Deacon Miller never had it all—he never really believed he could. Growing up in a broken home with an alcoholic mother and a revolving door of truly pathetic father figures taught him to keep his expectations low. Now at twenty-seven, on the night before Christmas Eve, his life is turned upside down yet again; his boyfriend has dumped him, he just fled the holiday family reunion from hell, and now to top it all off, a blizzard has left him stranded in an airport hotel.
Steve Steele has spent the better part of his forty-four years living a lie, ignoring his attraction to other men in an attempt to fit into the mold of the man he thought he should be, instead of living life as the man he knew himself to be. Recently divorced after coming home from work one day and coming out to his wife, Steve has floundered over the past year, desperately attempting to wade through the guilt and find the courage to start again.
That’s when a chance meeting in a hotel bar brings two lonely men together… and what should’ve been a one night stand turns into something much more than either one ever expected.
Listening Time: 8 hrs, 44 min.
I admit it...this was not the Ethan Day that I was expecting...
Before I start this review I would like to offer sincere apologies to the author for having taken so long to get this review done. Unfortunately sometimes real life refuses to co-operate. I started listening to this story back around mid-July and then there was a move...so when I was finally able to resume the story in fairness to the author, the book, and the narrator, I felt I needed to start all over again so I did, and I'm glad I made that choice because it allowed me to take the time to enjoy this one from start to finish, allowing me to make a much fairer assessment of both the story and the narrator.
'Northern Star' is not my first book by this author. I've read his 'Summit City' series and some of his standalones, and 'To Catch a Fox', the first book in the 'Fox Mysteries' that he co-wrote with Geoffrey Knight, is definitely one that I'm be happy to read more of. But I will be the first to admit none of them prepared me for this one.
I guess I've come to expect a solid dose of humor in Ethan Day's stories and while there were some humorous moments in this story...honestly that bar-b-que conversation between Steve and his friends got more than one laugh out of me. So yes, there was a touch of humor in this story but 'Northern Story' was definitely darker and more introspective than what I've normally come to anticipate from Ethan Day.
In the life lottery, Deacon Miller did not get the winning ticket...hell, he didn't even win a consolation prize. Thankfully what he did get even though he doesn't realize it is a backbone of steel. Born to a homophobic, alcoholic mother whose luck with men rivals that of a passenger on the Titanic, Deacon has survived a life that would have very possibly crushed others...not unscathed, but he has continued to dust himself off and get back up each time life has tried to knock him down.
Making a hasty retreat from the the family holiday from hell only to get dumped by his boyfriend and dragged back home by his little sister when their mother ends up in the hospital and then jail after causing an accident and being charged with a DUI infraction for the third time, but not before sharing an incredible interlude with the much older and incredibly sexy Steven Steele.
Neither man can forget their time together nor does either man make the first move to contact the other. It's up to fate to bring these two men together and she does. Both men are trying to leave behind a past filled with mistakes and heartache and the comfort and passion that they shared in that one interlude stays with each of them despite the passage of time.
Deacon's around 27ish and Steve's around 44ish so approximately 17 years...there's a definite age gap here and it seems to be a theme with my reading these days. Surprisingly in a lot of ways this age gap doesn't seem so glaringly huge because while Deacon's only 27, his life experience has definitely aged him beyond his years and broken him in ways that no 27 year old should be broken. He's sad, there's really not another word for it, and Steve wants to fill some of the empty spaces in his heart with love and maybe even a bit of happiness. Deacon thinks Steve is amazing and that he's just not good enough for someone as wonderful as Steve...this is not a helpful idea and one that Steve would like to change Deacon's mind about.
'Northern Star' was my first audio experience narrated by Jason Frazier, and I have to say, for me, he definitely delivered. I enjoyed his voices , they were distinctive, consistent and expressive...at times seriously expressive...just saying fanning myself may have been involved during certain scenes.
This wasn't an insta-love, magical peen fixes all kind of story. It was more like insta-lust to attraction, to friendship to love...it was believable and felt like it could be a real life relationship.
Being together isn't something that comes easily for Deacon and Steve but then anything worth having never comes easy does it? I have to admit at the beginning I wasn't quite sure if this was going to work for me, but the more I listened the more it drew me in and the more I wanted to hear in the end I really enjoyed this one...I think that's the sign of a good story...isn't it?
'Northern Star' isn't quite the usual Ethan Day fare, but still it was an emotional and touching story that I enjoyed every bit as much as his other stories and while it didn't leave me in fits of giggles, it did touch my heart and let me believe that happiness is there for anyone who's willing to fight for it.
An audio book of 'Northern Stars' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
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Reading gives us someplace to go, when we have to stay where we are. (Mason Cooley)
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