Dreamspinner Press Presents
William Lyon’s past forced him to become someone he isn’t. Conflicted and unable to maintain the charade, he separates from his wife and takes a job as caretaker at a former mental hospital. Jelley’s Valley State Insane Asylum was the largest mental hospital in California for well over a century, but it now stands empty. William thinks the decrepit institution is the perfect place to finish his dissertation and wait for his divorce to become final. In town, William meets Colby Anderson, who minds the local store and post office. Unlike William, Colby is cute, upbeat, and flamboyantly out. Although initially put off by Colby’s mannerisms, William comes to value their new friendship, and even accepts Colby’s offer to ease him into the world of gay sex.
William’s self-image begins to change when he discovers a tin box, hidden in an asylum wall since the 1940s. It contains letters secretly written by Bill, a patient who was sent to the asylum for being homosexual. The letters hit close to home, and William comes to care about Bill and his fate. With Colby’s help, he hopes the words written seventy years ago will give him courage to be his true self.
Kim Fielding is an amazing writer, who has a way of combining dark, angsty topics with humor and sweet romance. I guess you’d say this is the “perfect” example of that.
We get the dark, very hard to read at times story of Bill – a patient in an asylum for being homosexual and what he experiences.
Then we get William and Colby’s modern day story, far more light-hearted and hopeful. William learns from “Bill” and finally finds the courage to be the man he wants to become.
“…You said gay people—any people—should be who they really are. Be authentic. You said I should wear a pink tutu and vote Republican if that’s what I wanted. Well, I’ll pass on that part. But Colby, this is me. I’m not a man who sleeps around, always wondering if the ass is greener on the other side of the fence. I’m not someone who wants to meet tons of men in clubs or online. Those things don’t suit me any better than this outfit.” He gestured at his borrowed shirt.
Such a delightful mix of tragic and happy. Well done, Kim Fielding, well done.
KC Kelly does an absolutely amazing job with this! God! I loved his “Colby” and how well he handles the emotion and the smexy times.
I absolutely recommend his narration as a way to experience this novel.
5 of 5 hearts