Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 07/12/2012
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance
A Seven Days Story
Can a person’s life change in just one day? How about seven?
Donald Pottier and Jason Greene are barely more than boys when they meet on Chincoteague Island, Virginia. A day of crabbing soon turns them from strangers to friends, then to something more, but the boys’ time is limited: at the end of the summer, Jay will leave Don and the island behind.
But Fate has more in store for Don and Jay than a summer of might-have-beens. Through eleven years of friendship, pain, love, loss, sickness, and misfortune, seven days stand out. Seven days define and shape the people they are and the relationship they share. Seven days of reunions and separations, accidents and serendipity, rejection and acceptance, disappointment and hope lay the foundation no romance can survive without: unconditional love.
“Unconditional Love” is a classic, sentimental, tear-jerking story about star-crossed teenage lovers who struggle their way forward in their lives and toward each other.
Grey has painted the primary setting, on Virginia’s isolated Chincoteague Island, with crisp, clear imagery, peopling it with small-town characters and activities to impart the visual equivalent of a haunting film of my adolescence, “The Summer of 42.”
The main characters, Jason Greene and Donald Pottier, are lovely guys. Donnie is a local boy, growing up on the island poor but loved by his widowed mother; while Jay is a rich summer boy, given every earthly comfort but ignored by his parents. Blessedly, we don’t hear a lot about their abs or their endowments, but plenty about them and how they see each other. As a believer in lifelong love, I embraced their story and found myself very moved any number of times as the narrative unfolded.
Set in seven chapters, each one representing a single day in a timeline that spans a decade, the book reads a little like a film script. Grey constructs his story very well, but his prose is, well, prosaic. You read this for the story, not for the writing. I found myself yearning for Harper Fox’s elegant style.
The first two, crucial chapters in the book are rather like a YA novel, which is absolutely fine by me—I’m a big fan of YA books. But a familiar failing from that genre occurs here as well. While Grey gives Donnie’s mother a warm presence, she is never named or given the kind of full 3-D portrayal that she deserves. Jay’s status-conscious parents, by the same token, are barely allowed to rise above their stereotypes. While we do learn their names (Sheila and Elliot), I felt they deserved more page-time, given that they are lynch pins in the narrative. Jay’s relationship with his mother, particularly in the latter part of the book,offered the potential for depth and richness that would have kept the end from feeling, to me, slightly abrupt.
All of this aside, Andrew Grey’s romances are one of the reasons I enjoy this genre so much. In spite of its stylistic weaknesses, Grey makes you care, and that caring is at the core of why we read.
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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