Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review: Blue River by Theo Fenraven

Reviewed by SinChan
Blue River by Theo Fenraven
Dreamspinner Press
Short Story: 92pgs
5 Pants Off

2nd Edition

Photography genius Ethan Mars is out and living the fast life in Los Angeles until a mysterious mist in Topanga Canyon sends him back in time. There he meets Quinn Parker, a farmer who has hidden his homosexuality from everyone, even Margaret, his fiancĂ©e. Falling in love is the last thing Ethan expects, and the last thing Quinn can allow—in 1863, being gay can get him killed. When Ethan is unexpectedly offered a way home, he faces an impossible decision: go back... or stay?

1st Edition published by MLR Press, 2011.

A Timeless Dreams title: While reaction to same-sex relationships throughout time and across cultures has not always been positive, these stories celebrate M/M love in a manner that may address, minimize, or ignore historical stigma.

This is the second edition of story first published for the "MLR Press Story A Day For the Holidays 2011" event.

The appearance of a "time travel" fog connects two different spaces and times. Ethan travels back in time through the fog to the 1800s and meets Quinn, who's in the closet. Quinn is engaged to a woman and the marriage is in 3 weeks because of societal expectations. Meeting Ethan has changed Quinn's outlook on life and love. Both men have to make choices and sacrifices on deciding what is "home."

The time traveling gives them a choice to either live in a gay-tolerant community in the 21st century or stay in the 1800s where the food tastes better. They both have families they don't want to leave behind but they also don't want to leave each other. That is the dilemma the characters face and this is well portrayed by the author from start to finish.

I love the humorous commentary about life in the 1800s and the luxurious amenities of the 21st century. It was fun to read about Ethan discovering the outhouse, bathing, killing and preparing a chicken for dinner. I really enjoy Ethan's voice in the story. At times, he's humorous but other times, he is bogged down with indecision and second-guesses on life. He asks himself some soul-searching questions to decide where is home and what is love. It's easy to connect with these characters and get a feel for life in the 1800s.

The HEA ending was great with just a hint of melancholy because decisions are tradeoffs. The book perfectly balances the realities of life with humor. This story is meaningful, honest, and showcases the good and bad of life. This is a memorable book for me and I highly recommend it.

5 Pants Off

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