Foundation of Love by Scotty Cade
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
From the blurb:
Years ago, Wes Stanhope fled his hometown of Charleston to escape the constraints of society and his controlling father, Colonel Robert Lee Stanhope IV. After completing medical school and building a successful practice in pediatric oncology in Seattle, Wes is called home for his mother’s funeral and presented with an opportunity to build and run a children’s hospital—his mother’s legacy—a choice he ultimately makes despite his misgivings about his father’s role as chairman of the hospital’s board of directors.
When Wes begins to build his team, he is introduced to a young, handsome black architect named Tyler Williams. Sparks begin to fly between the two men, and although Wes doesn’t identify as gay, denying his attraction to Ty becomes impossible. But Ty won’t be a dirty secret: if Wes wants to build a relationship, he’ll have to come out, brave his father’s racism and homophobia, and risk his chance to continue as the hospital’s CEO and realize his mother’s dream.
Foundation of Love is the story of Wes Stanhope, born and bred in Charleston, SC, son of a powerful white, rich family of military men. After running from his family legacy and going to Medical School in faraway Chicago, he has settled into a life as a rather brilliant pediatric oncologist.
The book opens with the funeral of Wes' mother. Having returned to Charleston to attend her service, we find him sitting in his father's office. His father, the Colonel, offers him an opportunity to open a children's hospital in Charleston and to run the hospital as its CEO. Wes thinks about this and then agrees, mostly to honor his mother's memory.
During the initial planning stages, Wes is introduced to Ty, an African-American, who is going to be the architect. Oh, and Ty is gay and out. Wes is...confused. That's probably the best way to describe his sexuality. He had an encounter in college with another boy from which he ran, and none of the many women in his life have ever really interested him. He's never felt a connection to anyone. *cue head scratch*
The scene being Charleston, SC, one expects and receives the typical homophobia and hoity-toity atmosphere. Assumptions are made and after a huge OOOPS-what-just-happened plus some cruel and utterly mean, though expected, shenanigans by the Colonel (father of the year, he's not), Wes is out and they get the HEA.
The whole characterization, from Wes to the Colonel to Alicia (his childhood friend whom he was apparently expected to marry) to Ty all falls rather flat and one-dimensional. The Colonel is a stereo-typical southern man, the requisite gay friends are either obviously gay or gay-for-you, and Wes, at THIRTY-SEVEN, has no clue that he's gay.
I couldn't decide if this was a story about a man repressing his true sexuality or a man utterly void of emotion. Considering the speed with which Wes falls for Ty, I'm going with the former.
I didn't much like Ty for giving Wes pressure to come out, nor did I care for Alicia and her delusional idea that Wes was going to marry her, though I must applaud her for the rapid 180 that let her stand up for him at the board meeting. Wes himself was a bit annoying too, though I could understand his confusion.
Brad and Mac - their purpose was apparently to show Wes that a straight man can fall in love with a gay man and live happily ever after, and perhaps to give advice on what to do with his sudden feelings for Ty.
There's the stereo-typical southern busybodies who are the Charleston version of a telegraph, the African-American family servants (!!) and the family friend/Uncle who's suddenly very sick.
And of course, the very strained (for what reason remains unclear) relationship between father and son.
Yeah - this one didn't do it for me. The only saving grace was the writing. It's actually quite descriptive, especially in the images the writer draws about Charleston and the surrounding area, and flows well, and none of the men ever sound like women. Or vice versa. The plot itself is also well done, though some of the plot points didn't hit the mark.
Scotty Cade can write. Just characterizations need a little bit of work to make them more realistic and less of a cliched stereotype.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley.
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