Title: No Sacrifice
Author: Grace R. Duncan
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 2.0 of 5 Stars
Patrick has taken his acting talents from high school all the way to a role in a major television show. But as the show progresses, his life of absolute certainties crumbles when he finds himself reacting to the kisses of his male costar. He refuses to accept it, reminding himself he’s married and a father—and thus, straight.
One night he goes to drink his worries away, meets Chance Dillon, and can’t take his eyes off the man. After having a little too much alcohol, he spills his problem to Chance, who helps him realize there’s something other than gay and straight. Patrick’s new understanding of his bisexual identity helps him sleep better—until the next day, when he discovers Chance is a sound technician on the same set.
As their friendship grows and Patrick’s marriage ends, he recognizes a possibility for much more with Chance. But Patrick isn’t ready to be out the way Chance has been for so long, and when the matter is taken out of Patrick’s hands, he pushes Chance away to spare him the mess Patrick’s life has become. By the time he realizes his mistake, it may be too late.
If you’re familiar with Ms. Duncan’s Golden Collar series, you’ll recognize a few things from No Sacrifice, namely the show on which Patrick works, Deception. If not, not to worry, it’s not vital to plot. No Sacrifice is a slice of life tale that unfortunately didn’t work for me. If you’re going to give me slice of life then it needs to be accompanied by some angst, conflict, tension and maybe some sort of intrigue to keep me interested, and there was none of that here. It’s the equivalent of reading a day in the life of a midlevel actor. For months. Lookit, even truly exceptional people lead ordinary lives that are fairly dull, and I don’t want to read about their daily lives either. To my mind, there are three major flaws with No Sacrifice: too much repetition, the conflict seems contrived and the characterizations are one dimensional.
I’ve previously declared my undying devotion to Joey W. Hill and she can angst and word count the hell out of a me, but that word count drives the story forward and fleshes out the characters. In this case, word count is just word count and it’s not driving the storyline, it’s just retelling events of the same day. There is far too much repetition of internal musings, conversations, an entire set list from one of Chance’s shows, day after day after day of retakes and Jack being fussy and is Patrick getting too turned on whilst kissing x, y or z on camera then hating himself for it and internally apologizing to Chance coupled an insane amount of burgers and pizza with Avery, all of which in no way strengthens the relationship between them, adds depth to their characters or advances the storyline in any meaningful way. It’s Groundhog Day Hollywood style.
The conflicts feel too easily resolved, disingenuous, trite, and contrived, and what conflict there is doesn’t make any sense. Now, I’m no Hollywood expert but most are secretive about whom they date for fear of the marauding beasts known as the paparazzi. Not Patrick. The second he realizes he’s bisexual he’ll be damned if he’ll hide in the closet despite the fact that the ink’s not even dry on the separation papers yet. Great! Good for you. Then when the paparazzi does descend, he’s caught off guard by his family finding out? What? Which brings me to the other confounding component of this conflict. Many of Patrick’s family are less than pleased about him being bisexual which I was sort of rolling with until the conflict really ramped up and I found myself thinking, “wait, you’re totally cool with him being one of the leads on a gay polyamourous TV show that’s for all intents and purposes soft core porn, but him being bisexual is out of the question?”. Not only is it inconceivable but he’s basically vilified for it which just left me shaking me head. I can’t make that square peg fit into that round hole.
No Sacrifice is very tell-y rather than show-y, though they are quite demonstrative. Patrick is a ‘Mary Sue’ type characterization-everyone loves him, wants to be with him or is pining away for him. Everything in his life pretty much falls in line like dominos. He’s married at the beginning, starts realizing he’s attracted to men and POOF, guess what? His wife’s gay too! He’s missing his son and wishing he could spend more time with him and POOF his wife is willing to give up sole custody! That is just too difficult for me to believe or become invested in and, furthermore, I don’t understand why everyone’s so hot for Patrick. He’s immature and ridiculously unprofessional. I like my characters to have flaws, be bad sometimes and to struggle in realistic ways. Like I said previously, they are very demonstrative, say ‘I love you’ every chance they get, but there’s no heat, no tension between them, thus I never became invested in their journey.
As a side note/pet peeve: This need to minimize previous relationships. Patrick discovers he’s bisexual after being married for 5 years which resulted in a child he adores. Initially, Patrick talks about how he “fell hard and fast” for her, but the more it progresses the farther and farther away from that he gets which, quite frankly, I find disrespectful, uncalled for and suspicious. Just because you’ve discovered you’re bisexual and are now in love with another automatically means you never “really” loved your wife? I don’t understand the point of that, and moreover, it made me dislike him.
The core of No Sacrifice is fluffy and sweet and feel good, but it’s drowning in a sea of redundancy that could realistically have been cut in half, in my opinion, which is an editing issue. I’m happy that both Patrick and Chance have found each other and are happy together and I’m quite certain No Sacrifice will work for a great many people. I’d recommend it to people who enjoy pure escapism and loads of fluff.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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