows, a blue-collar East Ender who moved in with Trevor one month ago mostly to split the rent, but partly to help Trevor out with household chores. He is almost annoyingly optimistic and cheery, and has decided it is his mission to get Trevor to find meaning in his new life. He does so by suggesting that Trevor look into doing voice-overs, and amateur drag queen performance. Which Trevor immediately does and his attitude and his life turn around almost instantly.
So at this point, I was already sitting back and considering the story very detachedly, because it felt forced and awkward. The reader is dropped into the story literally at the moment that Trevor is transforming his life, so the backstory is all told instead of shown and I wasn’t convinced. I also did not feel the realities of losing one’s sight as an adult was portrayed very realistically – Trevor usually acted like a sighted person, so when the cane actually was mentioned it seemed intrusive. I recently read Running Blind, by Kim Fielding and Venona Keyes, and that portrayal of a man who lost his sight (also from a stroke, imagine that) was much more credible. Then there was the insta-love aspect – I really hate insta-love because I think it is a cop-out so an author can avoid plot and characterization – although I know that is not unusual for this author. I was dubious about the whole business of Trevor doing a drag show, despite the extensive monologues about how it equated with his previous career and why the music he chose to lip-sync was so meaningful. Jack’s character was too perfect, and though the accent did help to bring his voice to life for me, it slipped frequently (for an amazing example of the accent done well, and the contrast between posh and uncultured voices, read Glitterland by Alexis Hall)
When I realized that I was comparing this book to others just to see how it fell short, I knew it was going to be a miss for me. The conflict before the happy ending was the usual misunderstanding blown out of proportion – so overused – and the drag show, which should have been a pinnacle of the story, was unimpressive.
Cover art by Bree Archer is nice but way too dramatic for this story.
ebook, 112 pages
Expected publication: January 18th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635332370 (ISBN13: 9781635332377)