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The Telling #1

The Telling

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Time in Iraq cost Michael Ritter some of his hearing and a friend whose death he feels responsible for. He'd left Alabama hoping to escape a dull, small-town life, only to return four years later, lugging a duffle full of personal demons.

Cookesville, Alabama isn’t the most welcoming place on earth, particularly for a gay, Hispanic student wanting nothing more than to earn his degree and get back home to Texas. An image of a somber young man that he knows only by name and the stories told by an adoring sister comes to life when Michael returns home, just as Jay is already half-way to losing his heart.

Michael’s biggest battle lies ahead, and he’ll need all the help he can get to find his way in a world where he no longer fits in. Jay’s not sure where he fits either, but it could be next to the war-torn soldier who needs his strength.


Proceeds from Amazon sales are being donated to PFLAG.

195 pages, ebook

First published January 1, 2009

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About the author

Eden Winters

81 books626 followers
You will know Eden Winters by her distinctive white plumage and exuberant cry of “Hey, y’all!” in a Southern US drawl so thick it renders even the simplest of words unrecognizable. Watch out, she hugs!

Driven by insatiable curiosity, she possibly holds the world’s record for curriculum changes to the point that she’s never quite earned a degree but is a force to be reckoned with at Trivial Pursuit.

She’s trudged down hallways with police detectives, learned to disarm knife-wielding bad guys, and witnessed the correct way to blow doors off buildings. Her e-mail contains various snippets of forensic wisdom, such as “What would a dead body left in a Mexican drug tunnel look like after six months?” In the process of her adventures, she has written over twenty-six gay romance novels, lost count of novellas and short stories, has won Rainbow Awards, was a Lambda Awards Finalist, and lives in terror of authorities showing up at her door to question her Internet searches.

When not putting characters in dangerous situations she’s cosplaying for children's charities or hanging out at the farm being a mother, grandmother, and vegetarian.

Her natural habitats are coffee shops and on the backs of motorcycles.

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5 stars
168 (19%)
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357 (42%)
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245 (28%)
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56 (6%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 132 reviews
Profile Image for Monique.
983 reviews385 followers
January 9, 2013
This is an emotional and traumatic story of a young man broken by war and so desperately alone, who finds the love he needs to help put the pieces back together in the place he was only too eager to escape from four years earlier...3.5 stars

This is an emotional read and the author has done a great job of endearing the reader to the mental and emotional trauma this young man Michael experiences after being rejected by the Army... with four years in Afghanistan, he had fulfilled his patriotic duty.

He had survived an attack which left him deaf in one ear, he is debilitated by nightmares caused by PTSD which also leaves him scared of his own shadow... and now no longer a fighting machine but a liability, Michael is now surplus to requirements... But he was alive, which is more than could be said of so many others including his best friend.

Not only is Michael dealing with the baggage of four years service, he is also confused about his sexuality... The Army's DADT policy pretty much put those inclinations on the back burner, but one night of mutual compassion and consolatory grief, turns the whole thing on it's head and it's just another battle he his fighting internally.

Four years ago, Michael had left the small town of Cookesville, Alabama a young boy, running away and wanting to see the World. He wanted to escape from the life that was expected of him... the teenage marriage, that was sooOoo not going to happen, the small minded bigotry of the town folk and the abusive stepfather that did his best to make Michaels life a misery. It was also the only way he was ever going to have enough money to see himself through college.

Now returning home, he is wrapped up in the exuberant love of his family, with his Mother and sister Angie both a force to be reckoned with, they go about taking care of him, just so happy to have him back home and alive. It is through Angie he meets the tall dark and handsome Jay, with his southern drawl, he was drawn to Jay as though he were under a spell he couldn't quite fathom... but his body was definitely getting the gist!

We get to see their romance develop from both points of view, which was a little frustrating at times as we are aware of both their insecurities and I just wanted to shout at them and say "get on with it!" but where is the story in that?

Michael is broken, damaged both mentally and physically. He is afraid of leaving the sanctuary of his apartment needing someone with him at all times in case of anxiety attacks. Jay's easy going personality, and great compassion make him recognise his feelings for what they are and deep down he knows what he wants... never mind how fucked up his life is, he wants Jay. But wanting Jay means he will have to deal with coming out of the "closet" and admitting not only to himself but to his family and those in the town that are narrow minded enough to voice their views, non more so than his Stepfather Crawford Shiller who had traumatised him to the point of fear for most of his childhood.

It was lovely seeing the experienced Jay taking the very inexperienced Michael under his wing and just love him, it truly is a beautiful love story filled with passion and understanding with Jay taking him through the intimacy slowly wanting the experience to be unforgettable whilst still embracing Michael with the care and compassion he still needs. Michael for the first time in his life feels complete, really knowing that his feelings are true and the great void of loneliness that had been suffocating him was now filled with the love of this honest, fun loving man...

There are some great characters in this book, and I liked how they all took an active role in Michaels recovery, there is a theme of the importance of family and friends... the love and support both given and received and how they too are emotionally affected by the traumas of war.

My only issue with the book was with the pacing, slow in parts where we are given some of the background and at times where it returns to the ravages of Afghanistan... I found myself skipping in parts, which is something I hate doing... I wanted more on the relationship! But other than that it was a very believable and enjoyable read.

For more reviews, please visit... Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews
Profile Image for Betryal.
720 reviews3 followers
May 13, 2010
Reading two stories in a row which involved war I think is really starting to mess with my head. Michael is the war veteran in this case and his fears from that experience in Iraq tramples him into the ground, but with Jay's love and support he overcomes the majority of it to deal with, move forward and just Be among his everyday life. He's living again. There's so many parts that I applauded his courage.

Even though this story is not so angsty (Not giving a shite if this is a word or not)I had expected it to be, but was otherwise not and it was a languid story full of heart and feeling.

There's only one problem I had with this book though was, and because I am anal about this, it had type-o errors that I'd easily caught. Shame on her editor for not catching the boo boos cause they are bleeding Hell. I still have another of Eden's to read and I won't let this deter me from it.
Profile Image for Cole Riann.
1,078 reviews254 followers
May 30, 2011
I've read most of Eden Winters later books now, and after reading The Telling I was very pleased to see how much her writing has improved since she started. I can see now that her writing was already at a high level, and I really loved The Telling. Despite the heavy subject (MIchael's PTSD and post-military career), the focus of the story is on healing, love, and redemption; and despite the POV being from within the muck of depression, it is never pitying, yet full of hope. Michael and Jay are wonderful characters. I only wish I could have gotten to know Ryan better, though that would have been even more heartbreaking.

This is one of the best free-reads time can buy.
Profile Image for AngelFire.
752 reviews25 followers
December 8, 2022
DNF @ 17%

This book was published in 2009 and while some books are written so that they're enjoyable at any point, this book is one of those that perfectly represent the type of MM romances that were popular at the time. Unfortunately, the genre has moved way beyond that very limited standard so this book didn't meet my expectations at all.

My first issue was the amateur writing. The dialog was terrible, everything was over explained and there were constant unnecessary details (like describing what type of soap the MC uses while taking a shower). There were also way too many side characters and the author spent too much time describing each of them and info-dumping their entire history during their introduction.

I also wasn't impressed with the author constantly saying that characters have very thick Southern accents but the written dialog didn't reflect this at all. In fact, if you removed the references to the 'thick Southern accents' and the copious amounts of sweet tea that were drunk, the story could have taken place in any small town in the US and it wouldn't have made a difference. Also, Michael lands at the airport in Atlanta, Georgia, but he lives in Cookesville, Alabama and they arrive there within just 20 minutes of driving. This bothered me so much that I actually looked it up and the driving time from Atlanta to the Alabama border would be about 3 hours. And why is he landing at an airport in Atlanta when there are plenty of airports in Alabama?

My next problem was a weird one: the author deliberately words Jay's situation vaguely in the summary (saying he's 'half-way to losing his heart' when Michael comes home). This sounded weird and nonsensical so I ignored it. Well, when the book starts, it's strongly implied that he's actually Michael's sister's boyfriend...and I nearly DNF'd the story right then and there. Then I understood that the author put that weird line in the summary in order to create mystery and to be able to pull off the stupid 'Jay-is-sister's-boyfriend-OMG-OMG-DRAMA' bit. The problem is that this setup is guaranteed to turn off lots of readers but also - it's resolved within a few pages. So it felt like cheap, manufactured tension that added to the amateur feel of the whole thing.

But by far, my biggest issue was the black and white depiction of the small Southern town the story is set in. Everybody who is white and over the age of 30 is racist, homophobic, uneducated and a radical Christian who uses their religious views as justification for being ignorant, rude or cruel. Oh, except for the MC's mom. She owns a bookstore and the poor lady can't have certain books on display (like ones on comparative religion) because that will make the townspeople hunt her down with pitchforks, as if it's the 1700s. Obviously, everybody who is under the age of 30 is extremely accepting of absolutely everybody. Oh, except they hate white people over the age of 30 who live in that small town because those people are evil and gross and the author won't let you forget about that for a single second. The point where I DNF'd is where we learn that Jay (who is a gay Hispanic student) CHOSE to go to university in this tiny town where he hates everybody and we're meant to believe everybody hates him.

Nothing about this was nuanced and none of it felt realistic. This is definitely the kind of MM romance that was popular in the late 2000s when the genre was starting to heat up, but the genre has moved way beyond these types of simplistic stories and I wasn't in the mood for it.
Profile Image for Kassa.
1,118 reviews108 followers
April 13, 2010
I first heard of The Telling as a free book offered by the author to get to know her writing. Not only intrigued but curious, I downloaded a free copy. After having read The Wish I wanted to see what else this author could offer. The Telling is very similar in writing style and tone to The Wish and I hesitate to make bold statements after just two books but Winters’ writing seems to be languid, affecting, and poignant. There is a gentle ease to this story that draws readers in to the emotionally battered characters and their struggles. The romance factor is very high and I even whelled up with tears once or twice as the book has an emotional impact for sure. I’m surprised this is a free read because it’s really that good. If you’re looking for a book to introduce you to a very good author, check it out.

As the summary says, the story is about a small town Alabama boy Michael that is back after four years in the military. He may be physically ok, minus hearing from one ear leading to his discharge, but emotionally he’s still coping with the horror and tragedy of his time in Iraq. His very real struggles are helped with a surprising attraction to Jay, a Mexican student from a huge family with a big heart and a lot of compassion. With Jay’s help, Michael not only slowly starts to heal but discovers his sexuality.

The story itself is very sweet with a languid pace to the writing. There are a few moments that get your heart racing or eyes tearing but these few scenes are dramatic rather than action filled. The characters drive the story with their relationship and emotional struggles. Jay is not quite perfect as an engineering student that falls in love with the image and stories about Michael long before he meets the man in person. Jay’s help and support is crucial to Michael as he starts to make small inroads into his PTSD. Michael is wonderful as a slightly broken young man dealing with a slew of emotions over his past actions and the death of a very close friend. He also knows he’s gay but hasn’t really acted on the knowledge until his attraction to Jay motivates him.

The two men move around each other in a slow, lovely dance that culminates in a bit of instant love but their depth of emotion and commitment is understandable given the background. They have a very strong connection and the story offers a lot of hope and romance between them. Their interactions are the core of the story while each has a strong family that supports them. Here the story stays with Michael’s emotional problems as the biggest conflict and neither man experiences much outside condemnation though it’s hinted at. Most of the negative reaction is centered around one man who becomes the sole figure of opposition to Jay and Michael’s newfound love. This is a bit one sided but given how much Michael struggles, I didn’t want him to deal with additional town issues so this choice is fine.

The story tends to lean slightly on sappy sweet in a few places and Jay comes across a little too good to be true for the most part while both families are strong support. The dialogue can be stilted in a few places and some actions are obviously contrived – the scene with Michael and Angie with Jay in the bedroom for example – but these are all minor issues that won’t affect reader enjoyment. For the most part, The Telling offers an absorbing gentle journey filled with emotional hurdles and a strong happy ending. It’s free so there’s no excuse not to familiarize yourself with the good writing of Eden Winters.
Profile Image for Deeze.
1,595 reviews265 followers
November 20, 2012
While I enjoyed this story I never quite felt myself as drawn to the characters as I expected.

I think I went into this one expecting much more angst or emotional issues, and while there were certainly times I needed my tissues handy, overall it was a much more slow and gentle read.

Profile Image for Mark.
357 reviews157 followers
January 13, 2013
This story struck all the right chords with me and in the right order. A heartfelt story written with great tenderness and feeling.

Michael returns from Iraq to his hometown with PTSD and a kitbag full of anxieties, emotional issues and problems to overcome. At first it this seems to be an insurmountable task, but with the love, support, patience and caring from his family and newly found love he is nurtured onto the path of recovery.

I think the flashbacks were important and well written in order to give the reader an idea of what Michael is going through. I spent ten years in the military myself and know through friends, thank goodness not personally, how harrowing, traumatic and life destroying PTSD can be.

This is a story about healing and trying to get a life back which is possible when we have the aforementioned facts in place and then there is no stopping the HEA!
Profile Image for Purplegirl .
346 reviews81 followers
June 2, 2012
This was such a sweet story. I couldn't put it down until I finished. Jay was so patient with Micheal during his time dealing with PTSD. The story was sweet, romantic and had some humor. Since it was free, it was even better:)
Profile Image for Cindi.
1,568 reviews82 followers
May 20, 2012
4.5 stars

Anyone who has read any of my reviews knows that I am hesitant to read anything based in the south, especially Alabama as it is the state I live in (born and raised). Very rarely does an author get the dialogue right. One of my biggest pet peeves is southern speak. As I have said many MANY times, it's fine to hear it but not to see it in a book because it comes across as making the characters look stupid. Thankfully that is not the case in this book. The author may have based the story in a small Alabama town but in no way did she make us seem slow or backwards.

With that being said, I will say that I seriously enjoyed this book. Michael is back in his small Alabama hometown after recently being discharged from the military after experiencing a tragic experience in Iraq. The experience left him with PTSD that leaves him terrified of open spaces and with some hearing loss. His sister picks him up from the airport and takes her back to her place where he meets Jay as well as a host of other characters. There is instant attraction between Michael and Jay though no one knows that Michael is gay. He has only recently admitted it to himself. It was a pleasure watching Michael and Jay find their way together. Jay is the ultimate character. Michael suffers panic attacks as a result of his PTSD and Jay is calm and supportive and helps him through them. It doesn't take long for the two of them to get together and the relationship happens rather quickly but it did not seem rushed to me at all.

The secondary characters were also good though the sister got rather annoying at times because she treated Michael more like a child than the adult that he is. I loved their mother. I was expecting some homophobia especially considering the setting of the book. There was some (mainly by one individual) but the book wasn't completely saturated with it. There are a few scenes that got me a little teary as was expected considering the subject.

Overall a really good story. Thanks to the author for offering this free. I look forward to reading the second one.

Profile Image for M'rella.
1,311 reviews182 followers
February 10, 2017
I really feel bad giving it 2 stars. BUT:

- I could not connect with the MCs. The narrations was dry, the interaction between the MCs was too easy: A student with a hero worship + a soldier with a PTSD in need of love and care = Uber Quick Instalove
I am not usually the one to condemn love at first sight, but this one wasn't convincing even to me.
- Angie was annoying as hell; she set my teeth on edge every. single. time.
- The evil stepfather was extremely sketchy (literally)
- ...And so was the local playboy - Trevor? Terry?
- Ryan... plenty of him in the past, but he was brushed off many a time at the time of the narrative. Why was he even there? Nothing but a prop, like most (all) of the secondary characters here. I hoped and waited for him to show up in book two, but - nothing.
- Rainbow flags were everywhere (in 'spirit' at least). Everyone was sooooo tolerant and accepting and not in the least surprised about everybody else being gay. Except for the evil stepfather, of course, he was one ugly bastard with a foul mouth.

So, a number of things didn't work for me here. Once again - book's too short? I don't know :( I suspect it might be me, since everybody else loves it.
Profile Image for Alex.
Author 30 books75 followers
September 26, 2010
A well-paced, unfolding story of a war veteran trying to overcome his demons and discover who he is, and the young man who helps guide him on his journey. Everything felt realistic and tasteful while dealing with difficult topics. The bedroom scenes were well written and appropriate for Michael's state of mind, a matter Winters always kept in mind.

What I liked
Emotions. If Jay hadn't had a long-standing crush on Michael's picture, then the relationship between the two men would never have worked. Because he did, his feelings and actions were more believable, cementing a support system for Michael.

Struggles. I enjoyed their small miscommunications/misunderstandings in the beginning that caused a little strife but didn't linger. As the story developed, so did the problems, most of them resulting from Michael's innerself, but also realistic things like coming out and Jay's looming graduation.

Moments. Michael isn't completely broken, but he's not completely stable either. Winters did an excellent job of keeping the balance by using little moments (like when he wakes in the morning) to show the random terror he feels in life. He also experiences larger fears (being outside in the open), which are continued as bigger issues that become hurdles for him to overcome.

What didn't work
Pathos. While I liked the characters, there was no real depth of plot to make me extremely attached to them. When something happened to one, I felt a twinge of sadness, but not much else. I don't think this is necessarily a terrible thing, but it is the weakest point of the novel.
Profile Image for A.B. Gayle.
Author 17 books184 followers
July 24, 2013
I enjoyed this story, but what really lifted it to 5 stars was the excellent depiction of the sessions with the therapist. There is an element of the hurt/comfort in the rest of the story, but this is nothing like that. It's helping someone really see what's going on in their lives. Helping them see situations from a different angle so they can make sense of them. While the sessions were dealing with PTSD and an abusive step-father, the lessons learned could be applied to all sorts of instances where life feels like it is spiralling out of control or when people or situations have hurt you.

Highly recommended for that section alone.

The only thing I didn't like? The prying, possessive, interfering sister.

Would I be tempted to detract a star? No, because it's the author's right to create characters like that. Lol. No matter how well meaning she was and how much she loved her brother, she's just lucky she's not MY sister!
Profile Image for Sue.
46 reviews
August 12, 2011
I really enjoyed both The Telling #1 and its sequel Night Watch. The Telling begins by introducing us to Michael, coming home from from Iraq after being injured and dealing with PTSD. He meets his half-sister's roommate, Jay, and they begin a relationship. Jay helps Michael come out of the closet with his family and the community. Night Watch continues about a year after The Telling. NW is a short story that specifically addresses 4th of July and PTSD and how both characters, Jay and Michael, handle this difficult holiday. I think both stories wonderfully expressed how difficult is it to come home after war and how soldiers and their families are affected by PTSD.
Profile Image for Barb ~rede-2-read~.
3,168 reviews87 followers
September 25, 2012
I enjoyed this story. It was a very heartwarming story of the healing that happened for Michael, an Iraq war veteran, disabled and discharged after a roadside attack which left one of his best friends dead and his gay partner devastated.

Michael meets Jay when he returns to his hometown and together they work toward healing his past. That's a very simplified version of the story, it's much more complex and really touched me deeply for personal reasons.

It always amazes me that some of the free stories like this one are much better than some others I've paid for. I recommend this to anyone looking for a nice love story with lots of hurt/comfort healing.
Profile Image for Feliz.
Author 58 books107 followers
May 4, 2010
Michel Ritter comes home to Cookesville, Alabama after four years of war in Iraq. Having left home an eager, fun-loving kid, he's a man now, one who carries a baggage full of dreadful memories and guilt. Although most of his battle wounds are on the inside, they make him struggle hard to find his way back into life. It doesn't help that he discovered, while being a soldier of all things, that he's gay - a fact no one knows at home.
Jay Ortiz is an engeneering student, far away from home in a dull backwater town. He's got a lot of friends, but at the same time he's so lonely he falls in love with the picture of a young soldier. When he's to meet that young soldier in the flesh, he dreads him to be an asshole or worst of all, straight...

I liked that book. Liked it a lot, in fact. It was heartwarming to watch Michael and Jay coming to terms with themselves and with another. There's a bit of sex, but most of it is actually necessary for the process of the story, and some of the scenes were really enthralling. Never too graphic, although sometimes too meticulously detailed for my liking (although others may feel different; I think that's mostly a matter of taste. No major issues here). The characters were finely done and very believable, and the war scenarios the reader is shown through flashbacks of Michael's memory are so real and cruel I almost felt the fire blast and the bullets whistle by. And there were some of the most likeable secondary cast I ever met, especially the women, each a person in their own rights and with their own page time.
But, and there's always a but, I still had some issues about this book.

The Telling feels like a first book. There's a lot of explaining going on, and a lot of storytelling instead of showing, some of it even repetitive. I found myself skipping pages at time instead of reading yet another musing of Michael's about how his mother or grandparents would react if he came out to them especially when it was already made clear before that his family was more at ease with his sexuality than Michael was himself. Or Jay, reacting like a sullen kid to a slight misgiving in Michael's word choice instead of just cutting him some slack when it was told before Jay understood Michael's issues, having a cousin who'd come back from war, too. (->>This on was fixed...Another main issue I had was with the editing, because there are many lapses in grammar, particularly towards the end, which always threw me out of the flow of the story.)
But overall, The Telling is a very gripping story. Except for the formal errors, the writing is excellent. I recommend it to everyone who wants to read a satisfying, heartwarming story about finding love and making it work.

***edit***The author generously mailed me a "cleaned" copy of her book. As I read it again, without the misspellings and formal mistakes, I couldn't help entirely loving it. Five stars, 'nuff said.*****
Profile Image for Emanuela ~plastic duck~.
805 reviews115 followers
November 1, 2012
3.5 stars.

This story is very sweet. Michael comes home from Iraq with a hearing impairment and PTSD syndrome. He has also accepted the fact that he's gay. He is very different from the young man who enlisted 4 years before, even if going back to his hometown forces him to face again some of the fears who convinced him to go away.

On the day of his arrival, he meets Jay, a gay engineering student. Michael doesn't know that Jay has been secretly thinking on him for a long time, taking inspiration and comfort from a picture of him. They are immediately attracted to each other, but Michael is not out and Jay thinks he's straight, and Michael has to go a long way to heal or control the worst effects of his disorder.

The first part of the story is the best, in my opinion, because it was very effective in portraying Michael's fears and frustration, especially the way he wanted to appear strong for his family. Michael and Jay are both kind of lost and out of their element, but they begin a friendship that stems from their generosity and their loyalty. As the story progresses though, I had the impression that the chore of angst of the story was a bit diluted in the romance, and every event of the story began to ring a bit too good to be true. The long sessions with the counselor were on one hand needed to show how Michael was dealing with the trauma of the accident that killed one of his best friends in Iraq, but they were so detailed that I had the impression I was reading a screenplay rather than a novel. On the other hand I wished there were more about Michael and Ryan, the lover of the soldier who died, because in their interaction I could really feel all the emotions of the loss and the grieving.

Even if it didn't always work, the story is recommended for its romanticism, and because Michael and Jay are worth it.
Profile Image for ~~~Heather S.~~~.
463 reviews
September 8, 2010
This is not something that I would normally pick up- I'm into PNR and urban fantasy. However, this was a nice change of pace and satisfied my newfound interest in m/m romance. That being said, it was difficult for me to read about a soldier returning from Iraq dealing with PTSD and the loss he experienced there, it's too real, current, and just plain breaks my heart. To top it all off, Michael's also dealing with coming out to his family and healing scars left by his homophobic abusive bigot ex-step father. Heavy stuff. But the characters grabbed me right from the beginning, shook me, and made me care enough about them to see this story through to the end- I'm happy I did.

I immediately fell for Michael- the gorgeous sensitive soldier returning from Iraq. As well as his overprotective meddlesome big sister, his open-minded, supportive, and loving mother, Jay- his sister's handsome, sweet, and openly gay roommate, and let's not forget Michael's amazing grandparents.

Jay and Michael fit together perfectly, connected deeply, and gave each other what was needed most. Jay wasn't scared of Michael's baggage- supporting him from day one, giving Michael comfort, love, and companionship. It was really quite beautiful.

Oh, and the steamy scenes were sexy, tender, loving, and really well written, which certainly doesn't hurt!
124 reviews13 followers
May 3, 2010
3.5 stars.

For the first part of the story, I really thought this was headed towards 4.5 stars. The set-up is managed very carefully and just slowly enough to be thoroughly enjoyable; the sense of character is lovely, and the way information about Micheal, the protagonist, and his background is divulged feels just right. And I think I might have fallen in love with Angie!

However. Jay, Michael's love interest, is nice, but also unbelievably perfect. The hurt/comfort plot is mainly based on Michael's guilt and PTSD after having lost a very close friend in Iraq, which allows for a great deal of imbalance to enter the relationship. The sex scenes are fine, but nothing to knock me over, the dialogue feels stilted at times, and the amount of typos gets annoying around the two-third mark. The writing is very good - word choice, sentence structure etc, nothing extraordinary, but with undeniable quality - but I think the transition from angst to "solution" could have been handled more smoothly.

All in all a nice read to pass the time, with a brilliant beginning but sadly a middle and ending that just couldn't quite keep that promise.
Profile Image for Camilla.
464 reviews85 followers
March 27, 2011

I've read 2 other books by this author, and absolutly loved them (!) so I'm not surprised that I liked this one as well..

Its about Michael, a 22 year old guy, who has spent the last 4 years in Iraq.. He comes home with alot of baggage, and some emotional scars he needs to overcome, so to speak..

On his first day home, he meets his sisters best friend, Jay.. And finds himself in love for the first time..

I'm surprised there wasnt more drama, with a subject such as this.. Its not that I like too much drama, but I just didnt get a single "oh no" moment while reading this book.. Sometimes Michael frustrated me a bit too.. Its a very sweet story though, which also surprises me, when its about a guy coming home from a war, but thats what it is.. Sweet..

Even though they did my number one "dont you dare" and used the word Love after the first date.. Grrrr..

I wasnt expecting sweet, so maybe thats why I'm a bit torn here.. I've been reading a lot of 'soldier' stories lately, and they definitely werent sweet, but I guess thats what I needed.. Just a sweet love story, and thats what I got.. A very sweet (and hot male on male) love story.
Profile Image for Tj.
2,222 reviews64 followers
September 6, 2015
I didn't know what to expect when I started reading this story. The author does a good job of making this a realistic and compassionate piece about a gay soldier returning home after combat. Michael is dealing with the mental trauma of the day his convoy was attacked and one of his best friends killed. The author doesn't make light of Michael's issues or try to say they were all miraculously healed. Michael struggles to become "normal". Jay is a young man going to college. Jay is rooming with Michael's sister. For a long time Jay dreamed about meeting Michael. It's not insta-love but the two do have an attraction that they see where it takes them. I enjoyed seeing a story like this one that didn't smooth over the difficulties that face military men coming back to the civilian world and all the confusion for them. It made this story all the more heart grabbing for it.
Profile Image for Amy.
648 reviews1 follower
January 5, 2011
This was a cute story. It dragged a little here and there because things were restated several times when they didn't need to be. There were several pointless scenes where nothing important happened, like a bit at the very last chapter.

But the scene that won me over was between Michael and Angie, with a sleeping Jay in the bedroom. I fell in love with the book because of that scene.

I didn't fully understand Michael's disorder...with not being able to be in open spaces or even the outdoors without panicking. Yes, I understand from what has happened to him, but I don't recall Michael's feelings and the reason why he felt the way he did.

Despite there being a lot of spots that either needed more explaining or less, I enjoyed this and the boys were quite adorable together.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Bookbee.
1,355 reviews23 followers
January 27, 2012
Another wonderful book by Eden Winters! While some parts of the book seemed 'unpolished' there is no doubt that this author is a master storyteller. I was caught up in the lives of Michael and Jay immediately, worried along with the rest of the family about Michael's ability to assimilate into civilian life.

One of the best parts of this story, for me, was the interaction between Raff and Michael in Michael's therapy sessions. So well done! It had me thinking of all the young men, in all of history's wars, who carried the burden of guilt just for surviving. Near to broke my heart.

And for a sequel?...
Profile Image for Shaz.
864 reviews77 followers
June 16, 2012
This truly was a heartwarming book. It could have turned cliche very quickly; the soldier returning from battle, struggling with PTSD and guilt and the other MC his saviour.

But instead we have a beautiful story about a broken man trying to find his way back into "normality". Added to all this is the realisation that he is indeed gay. His PTSD is handled with delicate care and great gentleness.

The relationship that builds between the two MC's is also lovely to read. There are no instantaneous solutions to the issues that arise, no sweeping under the carpet of problems, yet these things are also not made the total focus of the story.

I've loved reading this and am looking forward to reading the sequel.
Profile Image for Fani *loves angst*.
1,641 reviews237 followers
May 24, 2016
3 stars

The first half was very promising indeed, seducing me with themes like PTSD, tortured heroes, deep infatuation and a lovely blond hero who's in the closet and afraid to come out. I couldn't wait to read more and find out how they's solve all their issues, when it became apparent that no conflicts would be bothering any of them :( Every problem that appeared was solved easily and promptly, as was the next and the next... until the HFN in the end. Completely anticlimatic -even sugary- considering the opening, which nfortunately is not my style.

But man, were those two right for each other :)

All in all, a nice read, but it needed a bit more drama/tension IMHO to keep the reader's interest engaged.
Profile Image for Fangtasia.
565 reviews45 followers
April 28, 2011
Extremely good depiction of the ravages war causes in our society, as part of a sweet m/m romance. Add war damage to DADT, small-town dynamics and an ex-stepfather from hell, and you have the recipe for one messed-up man. Yet, the main character in this story is a pure soul and his innate goodness attracts another pure soul to him, even before they meet in person.

The author writes a beautiful story with believable characters. I'm pretty sure we all know people like that in real life. In an ocean of m/m romance stories involving soldiers, most of which tend to be either too dark or not accurate, 'The Telling' strikes the perfect balance.
Profile Image for Boycop.
77 reviews19 followers
July 14, 2011
A very sweet "first-time" romance of two a quite different guys.

This book was a freebie. I must admit that I have prejudices against freebies; they must be too short, poorly written or somehow just not worth the money, but I find myself corrected. This is a good one.

Eden Winters writes fluently and with ease. The story is a bit on the ordinary side, but with good character building. For some the story may be even too ordinary, but I found many similarities to my own life, and that kept me interested.

Four stars is a bit on a high end, but three is definitely too little.
Profile Image for Reggie.
172 reviews
November 18, 2012
Remarkable Characters that I still remember years later. Yes, not perfect but this was a memorable story that has left a lasting impression. This is a story of a journey to healing. The love and support of friends and family were an intrinsic part of this journey, along with professional support. An Excellent portrayal of the path of recovery and it's victorious conclusion.

This story is available as a gift to readers. I am giving any formatting or editing issues a pass, as this was not meant to be offered for sale. The story is wonderful.
Profile Image for Susan65.
1,531 reviews50 followers
November 19, 2012
A very moving story about a young man recently returned home from war, dealing with PTSD, grief, and realizing he is gay, all at the same time. The romance between Michael and Jay is sweet, slow building, and full of understanding and acceptance from Jay. This story is actually more of Michael learning to accept his tragic past, with the romance as almost a supporting side story.

It was a little drawn out at times, but it was still a great story.
Profile Image for Jenn.
420 reviews205 followers
November 23, 2012

This was my first introduction to Eden Winters, and I'm happy to say that I really enjoyed her writing. The Telling is about a soldier that returns home suffering from PSTD and guilt, and he finds solace in another man. I thought the characters seemed really natural, and it was easy to just escape for awhile with the scenery and people. The pace was a bit slow, but overall I really enjoyed how natural everything felt and read. Looking forward to more from this author.
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