Review copy supplied by publisher
Men Can do Romance
by Michael Holloway Perronne
Novella - 28,000 words
Chances Press LLC
Available from allromance
Despite living in free-spirited New Orleans, Elliot finds that his career as an insurance actuary has him constantly weighing the risks of every move he makes in his life. When Troy, his teenage crush, returns home to the Big Easy after a stint with the Marines and unexpectedly announces he’s gay, Elliot must decide if he’s willing to take a chance and find out if men really can do romance.
Elliott is after one thing in life - a nice guy to settle down with. Well meaning friends and relations try their hand at matchmaking and set him up on various dates, but invariably they all end badly. Some of his dates are so hung up on their ex, they spend the whole time talking about him or they are glued to their mobile phone and spend the date talking on that rather than to Elliott himself. Elliott despairs that he'll ever find 'the one'. He's had a crush on Troy, his best friend's older brother, since high school, but Elliott doesn't even know if he's gay.
Troy returns home to New Orleans from a tour of duty in Afghanistan in the Marines with a secret that he's tried his best to keep hidden while in the military. He's gay and he's unsure how to tell his parents or friends about it. Seeing how open Elliott is about his sexuality and his easy friendships with all sorts of people, Troy wants to be like that too and if he admits it to himself, he has a bit of a crush on Elliott too and thought he was cute.
It's a short book, but you don't feel short-changed on the story. Everything is here, from wonderful secondary characters like Miss Althea, the owner of a drag queen cabaret, to Elliott's match-making elderly cousin Pat who just knows that Elliott and Troy are meant for each other.
Despite both Troy and Elliott having crushes on each other, they don't jump straight into bed and their relationship develops gradually, first from friends and then to lovers near the end of the book. Troy and Elliott were both wonderful characters, they were both so sweet (if you can call a tall, muscled Marine sweet!) and I just wanted to hug both of them and tell them to hurry up and go get their man, as they spent a wee bit of time angsting over whether or not their feelings would be reciprocrated.
I do have one niggle and that is that the tenses meandered quite a bit, sometimes in the same paragraph we would have present tense and past tense together. I probably noticed it more as I am not a fan of present tense in longer works, it can work for a short story but for novels and novellas it seems out of place.
So can men do romance? Well, if we go by this book, they certainly can. A lovely romantic tale with two characters you cared about and wanted to see them get their happily ever after.
Reviewed by Annette Gisby