Title: Five-Sided Heart
Author: Max MacGowan
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 230 Pages
At a Glance: This is only Max MacGowan’s second book and WOW. Just WOW.
Reviewed By: Carrie
Blurb: Noah Trevelyan has lost his moorings. Disowned over his sexuality as a teenager, he hasn’t been back to his home on the Outer Banks since his fisherman father kicked him out. But when he returns for the Old Man’s funeral, he discovers his father left him the house and boat in his will. Noah must choose whether to stay or go, but he won’t be alone. There’s Ian, working to overcome the emotional scars left by a domineering ex-boyfriend, and Ty, a cheerful housekeeper who’s struggling to take care of his Alzheimer’s-stricken aunt. There’s Joshua too, running from the destruction of his old life, and Gabriel, who was once beaten and left for dead, and doesn’t know how to survive on his own.
Will they find in each other the strength and courage to keep living—and learn, together, how to love again? A polyamorous relationship is the last thing any of them expected to find in the Outer Banks, but it might be what they need most, and it might even be their redemption—if they can keep their group from breaking apart under the pressure.
Review: First let me say, I loved this book! Like really loved it! And it shocked me that I did. Don’t get me wrong, my prejudice wasn’t with the book; it was with the whole polyamorous storyline. These books are flat out difficult to write, and sometimes harder to read as your brain tries to process all the differing points of view and body parts. This is only Max MacGowan’s second book and WOW. Just WOW. It’s clear; it’s concise; it is engaging, evoking emotions with every page; it is well written, and the story takes you in directions you don’t expect.
Noah is lost. Ian is emotionally damaged. Ty is misunderstood. Joshua is ragged and vulnerable. And Gabriel is brilliant and suicidal. How do they all fit? This story is their journey. If you are looking for hot sweaty porn sex, you will be disappointed in this book because while there are sex scenes, they are included as part of the storyline not the “be all” of the story. They will leave you all hot and sweaty, though.
Five-Sided Heart is a book about five men who find themselves together in a boat that sinks crossing the causeway from mainland NC to the Outer Banks, what has brought these men to this place, at this time, and how they discover their need for each other. Why it is that this poly relationship is what each of them needs is the focus of this amazing story.
This book is told in first person, in alternating points of view, so that you get the inner thoughts and feelings of each man individually. There is a heartwarming story woven in amongst the brokenness of these men and how, right now, in each of their lives this poly relationship heals the portions of their lives that are falling apart. There are not a lot of secondary characters in this book; the ones that are there are put in as facilitators to the relationships these men need to build with each other. Will these men stay together forever? I am not sure, but after meeting them I know that the poly relationship they forge is what each of them need at this point in their lives.
The backdrop is the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and the people and attitudes there are pure small town America. The author uses familiar colloquialisms in the verbiage for the book, and if you have ever been to a small town in the South, you will find yourself smiling over some of the language. In the same vein the beautiful scenery was spot on coastal North Carolina, with the wild horses, sandy beaches and houses built on stilts, fishing equipment scattered underneath. I ached for these men, I laughed with them, and I celebrated when they all chose to come together as one.
I actually think this book could have been expanded—the storyline is that good—but I also really enjoy character driven stories and this one fits that bill to a tee. In case you missed it… I highly recommend this book!
You can buy Five-Sided Heart here: