Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Book Review: Five-Sided Heart by Max MacGowan

Five-Sided Heart
Noah Trevelyan has lost his moorings. Disowned over his sexuality as a teenager, he hasn’t been back to his home on the Outer Banks since his fisherman father kicked him out. But when he returns for the Old Man’s funeral, he discovers his father left him the house and boat in his will. Noah must choose whether to stay or go, but he won’t be alone. There’s Ian, working to overcome the emotional scars left by a domineering ex-boyfriend, and Ty, a cheerful housekeeper who’s struggling to take care of his Alzheimer’s-stricken aunt. There’s Joshua too, running from the destruction of his old life, and Gabriel, who was once beaten and left for dead, and doesn’t know how to survive on his own.

Will they find in each other the strength and courage to keep living—and learn, together, how to love again? A polyamorous relationship is the last thing any of them expected to find in the Outer Banks, but it might be what they need most, and it might even be their redemption—if they can keep their group from breaking apart under the pressure.

Todd's rating:

Wow, when I heard friends saying that "Five-Sided Heart" was very touching and *not* just one big ole' M/M/M/M/M sex-fest, I was fairly hesitant to believe those claims.

But I was wrong and should have trusted them.

These 5 unlikely heroes were all damaged in some way, some much more than others, but when push came to shove, they were there for one another in a way rarely written in ménage stories.


Character Profiles:

Noah had been tossed out of his home 10 years prior, being told not to return, only to return for his father's funeral and face the scorn of the local townsfolk.

Ian had been in a mentally abusive and controlling relationship, recently ended when his asshole ex left him for another man, but who also refuses to totally leave him alone.

Ty had lived on the island his entire life, raised by his great aunt after his mother died, but then the aunt developed dementia, so Ty's life was no longer his own, as he took care of the woman who was there for him in his own time of need.

Gabriel was left for dead, after being raped and carved up with a knife, which left him a shell of his former self, so he came to the Outer Banks with a bottle full of painkillers to end his life.

And lastly, Joshua had just been released after a year in jail, after being acquitted of a murder that his cousin committed; however, much of the public still believed he was guilty, so he flees to the island in hopes of making a fresh start.


And a fresh start was indeed what all five of the MC's ended up getting in this story, although not always easily or without a fight.

I loved how all five of the MC's interacted equally, supported one another equally, and didn't pair off so that one character ended up being the sole support for any other character.

This book was all about the group effort.

Sure, certain characters opened up to only one other character initially, which felt natural. I mean, really, would it have felt realistic for someone to divulge their darkest secret to an entire group of near-strangers? No, it wouldn't.

But as the story progressed, each of those instance of opening up grew until all of the secrets were laid bare for all of the characters. And to all of the characters.

This book had so much support, so much having one another's backs, I felt a bit jealous, if I'm being honest. That much love and trust was a joy to read.

Along with the support, there was also a lot of humor, comradery and snark, which I completely loved. Each of the characters added a lot of feeling to the dialogue and the group's interactions.

And speaking of interactions, YES, there was sex. Hello, it's five gay guys on a relatively-secluded island, so that was inevitable. However, the book was not *about* the sex. It was about their relationship and their growing feelings. So no, none of it felt gratuitous.

I'd highly recommend this story if you're looking for something different, but not in the market for erotica. Because that's definitely not what I felt that this story was about, for me at least.

Overall, I'd rate this one at 4.5 stars, rounding down, mainly because the book did have feels, but it didn't TJ Klune or Amy Lane me in the gut quite has hard as I'd hoped.

My copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

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