Friday, 3 May 2013

Book Review: A Still, Small Voice by D W Marchwell

A Still, Small Voice
by D W Marchwell
M/M Contemporary Romance
Dreamspinner Press

Review Copy from Netgalley
4 Stars


Blurb:

After a student’s accusation of sexual assault destroyed his reputation, Noah Birchwood left the teaching career he loved. The school system that should have protected him and an ex-lover who should have known better shattered his confidence, and it took Noah six years and another university degree to finally get his life back on track.

He loves his new job as a computer programmer and keeps busy on weekends performing at a drag club with his best friend, Aiden. It’s there that he meets shy, chivalrous Oscar, the owner of the club and, just maybe, the love of Noah’s life. But everything turns upside down when a specter from his former life moves in next door. Noah will have to face his fears and discover the truth about his ordeal if he wants to move past it once and for all and face the future with Oscar at his side.

Review:

Noah Birchwood has worked at the same high school for years and thought he would be there for many more. He falls in love with a new teacher, Paul but his world is shattered when he finds Paul cheating on him with a woman and he is falsely accused of molesting a female student. It is due to Paul that things are set in motion for Noah's arrest and Noah's life comes crashing down around him. He's released after there is not enough evidence but the damage has already been done. His reputation is in tatters and he leaves the professions he loves so much.

Feeling bereft and betrayed, Noah settles into his new life as a computer programmer and in the evenings as part of a drag act with his best friend, Aiden and tries to forget the past.

Trying to enjoy his new life, Noah's peace is shattered when Paul moves in next door and the past is brought to bear once more on the present and threatens Noah's burgeoning relationship with Oscar, the owner of the club Aiden and Noah work at.

The book is well-written and fast paced, but I found that having the flashbacks about Paul grating to stay the least. I didn't want to know about Paul, I wanted to know more about Noah and Oscar, not Noah's terrible ex. The characters are realistic and are not perfect, they each have flaws and sometimes I wanted to climb into the book and give Noah a good shake when he kept thinking of what had happened with Paul, when there was a wonderful guy (Oscar) standing right beside him.

Aiden is a wonderful character and he stole every scene he was in, gay, flamboyant and not ashamed of it, he was a breath of fresh air.

Noah and Oscar too are likeable and well-drawn, but I detested Paul with a passion and almost wanted to skip the scenes he was in. I felt a bit sorry for Oscar, who seemed to take a back seat to Noah's angsting over Paul sometimes. I think there could have been more dialogue rather than introspection. The prologue is basically the author condensing what happened after Noah is arrested and is telling Aiden all about it, but it is done in narrative rather than dialogue. It would have worked much better in my opinion if Noah actually talked to Aiden, rather than it being narrative.

All in all it is a very good story and I would certainly read this author again. I read it in two days, so it's certainly one you want to keep reading.

Reviewed by Annette Gisby

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