Why should a woman not like reading gay books? We might have different preferences than gay men but all in all I think that there are some lovely books out there and it is a pleasure to read or even re-read them.
1. Comfort & Joy by Jim Grimsley (it will always be my top favourite, the kind you take with you on a lonely island)(sadly this book is currently not in print, but it can be ordered through our supplier of second-hand books)(we can also order other, still in print, books by this author)
This is a complicated and difficult (but oh so beautiful) love story between Ford McKinney, a young doctor, offspring from a rich Savannah family and Dan Krell, of modest background and an administrator of the hospital where Ford is working, too. Dan is an HIV-positive haemophiliac who has had a very hard and not very nice childhood. His mother and his stepfather are living in a cemetery they own and manage for a living. Ford has difficulties with relationships and especially with his sexuality and his rigid parents do nothing to make anything easier. Dan has the advantage that his mother knows about him being gay, even if she has some difficulties accepting it, but at least she loves her son, whatever life he has chosen for himself.
The story shows how Ford and Dan’s relationship evolves, shows the up and downs for both of them without putting a veil over their problems. Dan’s haemophilia and HIV-positiveness are well handled, nothing is sugar-coated.
All in all Comfort & Joy is a very beautiful love story between two completely different men, with their good and bad sides. I have to confess that I own the first edition in French and the second, slightly revised edition in English. And I never get tired to re-read this story, on the contrary that the more I read it the more I love it.
2. The Charioteer by Mary Renault (this too will come with me on my lonely island)
During WWII Laurie Odell is wounded and lands in a veteran’s hospital where he meets and falls for Andrew Raynes, one of those civilians who refuse to take up arms and go to war and therefore work in hospitals or cope with other duties no one else wants to do.
When I look at the review at the back of the book I am a bit perplexed at why they have not mentioned Ralph Lanyon. Ralph and Laurie were at the same school, Ralph a few years ahead of Laurie and they knew each other. Ralph is the captain of the ship where Laurie is brought to after being badly injured during a battle in Dunkirk and he recognizes Laurie. The story is woven around Laurie who finally discovers his homosexuality and that this is nothing bad, even if the world outside does not understand or even accept something like that. Finally he is torn between the two men, Andrew and Ralph, even if it takes him some time to understand that…
Mary Renault wrote this book I think somewhere around 1959; at that time you did not dare describing hot sex scenes and especially not male sex scenes. But I did not need that to fall in love with this book, with Laurie and Ralph. Andrew is too immature and “innocent” in my eyes to really capture my interest. Every time I read The Charioteer, I concentrate on Laurie and Ralph. No need to tell you that I love this book. The Charioteer is beautifully written and an affecting story.
3. The Larton Chronicles by James Anson (available only through the publisher’s website, waywardbooks.com)
This book is based on the personas of an old British tv-series: CI5 The Professionals. For The Larton Chronicles the names were changed of course, but fans of this old series recognize Bodie and Doyle in Robert March and Michael Faulkner. You do not have to know the series to appreciate the book.
The Larton Chronicles tell the story of the acerbic writer Robert March, who moves to Larton, the quiet place he was looking for to continue his writing, where he meets Michael Faulkner. Faulkner is not only his neighbour but the squire of the village, is in the military, lives for his horses, drinks too much and is completely the opposite of March.
I really like this story, no hot sex scenes again, but there is so much hidden love in this story, you only have to look for it. The Larton Chronicles is funny at moments, warm and loving at others but there are hard moments, too, sad ones and surprising ones.
4. Camera Shy by Matthew Parkes (new book available only through the publisher’s website, waywardbooks.com, or else through our supplier of second-hand books)(mind the price of this one second-hand, though)
This one is also based on the personas of CI5 The Professionals, Bodie and Doyle and again, the names have been changed, this time into Jack Ballam and Tane Caton. Same as above no need to know the series to enjoy this book.
AFIS agent Jack Ballam has gotten the assignment to trap a political assassin. For this he will have to use Tane Caton, a top male model who has been in a disastrous relationship with this assassin. Ballam takes over the role of preparing the three male actors of a movie produced by the brother of Tane Caton. As Tane is very vulnerable and shy, Ballam has to use all his wisdom and knowledge to finally have Tane trust and accept him. Slowly a friendship and then relationship develops out of this situation.
You have a bit of everything in this story. Adventure, special agent work, love, sex, action, shooting, hurt, fun and a happy ending. All in all a very enjoyable read and I have read it already several times, too.
5. The Lodger by Drew Gummerson (again, sadly not in print right now, but it can be ordered through our supplier of second-hand books)
Honza, a young writer in need of money is letting a room to Andy, a young guy, who seems to be his complete opposite. They manage to fall into a certain domesticity and friendship despite all the differences between them. Then one day Andy comes home, drunk and shaken, and mentions that he has killed a man.
The Lodger has its funny moments, sweet and sad ones, it is a very catching book and I had only one regret… that it was not longer.
Presented by ABC Customer and You Reviewer Andrée Walch.
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