Title: A More Perfect Union
Authors: B.G. Thomas, J. Scott Coatsworth, Jamie Fessenden, and Michael Murphy
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 350 Pages
Category: Contemporary Romance
At a Glance: These are beautiful stories, each with the same message: love is love.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made a monumental decision, and at long last, marriage equality became the law of the land. That ruling made history, and now gay and lesbian Americans will grow up in a country where they will never be denied the right to marry the person they love.
But what about the gay men who waited and wondered all of their lives if the day would ever come when they could stand beside the person they love and say, “I do?”
Here, four accomplished authors—married gay men—offer their take on that question as they explore same-sex relationships, love, and matrimony. Men who thought legal marriage was a right they would never have. Men who, unbelievably, now stand legally joined with the men they love. With this book, they share the magic and excitement of dreams that came true—in tales of fantasy and romance with a dose of their personal experiences in the mix.
To commemorate the anniversary of full marriage equality in the US, this anthology celebrates the idea of marriage itself, and the universal truth of it that applies to us all, gay or straight.
Review: A More Perfect Union is an anthology by four authors who have lived through the turbulent times before and after the journey toward marriage equality for all. These are their stories, fictionalized yet personal, given to us to understand just how important the passing of the marriage equality law was for them. These are beautiful stories, each with the same message: love is love.
What happens when life’s circumstances rip from you the one thing you thought you’d always have? And what will you feel when you realize that you have taken for granted that one thing for far too long? The first offering in the anthology speaks to just those questions. In the story Flames by J. Scott Coatsworth, Alex’s partner of ten years is victim to a violent house fire that destroys everything they’ve collected over their time together. Now in a coma, Gio walks alone in a gray land where only the sound of his partners voice anchors him and gives him hope. Alex is beside himself, fearing the worst and knowing that the last words he exchanged with the man who means everything to him were angry ones. Can he possibly reach Gio in time to tell him how he truly feels?
First, I love the way in which the story was presented. As Alex sat by Gio’s bedside and related stories to his comatose lover, we experienced how those words affected Gio and how they brought him back from the edge time in again. It was the sound of his partners voice that continually drew Gio back to the land of the living, and the heartfelt remorse that Alex felt in their last moments together before the fire simply pulled at the heartstrings. This was a beautiful love story that spanned a decade and you felt the deep connection these two men had despite the fact that for most of the story Gio lie in a coma unable to respond. I won’t spoil the end of the story for you, but suffice it to say that it was simply beautiful. Rating: 4.5 stars
Jeordi And Tom by Michael Murphy explores young love and starting a relationship from scratch. Jeordi and Tom are very young and yet very much in love. Living from paycheck to paycheck, disaster strikes when Jeordi is the victim of a hit-and-run that leaves him with multiple stitches and abrasions covering his body. To make matters worse, Tom is turned away at the hospital by Jeordi’s homophobic mother and some hospital staff. It shakes both young men to the core. It also prompts Jeordi to realize he’d do anything to make sure it never happens to Tom again.
While one might say that this was a bit contrived, with amazing things occurring to make everything work out just perfectly for both Tom and Geordie, there is also much to be said for the positive message in the story. This was one that focused on community; specifically, the gay community stepping in to help some of its own. These boys were dirt poor and unable to obtain a license due to a homophobic County Clerk. What takes place next in the story is the stuff that fairy tales are made of. While you are definitely going to have to stretch your imagination a bit and leave your cynicism parked at the door, if you are able to, then this story will touch your heart and then some. It is a story of true love, and one can’t do much better than that. Rating 3.5 stars
Destined by Jaime Fessenden allows us to believe in a fate that cannot be thwarted. Spanning several years, it looks at the story of Jay and Wallace, who meet, meet again, and then finally do what it was intended all along, fall in love. While both men may have been tied to the 21st-century via their IT jobs, it is their love of the past that draws them together. However, they live through the most turbulent of times, fighting for equal marriage and praying that in their lifetimes they will be able to truly be husband and husband officially.
I have enjoyed much of Jaime Fessenden writing over the last few years. This story was a bit tough for me in that it was more narrative, told to us rather than us experiencing it as it unfolded. In fact, time and again I had to push myself to remain in the story and try to be sympathetic to the fight these two men had in finding their happy-ever-after. For me, when a story is told in predominately prose format, it is truly difficult to engage with the characters emotionally. I truly enjoyed the ending of the story because it was the most action filled in terms of storyline. What I mean by that is the event that was being written about was more engaging than most of the rest of the story. All in all, this was a nice recitation about two men falling in love and creating a life together. Rating: 3.5 stars
Finally we have Someday by B.G. Thomas, which I must admit was by far my favorite in this anthology. Told from a chance meeting of a kindergartener, Lucas, with a first grader, Dalton, this sweet story traces their lives all the way until their years past college. Declaring that he will marry the big boy who helped him learn to tie his shoes, Lucas never falters in his love for Dalton—even when it seems Dalton is assuredly straight—or attempting to be so. This narrative takes us through highlights in their time together, giving us tiny windows into milestone moments in their long and rocky friendship. Yet through it all, one thing is never in doubt—Lucas will always love the boy who taught him more about life than any other.
The magic in B.G. Thomas’s writing is the sincerity of his characters—their simplistic and deep passion for whatever becomes their defining force. Even when there is a bit of angst in his novels, or in this case, short story, you never feel time is wasted in just trying to pad the page count. Rather, every moment on page is critical to the development of his plot. His dialogue can be romantic—in some cases almost too sweet—and yet time and again he pulls it back just enough to make it realistic and solid. This was a sweeping saga of two lives, of two boys who grew to be men and realized much about themselves and what it is to really love someone. Someday was a rich romance with incredibly sweet and courageous characters. Rating: 5 stars
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