Title: Raising Shawna
Author: Vicktor Alexander
Publisher: Rooster and Pig
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
What would you do if the spirit of your dead twin brother came back?
What about if he inhabited the body of your adopted daughter?
Former drug addict, turned state prosecutor, Shane Occena has to deal with this when the little girl he rescues one night, named Shawna, declares that she’s the reincarnation of his brother Shawn, that he’d lost over eight years before. Feeling a connection to Shawna that can’t be talked away, Shane begins the adoption process and gains custody. When Shawna begins acting like Shawn, Shane takes her to see Child Psychologist, Tucker Ames. And that’s when his life really changes.
Dr. Tucker Ames spends his days talking with children helping them heal from their scars and come to grips with their gender issues and sexuality, and his nights alone, hoping for a family of his own. When he meets Shane and Shawna Occena, he finally feels as if he’s met the family that’s destined to be his. But first he has to help Shawna heal from her childhood, Shane heal from his scars, and find a way to help Shawn cross over to the other side.
But when allegations are brought against Shane and Tucker’s family descends on this makeshift family in Pensacola, will Tucker and Shane be able to stay together and be the parents that Shawna so desperately need? And will Shawn ever let go of his hold on Shawna and finally ascend to the afterlife? Tucker and Shane may think that they are Raising Shawna, but in the end, she may be the one to raise them all.
I’m giving Viktor Alexander four stars for “Raising Shawna” for a number of reasons.
He has characters who are black, white, mixed-race, straight, gay, transgender. He deals with all of this with compassion and sensitivity. He lets these people love each other and makes us love them all.
He realizes that not all of America is friendly to gay people or people of color. He places his novel in Pensacola, Florida, one of these unfriendly places. Gay folk live in places like these, as hard as it may be for some of us to imagine. We need to read about them and their lives outside of New York, San Francisco, LA and Chicago (much as I love all those places).
He brings in dark matter to his novel: horrible things we don’t want to think about, but which happen every day. He plunges his characters right into the middle of these things, and it’s not always easy to read.
He clearly has a strong belief in the power of love, and the possibility of fidelity and longterm happiness in marriage, same-sex or otherwise. Bravo. I’m with you.
He believes in families and parents and siblings as precious supporters of gay folk.
He believes in the power of adoption. Not all birth families are the right families.
He surprised me any number of times in “Raising Shawna,” Not the least of those surprises was his introduction of a paranormal element in an otherwise realistic narrative. Took me a while to adjust, but in the end, I sort of embraced it.
There were some things that I didn’t love about this book. I am not concerned with editorial snags, because they seem to be endemic in the e-book world. But there were issues of continuity here and there that threw me off. An editor could have caught those.
Alexander is not an elegant writer. Mostly it’s workmanlike and readable—very important for me. But, while I understand the premise of m/m romance, I found that there was way too much sex in this book, and some of it bordered on inappropriate, even disruptive to the plot. This is a powerful, moving and interesting story—we know that Shane and Tucker love each other. We don’t really need to see them get it on so many times. Half of the sex scenes could have been eliminated and would, in my mind, improve the flow of the narrative. It just underscores the truth that all sex scenes are pretty much alike, and after 600 m/m romances, there ain’t nothing I haven’t read before.
I did, however, appreciate the humor related to Tucker and Shane’s sexual shenanigans. I can’t say more, but it was clever and just made me smile.
Plus, and perhaps just a personal quibble…if Shane is so adamant that he and Tucker are equal partners and equally manly, even though he’s small and not as strong as Tucker,why is he such a total bottom, and why is this never ever discussed?
In the end, I loved Shawna and the hero who rescued her. I love stories about triumph over adversity and the healing of broken hearts and souls against the odds.
I loved the Ames family and wished they lived next door.
Apparently this is only book 1, so we’ll be hearing more about the Florida panhandle. Good.
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,
|This post may contain affiliate links.
|Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews. The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.|