Country Boy by A.E. Wasp
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
There’s a really good story here but it’s suffering under the weight of some editing and proofing lapses, there’s odd tenses, missing words and at one point, one of the MCs’s father’s name changes in the same paragraph.
As this is an ARC, I’m hoping they’ll be ironed out before release as AE Wasp has a real talent for putting some serious messages in the heart’s of her story telling.
This one surrounds the insidious way religion is used by a (thankfully small) minority to persecution and terrify the life out of those who don’t conform to heterosexual norms.
Paul has spent his whole life being told gays will go to Hell and that it’s wrong, a perversion, so he doesn’t react well after spending a night with college rival hockey player Robbie.
The proverbial hits big time though when he’s transferred to the same professional team a couple of years later and all those feelings of attraction are still there.
There’s a lot of complex emotions being dealt with in this book, as well as the sweet romance, and sometimes it gets itself all caught up in trying to do too much.
Robin’s inattentive parents and their disregard for his career, his transgender pseudo aunt Georgie playing college football with Paul’s dad and knowing there’s something off about his extreme religious views, should have been dealt with separately really.
It muddled up the narrative at that point so it felt like the big reveal from his past was there as a specific plot point.
However, the very sharp reminder of the terrifying events of the 1980s with the AIDS crises was very well done.
I don’t think people who weren’t alive at that time can quite understand the horror and the fear which was projected around the world including here in the UK as the “gay plague” saw people dying in their hundreds, then thousands.
I felt for Paul throughout but I also wanted to kick him up the backside but i accept its difficult to change a mindset which has been drip fed to you for so long.
Both characters are quite young but they read as fairly mature, both were able to communicate, albeit at times in sign language, so there was no misunderstanding plot here.
The ending is really lovely and there are more potential pairings set up in this for a third book.
#ARC received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.
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