MLR Press Presents http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=AMRAINBW
Two men, one with a past, and one determined to give them a future, together.
Mick Flanagan has kept himself hidden since his only lover died three years ago. He works at night, keeps to his routine, has impressive facial hair, and avoids contact with other people. Enter Ceri Llewellyn, with his constantly changing rainbow-coloured hair, who seems determined to talk to him. Gradually, Mick tells his story and begins to trust Ceri, but Mick has a past that contains more than just a dead lover. Can Ceri show him that he deserves to be loved and, above all else, help him find his true self?
This was a surprisingly different book than I expected. I was thinking it would be a fairly fluffy geek/nerd love story with a twinky/goofball and instead I got a fairly rich, and deep story about a deeply controlled man who has never been on his own and doesn’t know what to do when he is.
Mick’s mom is a piece of work. She never let Mick stray far from her grasp all throughout his childhood, threatening home schooling and demanding almost complete isolation from him while instilling fear of the outside world into his head. It is only dumb luck that Mick finds love at the hands of a paramedic, Alfie, who both saves his life and rescues him from his mom.
But Alfie has his own imperfections and he, too never let Mick be his own man. He loved Mick, to be sure, but he controlled him and never let him flourish. Neither his mom nor Alfie encouraged his creativity or self-reliance and when Alfie suddenly dies, Mick is on his own. (His mom kicked him out for being gay, of course.)
Now, three years later, Mick is coping – just – but still not thriving. He meets Ceri (pronounced Sherry – it’s a Welsh name) at work and is immediately captivated by the outgoing man who literally changes his hair color each week.
Ceri is a big kid – not quite but almost ready to settle down and admit he will never be a pro-skateboarder at the age of 27. He meets Mick and thinks he sees a diamond in the rough hiding behind the awkwardness and the bushy beard.
The two start to get to know one another and Mick slowly comes out of his shell. Here things move along rapidly (maybe a bit too rapidly) and they become lovers. But Mick is still holding tight to his dead-lover’s memory and can’t let Ceri in.
Only when an old friend interferes can he really let Ceri in and get past Alfie. At the same time he finds out his mother is dying from cancer and may only have a limited time left around for building bridges.
What really surprised me about this story was how much growth we got to witness in Mick. He really was so controlled, but in both cases lovingly, if not dangerously. Ceri has to dance around helping him without taking over and becoming the next leader Mick follows blindly.
All in all I really enjoyed this and will definitely look for more from this author.
4.25 of 5 hearts