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The Tin Box

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  1,064 ratings  ·  299 reviews
William Lyon's past forced him to become someone he isn't. Conflicted and unable to maintain the charade, he separates from his wife and takes a job as caretaker at a former mental hospital. Jelley’s Valley State Insane Asylum was the largest mental hospital in California for well over a century, but it now stands empty. William thinks the decrepit institution is the perfe ...more
ebook, 210 pages
Published September 20th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press (first published September 19th 2013)
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Average rating 4.35  · 
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 ·  1,064 ratings  ·  299 reviews

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Nick Pageant
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: m-m

I'm a self-centered person; books like this, and other things I see from time to time, remind me of this fact. Take my back for example - I'm 33, but I've got the back of a man in his late 90s. I complain about my back constantly; telling anyone who will listen all about the fact that I have to sleep on the floor sometimes when I throw my back out while bending over to tie my shoes, but then I get reminded that I'm a self-centered person when I see the short, yellow
Mandy*reads obsessively*
4.5* heart wrenching stars

When I finished the last page of this book, I had to take a deep breath and attempted to get my wayward emotions under control.
This is a powerful story, it had me crying, angry, frustrated and mad. It also had me laughing and smiling and happy.
We meet William, a soon to be divorced 32 year old trying to finish his dissertation, since he has no place to live he takes the position of caretaker for an old Insane Asylum. The story is told from his POV.
To be honest I wasn't
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
A good review, this is not going to be (Yoda speak much?).

The letters in this book are incredibly heartbreaking, the same way reading about concentration camps and genocide victims wreck me. However, MC's love story was light and quirky. It is an interesting juxtaposition and I'm not sure if it worked 100% of the time. However, I was still very moved by the overall story, the combined effect of the letters and William/Colby's relationship.

What can I say, I couldn't put it down.
Written September 8, 2015

4.7 Stars - Wow, this story got me. ★★★★★
A super great audio as well.

The Tin Box is one of these highrated M/M romance so many friends loves. A book I probably should had read the very first day I heard about it...if I always acted as a wise girl and listened to my nice friends recommendations. But better late than never. Or?

 photo 9c28f55d-cf06-4654-84da-a7c7959390f5_zps0b7tekf7.jpg

I loved it...
I have been totally engrossed in this amazing emotional story. It was fun, romantic and sweet too ... but I need time. Sti
I know what books like this will do to me. I know it and I still read them. I am going to promise myself though that I will not do extensive Googling about the treatment of homosexuality circa 1930/40 in insane asylums like I did after reading Hidden Away and spending hours learning and crying over the Pink Triangle Men that led to horrible nightmares for weeks. Hi, I am Sara. Did I mention I have OCD? Ugh.

The Tin Box was nothing like I expected it to be and that is one hell of a huge compliment
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it

3.5 stars

Huh. Well, one thing I’m finding over and over again is…we’re all different. Right? I mean, you say potaytoe, I say potahtoe.

I was really concerned about reading this book. I’ve been on an anti-angst ride mostly all of 2013. But goals for 2014, while I’m still motivated enough to keep them, included branching out…and being brave. And this meant reading stuff that might destroy my heart. So, when I read everyone’s shelves for this book (yes, I read shelves before I read reviews. It helps
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing

BR with my Friends Isabel and Eva!

This story was so much more than I was expecting, and the whole book just ended up squeezing its way into my heart, I loved the characters, William and Colby , but what I loved more was Bill´s Letters ...

And all the flashbacks…

In a nutshell: it all just worked perfectly for me. I was completely hooked from start to finish, and gosh, the emotions... *sigh*

I definitely recommend giving this one a go! It was so very worth it for me. I just wish we'd have gotten
John The Cosmic Wanderer
Sep 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: m-m, favorites
Thanks Kim Fielding for this wonderful book. I did my reasearch after reading this and I was really angry to learn that all of the procedures done to Bill are real and they did happen. And that being gay and in the old days could really earn you a spot in a mental institution. It made me realize how lucky I am that Im gay in this day an age. The last letter was especially difficult to read. I had to to take a break and hug my partner, I was so upset. huhu. :)

I love books like this where you get
Sep 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
While working on his PhD dissertation Will acts as a caretaker at an old abandoned insane asylum. He finds a tin box filled with letters written by a man sent there by his family for being homosexual. Will reads the letters and begins a journey of discovery both for himself and for the writer.

This book and those letters devastated me. I needed the story of Will and Colby for a bit of lightness but also a story that was dramatic but not in the emotionally tearing way of the letters. Highly recom
Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

While the main story, set in the present, between William and Colby was a good tale of William's coming to terms with his long repressed sexuality with the help of the flamboyant Colby, it was the underlying tale told by letters from the 1930's that is the heart of this book.

William is acting as caretaker of a defunct asylum while working on his dissertation and finalizing his divorce when he finds a tin box of letters hidden in a wall. Written by Bill, a former inmate who was committed
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Gina by: mishyjo review
5 “you must read this” stars.

Ok this book completely devastated me, I just experienced a book that I will never forget. This story will forever be burned into my mind, never to get lost in the many many books that I will read after this one. I laid in my bed last night thinking about this book and the characters, the story replaying in my mind. This was amazing, heartbreaking, difficult at times, funny sometimes, sweet and made me so mad at times I wanted to hurt someone and finally scream “NO”
Eli Easton
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was looking forward to this new book from Kim Fielding but I didn't expect to LOVE it as much as I did.

I have read almost everything of Kim's and I love her voice -- it's so effortlessly flowing and easy yet can often surprise me with a little extra jolt of humor or angst. But I particularly loved the plot and theme of this book. I've always sort of been fascinated by the old insane asylums and the horrible things done there by supposedly well-meaning doctors. It's strange to think that as rec
Dec 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Another winner from one of my favorite authors.

After stumbling upon this book through my GR friends' fabulous reviews, I just had to read it right away and I'm glad to say I wasn't disappointed.

The book tells the story of William Lyons, a thirty-two year old man fresh from a failed marriage and trying to support his dissertation by accepting a job as a caretaker for an abandoned asylum. Upon accidentally uncovering an old tin box containing letters written by a patient during the 30's,
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have this book with me since its release month back in 2013. However, since I read few reviews that it would be tear-fest, I kept postponing. I wasn't ready to read something full of angst. Until now, since this was chosen for the M/M Buddy Read Central May 2014...

I ended up not shedding any tears though *oops*

I think I have the same situation as Susan . The letters written by Bill was difficult to read. They gave the emotional punch to this story and I felt hopeless when I read it. HOWEVER

Rounded up to 3 stars.

The only reason why I kept on reading were the LETTERS.

And it was the most tragic, the most beautiful, the most heart-wrenching, the most powerful part of the book.

But one after another.

The Tin Box consists of two stories that don't connect with each other. At first sight.
The William Lyon's story and the story of William Wright, Bill.

When fresh divorced William Lyon, a graduate student, accepted a job as a caretaker at a former mental hospital, Jelley’s Valley State Ins
It's official: Kim Fielding is one of my favorite authors.

Her writing is smooth, easy to follow and engaging. Of the three books I've read by her so far, I've not once wanted to skim or skip ahead, and that means a lot to me these days. (In case you're interested, my love affair with her writing began with the shifter/paranormal series Good Bones; it was excellent.)

This was my first contemporary by her, and she's nailed it again. Her MCs are complicated and smart. The supporting casts are alwa

What a wonderful book.

Will and Colby’s story is refreshing and believable. Before starting this read, I was stuck in a reading slump: reading about two guys who are neither hot gay cops nor twinky shy damsels in distress* was a real shot in the arm. As Mishyio wrote, Colby is a ray of sunshine . He’s flamboyant, out and proud but at the same time lonely and scared. One of the best MM characters I’ve come across lately. And you won't find the one-two-three fingers here, just two everyday guys ha
Cristina T.
To some extent, each book you read leaves its mark on you. Well, good books certainly do. As a reader, every once in a while, you come across a book which moves you completely, shatters your world, makes you question humanity and may even change you in a way. To me, The Tin Box is one such book. It is the kind of book which makes me incredibly grateful to have a passion for reading and it is a book I will not forget soon, maybe ever.

When I read the blurb for The Tin Box, I knew right away that I
Sep 14, 2013 rated it liked it
2.5 stars

William Lyon is a 32 year old facing a divorce from his wife of six years, and looking forward to moving on, starting over, and finishing his dissertation in peace. The opportunity arises for him to become a caretaker for the abandoned Jelley’s Valley State Insane Asylum in a very small town in California where everyone seems to be related to each other or at the very least knows everyone’s business. William takes the chance, and settles into the quiet asylum that holds tales of so many
I am swimming in all the feels after reading this book. Such an important story to tell, and so masterfully executed. (And I do not use that word lightly). I may have to add to this review in a few days, but I feel it's important to get this up there at once.

We need to remember (or get to know) where we come from, what was done to some of us, only so few decades ago. And what is currently still happening in many countries in the world.

I took a hit in the solar plexus with this one. It has grea
I have some conflicted feelings about this book. Conflicted because in this book there are two stories, one that I loved immensely and another that I didn't love that much. First I want to talk about the one that is not my favorite: the story of William and Colby. I love colorful Colby. He is the light in this book, he is funny and laid back. William is the opposite, and he is the reason why I didn't like this part so much. He's a boring person and I couldn't feel any connection with this charac ...more
4.25 High Emotional Stars

Which I really loved of this book was the part of the tin box letters, even if they tore me to pieces. Bill's history is sad, painful and so unfair, that I didn't wanted to believe what I was reading, even if the worst is knowing that this things really happened.

"Gay people are supposed to do whatever
the fuck feels right to them, just like straight
people! If you wanna get married and have
kids, great. If you wanna screw everything on
two legs, just make sure you're safe.
Sep 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My first book by Kim Fielding and I loved it! 4.5 Stars! Recently separated, soon to be divorced, William Lyon accepts a job as the caretaker for an old, abandoned mental hospital while working on his dissertation. It will be nice and quiet and it includes room and board, which is great since he’s been living in his office since he and his wife split.

He’s settling in to his new apartment at the asylum when he meets Colby, who works for his grandfather at the small town’s general store.
Aug 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: br, m-m, dark
3 torn *make up your own mind* stars

The story of letters

"There’s always people who think they have the right to decide who other people are supposed to be."

There were two stories in this book - one very sad and depressing ( Bill and Jonny) and one more hopeful ( William and Colby).

I felt that sad part was a bit overpowering and I also found myself not really connecting with William and just slightly connected with Colby.

What I can recommend in this book is the beautiful letters, the sadness an

“There’s always people who think they have the right to decide who other people are supposed to be.”

Anyone out there with a heart,


It might be a work of fiction, but I'm sure this IS someone's story, many someones, unfortunately.

“I think most of those stories are really sad.”
“They are. That’s why they need to be told, William. So we can learn from them.”

I'm too overwhelmed right now to say much, but I'd say this - I can't recommend this book highly enough. It's worth every
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dark
August 20, 2016
My dearest Bill,
You don't know me, but I want you to know the impact your brave and loving life have had.
There in the middle of nowhere, your tin box had found hidden in a wall in your cell .Your tin box, Bill, full of words. These words that never sank in your dearest Johnny. But these words, are all of you,the thoughts of you, the feel of you, the taste of you, the love of you.
There in the middle of nowhere, a abandoned mental clinic told us so many stories. There where rem
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mm-romance
A new release by Kim Fielding? Of course I had to read it! She's never steered me wrong!

This is a heartbreaking yet gentle story that deals with ex-gay therapy as it was done as far back as WWII but also fairly recently. Although the topic may seem grim at first glance, Kim does an amazing job at balancing it by adding Colby and Will to the mix. Colby is the sparkle in this story but you also have William's quiet and loving personality in the mix. Together they bring to the story the ray of hope
I am bereft! I am emotionally wrung out! I am beside myself!
I am moved beyond words!
I am totally and utterly in love with this book!

I just can’t say enough how this story affected me. A story where the past meets the present but shows us how we have come so far and can celebrate what we have achieved. A story that shows us love will always prevail no matter how hopeless the situation, no one can be robbed of the way they feel about someone. Bearing this in mind this review could be a little lon
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, lgbtq, favorites
The Tin Box by Kim Fielding is a deeply moving novel that brings together the stories of three young men in a fascinating weave of time plans and narrative threads.

William Lyon is a young psychologist working on his PhD dissertation. In need of a quiet place to work and to put together the pieces of an existence forcibly lived under a layer of repression and denial of his true identity, he finds a job as a live-in caretaker in an abandoned mental asylum.

After the first few days spent in the t
I wish I had the ability to write a review that would do this book justice. It’s one of the most beautiful, heart wrenching stories I’ve ever read.

William has just filed for divorce from his wife and accepts a position as a Caretaker for an abandoned historical asylum. He’s spent his entire life denying who he is because of his parents and the churches beliefs. He endured therapy sessions with the preacher and survived camp where they used electroshock therapy. William never knew love; only dis
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BR with my ladies Isabel and Eva - 03.11.2014 35 18 Nov 05, 2014 07:50PM  

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Kim Fielding lives in California and travels as often as she can manage. A professor by day, at night she rushes into a phone booth to change into her author costume (which involves comfy clothes instead of Spandex and is, sadly, lacking a cape). Her superpowers include the ability to write nearly anywhere, often while simultaneously doling out assistance to her family. Her favorite word to descri ...more

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“There’s always people who think they have the right to decide who other people are supposed to be.” 1 likes
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