SECONDARY LIST

     Though I’ve called this a secondary list, it contains some of my favorite books.  Some are just as much a romance as books on the primary list, but they failed to satisfy me in one way or another.  One frequent complaint is that the lovers are apart for too much of the book.  That undermines the dramatic tension for me as a reader, but I expect several of these authors intended their books to lean toward romantic fiction rather than pure romance.     

     Beck, Timothy James  He’s the One  (2003) A continuation of the characters in It Had to Be You with a new love interest for Daniel’s ex-lover.

     Byrnes, Rob  The Night We Met (2002) A really cute love story about an aspiring novelist who meets and falls in love with the son of a maffia kingpin.  Because they have to meet in secret, Andrew ends up spending more time with everybody else than with Frank.  A cute romp.

     Erastes Standish (2006) Rafe Groshawk is a hard character because he was treated harshly.  He’s saved because he falls so deeply in love with Ambrose he’s willing to give him up to assure Ambrose’s happiness.  Ambrose falls hard for Rafe which makes his disillusionment tragic.

     Ford, Michael Thomas  Looking For It (2004) The story here is of seven gay men falling in love in a small town in New York.  There were too many characters for me to become deeply invested in any one couple.  As usual, Ford writes an excellent book.

     Jensen, Michael Firelands (2004) This book has an unusual setting, the Ohio frontier in 1799.  Romance is a thread running through the story, but it’s not the focus of the book even though two gay couples are the central characters.  It’s an interesting tale of treachery and survival during a time in our history when one’s hold on life could be tenuous.

     Kraus, Krandall Love’s Last Chance (2000) This was a nice romance which dovetailed into a mystery.  The characters were likeable, funny, and very romantic.  I’ll keep this one in the romance category, but I expect any future books about this couple will have to go in the mystery column.

     Lefcourt, Peter The Dreyfus Affair (1992) There was a little too much extraneous stuff about baseball, the dog, the psychologist, the private investigator, and not enough about the romance itself, but I still enjoyed the book.

     Levithan, David Boy Meets Boy (2003) A cute story of a high school romance set in a town that clearly doesn’t exist, but it would be nice if it did.  David meets Noah and they fall for each other which gets complicated when David’s old boyfriend tries to get him back.

     Maltese, William  Beyond Machu (2006) This is definitely a romance, but it happens so quickly there’s hardly any time to enjoy the dance.  Most of the book deals with the adventure part of the story.  I enjoyed learning more about Machu Picchu and the ruins of the Inca civilization being pillaged for profit.

     Pearson, M.J  The Price of Temptation (2005)   Set in London during the regency, this is one my favorite romances.  Stephen Clair, Earl of St. Joseph, is deeply in debt and has a lover he can’t afford.  Youthful, innocent Jamie Riley can be the solution to all his problems as long as Stephen’s out-of-control libido doesn’t drive the boy away.  Or his overpriced lover doesn’t do it first.    Lambda Nominee

     Pomfret, Scott & Scott Whittier  Razor Burn (2003) Ben goes hot and cold on Blayne.  His amnesia messed him up, but he went after a man he thought was straight so he should have expected things to move slowly.
     _____ Nick of Time (2004) Brent keeps pursuing Nick then acts bitchy every time Nick does what he wants.  The climax should have come at the lake house.  If Brent didn’t understand that Nick loved him at that point, he was crazy.
     _____ Hot Sauce
(2005) Brad is in love with Troy who is rich, successful, gorgeous, and can have anyone he wants.  Brad is so insecure he can’t believe what he sees and throws Troy out over a perceived indiscretion.  Growing a brain helps him figure things out.
     _____ Nothing Personal (2005) This is the story of Carlo’s campaign to become a state representative in Ohio.  He and Brian fall in love at the start then Brian drops Carlo without an explanation.  It was a fun book and the guys were really open about being gay, but it was short on the romance.

     Reardon, Robin  A Secret Edge (2007) A teenage romance that was a little different because Jason falls in love with an Indian boy named Raj.  As is so often the case when there’s a single point of view, I miss what I feel is a critical development in the mind and heart of the second love interest.  That would have been really helpful here because Raj has some serious issues.  Lambda Nominee

     Rettenmund, Matthew Boy Culture (1995) It can be a little difficult to see this as a romance.  X is definitely in love with Andrew and Andrew with him, but a lot of the book is about X’s life as a prostitute.  However, it is definitely about overcoming the conflicts that are keeping X and Andrew apart.

     Smith, Frederick Right Side of the Wrong Bed (2007) Very interesting story of two men of different ages, ethnicity, and professional/educational background meeting and trying to make their relationship work though everything was against them.  It wasn’t very romantic in tone, but it was definitely a romance.  In my opinion, it should have won the category.  Lambda Nominee

     Warren, Patricia Nell The Front Runner (1974) Not as much of a romance as I would like for this list, but it was such a powerful book I almost put it on the primary list.  The focus of the story is discrimination against gay athletes who wish to compete in national meets and Olympic events, but it’s such a good story you hardly realize there’s very little about the romance between the two men.  It’s reputed to be the first book about gay men to make the New York Times bestseller list.

     Yates, Bart Leave Myself Behind (2003) This book is only on the secondary list because much of it is devoted to the story surrounding Noah’s mother and their house.  I’ve reread the book skipping all the extraneous parts and really enjoyed it.  Color me shallow.

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