“Courage is a kind of salvation.” ― Plato
Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 164 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: Because of an opportunity he’d be a fool to turn down, Lyle Powers transfers to his company’s warehouse in central Kansas. The last thing he expects is to meet another gay man in the small town, let alone one who captures his interest.
Roger Kypers is a recovering alcoholic with a twelve-year-old daughter he only gets to see for part of the summer. Neither Lyle nor Roger is looking for a relationship, and they fumble at the start, yet emotions build as Roger shows Lyle the landmarks of Oz.
But when Roger’s wicked witch of an ex-wife threatens to take his daughter away for good if he doesn’t act “normally,” he’s faced with the challenge of letting her get away with it, or fighting to accept himself and standing up for what he knows is right.
Review: This story starts out by introducing us to Lyle Powers. Lyle is very successful at work, and he may not have a large number of friends, but the ones he has are wonderful. The area of his life that is lacking would be his love life. Lyle basically goes to work, comes home, orders take-out and eats it in front of the TV. After all that excitement, he then falls asleep either on the couch or shuffles to bed, just to do the same thing day after day.
When his company gives him an opportunity to take a temporary position in central Kansas, he initially balks but with some great advice from his boss and his friends, Lyle decides to give Kansas a chance.
When Lyle arrives in Womego, Kansas, he didn’t expect to land in Oz. There was an Oz Museum, an Oz Winery, and even a yellow brick road. His most surprising discovery in this tiny little town of three thousand was the baker and co-owner of The Friendly House. When Lyle meets Roger Kypers, he definitely gets the gay vibe from him, but when Roger abruptly ends their first encounter, Lyle can’t be sure.
Over time, Lyle gets to know Roger better and finds out that he is gay and interested, but he has enough issues that he isn’t sure either of them are ready to move forward together. Roger is a recovering alcoholic with a twelve-year-old daughter he doesn’t get to see often enough, and an ex-wife he has to hear from way too often. The ex-wife has threatened a custody battle if Roger acts on his “perversions”, so he has kept to himself for years, right up until he meets Lyle.
With the encouragement and support Roger receives from both Lyle and his daughter, he decides to take a chance with Lyle and the two men start a relationship. Everything starts out wonderfully. Lyle and Lizzy, Roger’s daughter, form a quick, friendly bond. The happy relationship is put to the test when the ex-wife hears about Roger’s new love interest. When her actions land her in a heap of trouble, her brother takes over the task of ruining their newly started romance.
When Lyle is forced to defend Roger, any questions he had about his feelings for the man are answered. Now he just has to find out how Roger feels about him, and come clean about a few things he has been keeping close to his chest.
Once again when Lyle has a decision to make, his friends from Pennsylvania give him some great advice and help him to decide if he is going to take a risk on love or take the easy way out.
I enjoyed reading Andrew Grey’s blog post about his inspiration for this book, and his love for the area in which the book is set shone through in the book. The people in this small town reminded me of most small towns. Everyone knows everyone else, as well as what they have all been up to. The surprising part was the fact that everyone worked together to help Roger stay sober, and they were mostly all supportive of Lyle and Roger’s relationship.
Andrew Grey has given us a wonderful story of two lonely men who find companionship and so much more with one another while facing down their own fears, and winning. I would highly recommend this title, and I am excited to read the next one in the series.