Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Release Day Review: Promises by Marie Sexton #Review #Giveaway

Title: Promises 2nd edition
Author: Marie Sexton
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Length: 224 pages 

Reviewed by Sammy


Includes the Coda series prequel novella, Meant to Be
Jared has simple goals for his freshman year of college: make friends, lose his virginity, come out, and maybe fall in love. He doesn’t anticipate getting caught between his friend Bryan and Bryan’s flamboyant ex. Through the awkwardness, Jared learns love doesn’t always mean sex and the most meaningful connections might have nothing to do with romance.
Can a man who loves his small hometown trust it to love him back?
Jared Thomas has lived in the mountain town of Coda, Colorado, his whole life. He can’t imagine living anywhere else. But Jared’s opportunities are limited—the only other gay man in town is twice his age, and although Jared originally planned to be a teacher, the backlash that might accompany the gig keeps him working at his family’s store instead.
Then Matt Richards moves to town.
Matt may not be into guys, but he doesn’t care that Jared is. A summer camping and mountain biking together cements their friendship, but when Matt realizes he’s attracted to Jared, he panics and withdraws, leaving Jared all too aware of what he’s missing.
Facing Matt’s affair with a local woman, his disapproving family, and harassment from Matt’s coworkers, Jared fears they’ll never find a way to be together. But for the first time, he has the courage to try… if he can only convince Matt.


Promises by Marie Sexton is the coming out story of Matt Richards, the new policeman in the small town of Coda, Colorado was a delicate one. Ms. Sexton chose to make the gay for you theme broader by having Matt grapple with the fact that he'd had some attraction to other men but never followed through with it. Then she added the twist by making her gay character just as fearful as her closeted one. Although Jared was out to the town, he never flaunted his being gay--in fact, he didn't even pursue a teaching career there in the town because he had already figured out that his being different would not be tolerated. So, slowly but surely, in many ways Jared shut that part of himself away--forming his own special kind of closet where he was still gay but never really out to the community. Even though they all knew he was the gay guy at the local garage, he didn't date, kept to himself and never challenged anyone's homophobic tendencies. In essence, both men were trapped inside closets of their own making and it was going to take real strength to break free.

I loved how the author chose to move this relationship slowly, how she carried both men through their own separate paths of self-discovery and how each needed the other in the end to survive the revelation that they had been living only half-lives, half-truths.

There were no quick fixes, this was going to be painful--Matt coming out of the closet meant being marginalized and cut off from some people he worked with on the police force. It meant grappling with his alcoholic father and deciding whether he could stand up to him and admit the truth once and for all. For Jared it meant that he would actually have to begin living beyond his apartment--facing the town and acknowledging what they had known about him all along--it meant taking risks that could lead to being hurt.

This was a strong novel and I found the only weakness to be the action part of the story--the idea that Matt may be pursued by a jealous ex-husband did not ring true I believe because so little time was given to developing the plot point. So, the huge turning point at the end of the story seemed less than real for me and made a negative impact on the story overall; but the sweet love story that Promises was carried the rest of the novel beautifully.


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