Title: Equality (Dublin Virtues: Book Two)
Author: Helena Stone
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Length: 156 Pages
At a Glance: Equality is a very nice addition to author Helena Stone’s Dublin Virtues trilogy.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Lorcan Barratt has never considered himself relationship material. After his parents made it perfectly clear they’d never welcome a partner of his into their home, he learned to love his own company and can’t imagine sharing his life with another. After a single passionate kiss with Eric Kavanagh—the night before he travels to Canada for three months—Lorcan’s no longer sure he wants to be on his own. The problem is, he has no idea what sharing his life with someone else might entail.
Eric Kavanagh grew up in a loving and supportive family and always assumed he’d end up in a committed relationship. Sure that he’s found the one, Eric doesn’t worry about the fact that Lorcan has no experience when it comes to love and relationships. They are good together, so what could possibly go wrong?
When both men get involved in the marriage equality referendum in Ireland, it appears to bring them even closer together until Lorcan’s insecurities get the upper hand and he shuts Eric out. Will the fight for a yes-vote cost them their relationship or will they be able to find a balance between the love they share and the need for equality?
Review: Equality is the second installment of Helena Stone’s Dublin Virtues series, and picks up on the tantalizing question of whether or not Eric and Lorcan were exploring more than just a passing friendship at the end of book one. With both Xander and Troy now firmly established as a couple, and the tattoo parlor a more stable business, the novel focuses on Troy’s best friend, Lorcan, and his ever growing attraction to Eric, who has just returned from three months away in Canada. While the two hit it off on Skype, both were still unsure of how to handle their feelings for each other now that they were in the same place at the same time, particularly Lorcan, who had never had a boyfriend before.
Taking care of himself and steering clear of emotional entanglements had been how Lorcan moved through life prior to meeting Eric, and his imagination runs wild with disastrous scenarios drummed up by his naïveté about what it means to be involved with someone. It doesn’t help that Lorcan had been cast aside by his parents, who are devoutly catholic and view his sexuality as an abomination, which has hurt him deeply and left him feeling alone and adrift. It’s carrying this painful burden that steers Lorcan’s thinking and makes him feel inadequate and unequipped to be the partner Eric deserves. When he signs on to be an advocate for the equality vote facing Ireland, little does Lorcan realize that it will become a wedge between he and Eric and drive home the false idea that he could never be anyone’s equal, much less their partner in life.
My heart broke multiple times for Lorcan as I watched his insecurities mount. The rigid hate from his parents and his constant worries over trying to not screw up his very first relationship were nearly palpable in this story—almost like a second character every time he appeared on page. Everything he did hinged on getting it right somehow, and yet, his near absolute attitude that he was a just a second class citizen in more ways than one always seemed to foil his best efforts. Eric was a paragon of patience, and I loved that about his character. There were definite moments of anger on Eric’s part to ensure he was a believable man, but, all in all, the author’s adept skill at mating up two polar opposites and making their romance work was very evident.
While some might comment that their relationship moved quickly, that would be discounting the three months they spent together via Skype. Although we got a limited window on the past, it was clear that Eric’s time away on the job laid the foundation for what was to come, and what he expected to happen when he returned home. Watching this relationship grow and mature was a pleasant journey, and the added element of getting a bird’s eye view on how important the equality vote was to these gay men just added positively to the story, in my opinion. At times, the pacing lagged and, yes, there were definite moments of frustration with Lorcan’s confusion and ineptitude when it came to forging a relationship, but it was realistic as well, and that made allowances for the slower passages in the novel.
Equality is a very nice addition to author Helena Stone’s Dublin Virtues trilogy. The secondary cast was all there from the first novel, and life had continued to move on for them, which was really lovely to read as well. I look forward to the third book in this series.
You can buy Equality here: