“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
William takes on a job as a caretaker at an old asylum while working on his dissertation for his PhD. While there, he comes across an old tin box. Inside were letters written by a former patient named Bill to his lover Johnny. As William reads the letters, he’s realizing he has a lot more in common with this patient besides having the same name. You see, Bill was sent to the asylum to be “cured” of being a homosexual.
Colby works at his grandpa’s grocery store in the same small town. Colby is out and proud and doesn’t care who knows it. When Colby meets William, neither one could know they would change each other’s lives forever.
I loved William. I wasn’t too sure about him in the beginning, he seemed a little too uptight and full of himself, but as his story unfolded, my heart went out to him. Forced by his parents to be “cured” for his deviant, sinful, homosexual behavior, he is ultimately brainwashed into suppressing his true self. Having read about religious organizations in the past trying to make gay people straight, I had somewhat of an idea of what it all entailed. Never could I have imagined what lasting affects it could have on a person, on William. It was utterly heartbreaking.
I absolutely loved William and Colby together. If ever two characters needed each other it was these two. Colby was such a delight, his sense of humor, his laughter, his positive outlook on life. He showed William it was okay to be who he was. Colby was definitely the shining light William needed to come to terms with who and what he was.
I have never read a story in which one of the most heartbreaking characters wasn’t even physically there. The letters William found in that tin box were devastating and so sad. The realization of what those letters meant was gut-wrenching to say the least. For William, I believe it was kind of a wake-up call for him. He had a choice of how he wanted to live his life, he had his freedom. Bill, the man who wrote those letters, never had a choice. He had his freedom taken away simply because he loved another man. I believe that voice from the past made William stronger in ways he never thought possible. It shows in the letter William writes to Bill at the end of this story. Wow, I had to swallow back tears as I read it, so beautiful.
What a talent this author has for bringing us such a dark and sad topic, and balancing it with light and sweet scenes. By talking about a subject that isn’t really touched upon too often in this genre, and making us realize just how far we have come, and just how far we still have yet to go. I thank you, Ms. Fielding, for writing such an inspiring story that I know I will never forget.
This book is definitely a must read for everyone.