Book: Mascara & Bandages
Series: Mary's Boys #3
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG
Publication Date: July 12, 2017
Length: 121 pages
Reviewed by Michael
Ariel Merman is a new drag queen who’s already finding a family at Hamburger Mary’s. After a performance as Ariel, Zachary Cooper walks home in his makeup and is assaulted by homophobes. Zachary’s worry that the attack has thrown a wrench in his good fortune is eased when he looks into the eyes of his doctor.
Dr. Teegan Chau is a little lost after divorcing his wife and coming out of the closet, but he can’t deny the pull he feels toward the young man he patches up. Luckily, Zachary takes the initiative and asks Teegan out. But attraction is the easy part of their blossoming relationship—as they deal with an ex-wife and child, being a drag queen in a heteronormative culture, Zachary’s lingering trauma from his attack, and Teegan acclimating to life as part of an out-and-proud gay couple.
The challenges seem daunting at the start of a romance. Can Zachary and Teegan make it through the rough patches and take a chance on the love that’s been missing from both their lives?
I've read all three Mary's Boys books, and I can honestly say that this one is my favorite.
This is clearly Zachary’s book. He is the newest drag queen at Hamburger Mary's, going by the name “Ariel Merman.” He's been in the series as a background character since the beginning and has always come off as rather timid, and in this book, you find out why.
Zachary has always viewed himself to be too thin or too feminine. As a result, he has a low opinion of how others view him. As his alter-ego, he allows himself the kind of freedom to be the type of person he really wants to be. Ariel is a mask that Zachary puts on in order to be who he really wants to be. I loved that about this book, the dichotomy between Zachary and Ariel, and how the simple creation of an alter ego can give us the courage we wouldn’t normally have.
Zachary is attacked and is hospitalized with some truly horrific injuries, some of which serve to further reinforce the poor view he has of his own masculinity. Teegan Chau is his physician, and the attraction between the two is immediate.
You really need to read it to see what goes from there. You’ll be happy you did.
There are two things that I have absolutely loved about this series, both of which shine in this book.
The first is the sense of family that Hamburger Mary’s provides. Entirely too many LGBTQ lose their families during the coming-out process, the old saying that “blood is thicker than water” is put to the test, with disastrous results. We end up recreating those familial bonds without friends, and those deep connections can last a lifetime. That idea is at the very center of this book, and it’s heartwarming to see.
The second is Brandon Witt’s use of races, ethnicities, and sub-cultures in this series. I have no idea if this is by design or merely a happy coincidence. But I’m hoping to see more of this as the series progresses.
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