Title: Sight Unseen
Author: Susan Mac Nicol with Nicholas Downs
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Length: 222 Pages
At a Glance: This is a feel good, heartwarming, story of love and triumph, and I highly recommend it.
Reviewed By: Carrie
Blurb: Tragedy brings together a reserved but brilliant sculptor and an outgoing gallery owner, friends whose love was sidetracked—but was always meant to be deeper.
SoCal natives, Nate and Cody have been friends since childhood. Both knew they were different—and the same. At seventeen, a stolen weekend in the Florida Keys drove their connection deeper and hotter than either could imagine. They were meant to be together. Then, for reasons only Nate knows, suddenly they weren’t.
They’re still friends. Best friends. But they’ve moved on and found other partners. The yearning remains, however, despite the long-ago secret that drove them apart, and when tragedy strikes, both men find themselves in the dark. They must grope their way back to who and what they are…which they will find in each other’s arms. Sometimes, losing one’s sight can open one’s eyes—and heart.
Review: Sight Unseen is a collaboration between Susan Mac Nicol, a bestselling gay romance novelist, and Nicholas Downs, an L.A. producer and actor. Together they have created a story worthy of the big screen, which it is destined for. The story began as a script written by Downs, who went to Mac Nicol for advice, and this amazing collaboration was born. Together they decided to make the story into a full-length novel and then develop a screenplay together with the hopes of getting it to production. This book is an amazing romance and, frankly, will make one unbelievable movie. I cannot wait for the project to get accomplished.
Nate is a sculptor. It is what defines him. It is what keeps his spirit fed and mind on track. Growing up in a difficult home life, his one constant, besides his sculpting, is his friend Cody. Best friends since the age of eight, Cody has always been there for Nate—even when Nate walked away from Cody when they were teens. At seventeen, ready to head to college, they took a trip to the Florida Keys together. It was supposed to be about fishing and sunshine, but turned into the hottest sexual experience either had ever had to that point, and solidified their connection for life. Afterward, Nate walked away, unable to tell Cody the truth—that Nate’s father threatened Cody’s family if he didn’t. Life moved on and now, they are both successful businessmen in their own rights. Nate can be a little temperamental, he hates confrontation, and would rather ignore than confront his problems at the beginning of the book. How his character changes and his inner strength hones itself after his accident is one of the best things about the story.
“Yeah, yeah. ‘The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision. I remember the quote.’ Helen Keller had a lot to answer for. That had been Marty’s mantra each time I’d broken down or decided to get pissed with him.”
Cody has worked hard for all he has. Scraping his way through college, he opened his own art gallery and has done well for himself. He will always have a special place in his heart for Nate. Being in love with your best friend can be a tough place to be, but Cody has done it for so long that it’s second nature now. Allowing himself to think of Nate as anything other than a friend now is emotional suicide, and Cody won’t allow himself to go there. Cody comes from an eclectic hippie family, and his mother is particularly endearing. Cody is a naturally optimistic person, a fiercely loyal friend, and an intelligent man. He tries very hard to see the best in everything, people included and won’t accept Nate feeling “less than” after his accident.
“You know exactly what I am saying, son. You think your dad and I don’t know you carry a Statue of Liberty sized torch for that boy? And now he’s going to need you even more, so I’m saying—love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. Time to take off your mask, honey.”
This story takes us on an emotional journey straight from page one, when Nate awakes in the hospital after being hit by a car while he was out running. Secondary characters abound, and we meet Nate’s current boyfriend immediately, and, quite frankly, I was less than impressed with that guy. The words narcissistic asshole fit really well! But, we also meet Cody’s family, Nate’s new home nurse, Suzanne, (who rocks), and Marty, his therapist (who so deserves his own book) while he is still in the hospital. I appreciated the inclusion of Dev and Blu; their friendship to Nate and Cody, and how they get there, is important. All the secondary characters play important roles in this story, and help to underpin and push forward the story arc.
Yes, there is a period of uncertainty for Nate. He struggles, as anyone would, with coping with his new blindness and what it means for him as an independent man. Mentally, Nate has to dig deep and concentrate on what is positive, and confront demons he never expected to haunt him. What keeps this story from becoming dark is the relationship between Cody and Nate. Cody doesn’t allow Nate to wallow, to think of himself as being less of a man or an artist. He discovers people and resources for Nate that allow Nate to stand on his own feet and relearn his world. It’s a romance. There are some truly heartbreaking scenes, but also some strikingly lovely ones of triumph. Nate comes to terms with his blindness, his art and Cody.
Susan Mac Nicol does a wonderful job of keeping her characters “in character”. Cody isn’t an expert on blindness; he has to learn as much as Nate does. Nate’s perspective is written totally through a blind man’s view of the world. The story paces well; it follows a beginning, middle and ending without getting bogged down or off track from its ultimate purpose, which is a romantic story about hope. Hope for love, hope for a better tomorrow and inner peace. I think it will translate really well to the big screen. Overcoming obstacles, finding love, these are all themes we can relate to. This is a feel good, heartwarming, story of love and triumph, and I highly recommend it.
“This—this was what I had wanted. Cody’s warm, willing body in my bed, his soft, loving kisses on my hair when he thought I was sleeping, and the feeling of truly belonging to someone special. Someone who wanted me just as I was.”
You can buy Sight Unseen here: