Title: The President’s Husband
Author: Michael Murphy
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 220 Pages
At a Glance: An interesting premise that fell a bit flat for me.
Reviewed By: Angel
Blurb: When an assassin’s bullet strikes his predecessor, Grayson Alexander becomes the first openly gay President of the United States and his husband, David Hammond, becomes the first openly gay First Husband. With their world turned upside down, David relies on his career as a medical school professor and ER doctor to keep him grounded. But his decision to keep working ruffles feathers from day one.
Gray throws himself into learning everything he needs to know to be President, especially a liberal president surrounded by a conservative cabinet and staff. Even though he puts in outrageous hours working and traveling seven days a week month after month, he’s happy. But David has trouble coping with Gray’s new job requirements. He can’t help but feel abandoned by his husband of ten years.
When Gray asks for his help with a public-health crisis, David obliges, but he is furious about what happens once the emergency passes. When they learn that the President’s staff has manipulated them both, they wonder if their relationship can survive the White House.
Review: Michael Murphy is a new to me author, and while I enjoyed this story, I had some issues with it in general. The writing itself wasn’t bad, a bit long on telling instead of showing the action, but it was smooth and easy to read. It was the characters themselves I took issue with. Some suspension of disbelief must be had in reading fiction, but the lack of the reliable characterization of the two MCs wasn’t enough for me to completely enjoy the story.
Grey Alexander is in his forties and is a career politician, and David Hammond is a decorated teaching doctor at a major university. Both men seem to be onboard with one another as to their aspirations. And then their lives change with the assassination of the newly inaugurated President and his wife.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t the politics that was the problem here. The political issues, and many other details, were glossed over in the story of David and Grey’s relationship, and how it was changed by one terrorist act—which, by the way, was never resolved properly, in my opinion.
I liked David and Grey from their introduction, only to then quickly change my mind when they turned on one another almost immediately. They soon became combatants in the most important House in the country…and no one noticed. Not Grey, not the staff (who just went about their business in spite of the atmosphere in the House), not even the media made an appearance. Only David seemed to be in the know, and instead of talking about it, he simpered in his room and pouted. Not quite the actions of a loving, long-term couple, but I kept reading in hopes of the two men eventually working things out in a satisfactory way. It didn’t happen quite like that, and many unresolved issued remained unaddressed through the rest of the story.
David and Grey felt completely out of character to me, and it threw me for the entire story. They were supposed to be a middle-aged, professional, long term married couple. A supposed career politician, Grey was completely unprepared to assume his new role. He had very little idea of his responsibilities, but he was a political animal.
David was much the same; completely unwilling to even try to compromise in their new circumstances, but he had supposedly been on board with Grey’s political aspirations the entire road to the White House. Once installed on Pennsylvania Avenue, David fought the staff and Secret Service over the changes to his lifestyle, even when they tried to help him. He completely rejected any and all suggestions for his physical protection.
Much of the strife is caused by the antagonist, who’s role is, once again, glossed over because David and Grey can’t stop fighting long enough to work together against the person.
A year of manipulations and fighting between them finally takes its toll on Grey and David’s relationship, but it is suddenly, and in a short space of time, resolved by a bit of distance between the two men, and some kinky sex talk. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad they resolved their issues, I just wish it hadn’t been at the sacrifice of the storyline.
You can buy The President’s Husband here: