Author: Tia Fielding
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 36 Pages
At a Glance: Up to Boil doesn’t live up to Tia Fielding’s usual standards.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: When plumber and builder Jordan Novotny goes to take a look at the home of the town’s openly gay, recently dumped librarian, he doesn’t expect to find anything other than a falling-apart old house and a water heater in need of repair.
Instead, he finds an older man in need of some TLC and a new circle of friends after his ex tossed him aside for a newer model. Stephen might be attracted to Jordan, but he thinks the young man is exactly that—too young. It takes Jordan’s family interfering and a bit of a mishap to make them see that it’s never too late to find a new love, and that age is just a number. All that matters is compatibility and the courage to take a chance.
Review: I just do not know where to begin on this one. Tia Fielding has written some wonderful novels. I have really enjoyed her work, but this short story, Up To Boil, was so out of character for this writer I am just dumbfounded.
The story is built on the May/December trope; in other words, one fairly older man falling for a much younger one. In this case the town librarian, Stephen, is fifty-one, and the town plumber, Jordon, is twenty-two…I think. I mean, the age twenty-two was mentioned and then it disappeared. In fact, this entire nuance to the story seemed to be hit on and then tossed quickly aside, as did most of the highlights of their courtship. And that is the key issue I have with this story. We were told what happened in a pseudo outline fashion, with very little detail, and then expected to swallow that these two fell in love.
Let me give you a quick synopsis. Stephen lost his partner of many years to a younger man, so how funny is it that when the bisexual/possibly gay plumber Jordan Novotny comes to fix his pipes, both men are instantly attracted to one another? The very thing that Stephen hates his former partner for doing, he, in turn, does. As Jordon comes to terms with his attraction to the much older man, Jordon’s family begins this strange courtship of their own—inviting Stephen over for meals, fixing up his house for just the cost of supplies, etc. In fact, Jordon’s parents seem to have no issue with the fact that their twenty-two year old son is attracted to a man their age; actually, they seem to encourage it. That left me a little nonplussed.
From there the story goes at lightning speed, showing us snippets of Stephen and Jordon’s interactions. Next to none of these moments were done in real time; rather, they were mentioned as having had occurred, and we were to take it on faith that the guys were falling in love. I cannot express to you how disappointing this was. The lack of chemistry, of action, and of intimacy leaves the reader with little more than a retelling of events in fast forward speed.
Finally the story ended abruptly, and at 66% on my kindle. This means that roughly 34% of the document was given over to Ms. Fielding’s past novels. To be frank, I felt cheated. Surely more time could have been dedicated to evolving this story? All in all, Up To Boil was not the story I have come to expect from this author. I know how exciting Tia Fielding’s stories can be, but this was not up to her normal standard.
You can buy Up to Boil here: