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4.46  ·  Rating details ·  39 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Randy Kay has the perfect life with his beautiful wife and adorable son. But Randy’s living a lie, untrue to himself and everyone who knows him. He’s gay.

Marriage and fatherhood, which he thought could change him, have failed. He doubts if anyone can love him for who he really is—especially himself.

With his wife’s blessing, he sets out to explore the gay world he’s hidden
Kindle Edition, 242 pages
Published January 13th 2020 by Nine Star Press
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Average rating 4.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  39 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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If I had to come up with one word to describe this book I would use powerful.

This is not you're everyday, happy romance. In fact, the 'love interests' barely even meet before the halfway point in the story.

This is the story of one man learning to love...himself. While another man searches for the unicorn in gay life of the 80's. Two very different stories of two very different men. Each story powerful on its own. Together they become life affirming.

I'm not going to give anything away of the plot
In reading "Unraveling," I couldn't stop thinking of William Dameron's exceptional memoir The Lie: A Memoir of Two Marriages, Catfishing & Coming Out, about his 20-year marriage and decision to finally come out as a gay man. It is equal parts heartbreaking and life-affirming and gives perspective on how devastating it is to live the lie.

Reed notes that his latest novel is "somewhat autobiographical." Set in 1986, Randy is in his early 30's with a wife, Violet, and 6-year-old son, Henry.
Ben Howard
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle, arc, read-in-2020
Arc provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review


Set in the 80s we follow two gay men living in Chicago.

Unraveled is a semi-autobiographical novel about being gay in the eighties; coming to terms with your sexuality, finding love and dealing with the hardships that life can offer.

Randy Kay is married with a child and is struggling to come to terms with the fact that he is gay.

John Walsh is an out gay man whose looking for love but always finds himself with the wrong man and an
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In reading "Unraveling," I couldn't stop thinking of William Dameron's exceptional memoir "The Lie: A Memoir of Two Marriages, Catfishing & Coming Out" about his 20-year marriage and decision to finally come out as a gay man. It is equal parts heartbreaking and life-affirming and gives perspective on how devastating it is to live the lie.

Reed notes that his latest novel is "somewhat autobiographical." Set in 1986, Randy is in his early 30's with a wife, Violet, and 6-year-old son, Henry.
Jan 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, netgalley, ebook
Thanks to Netgalley for the complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

This story takes place in the 1980's, highlights the threat of AIDS, and is very angsty. The writing is also very lyrical and it's told in the first person, which makes the story that much more present and heartbreaking. The story also has three points of view - Randy, John, and Violet (Randy's wife), which gives it a fully rounded view. Violet's parents were horrid, and my heart broke over their attitudes and
Valeen Robertson (Live Thru Books Blog)

Randy's been living a lie. Oh sure, he loves his wife and his adorable son. But he isn't happy, he knows it and his wife knows it. So after a horrible incident, she encourages him to explore what he really wants, who he really is. If he lets himself be free to be himself, he has the potential to have a great life. The question is, will he allow himself to be his true self? Can he truly have it all? The answer is yes - but not without quite a few bumps along the way, including his wife's
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! Emotional mix of tragedy and hope in 1980's Chicago

I found this quite an emotional read. It never hurts to be reminded how different things are now from the 1980's when prejudice and AIDS took such a heavy toll on the gay community. Randy, the married father who starts this story in desperation and hopelessness, has a son he adores, a wife he loves, but fears the burden of his secret attraction to men. When his world turns upside down, he reaches out to John, who has been trawling
Cammey Kelley
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kleenex Warning!

Wonderfully written, with strong characters that were unbelievably real. I couldn’t help but wonder how many times this plot has played out in lives of friends, brothers and strangers alike.

This insightful love story is wonderful...highly recommended.
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book made me cry buckets of tears because I could absolutely picture so clearly everything that happened. Randy and John were so meant to be together but every time their paths crossed something or someone kept them apart. I absolutely adored Violet when she first encouraged Randy to live his true life but she broke my heart when she hurt Randy like she did, lucky she redeemed herself. So glad that Randy got his hea.
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Randy Kay is living, what some may call, a charmed life. He has a beautiful wife, a son he adores ... but he's also on the verge of ending his own life when the novel begins. He doesn't follow through with such a final action because his wife finds him. She finds him because she loves him and she knows him... and this is how the novel begins.

Randy has been living a lie. He's gay and it's not until he's confronted by his wife - in a remarkably loving way - that he's able to even process what's
Amy Dufera
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Rick Reed's Unraveling is a powerful story of coming out a little later in life.

Randy's been living a life of hiding his truth, resulting in shame and guilt. He's weighed down by self-loathing. Luckily his wife Violet is extremely extraordinary and supportive.

The romance is good, but I preferred the development of Randy and his relationship with his wife and child. It's an outstanding story highlighting the struggles of coming out.

Yes, most of it could be mistaken for happening now, but there
Dani (ダニ)
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books, m-m-books, arcs
(I received this book in exchange for an honest review)

This was a really nice little story with awesome writing and wonderful characters.
The story plays in the 80's where AIDS and HIV was a very big deal and we follow a married guy with a child who's been living a "lie" all his life and pretended to not being gay and pretending to live a happy life with is wife and kid. When he finally breaks the walls and tells his wife that he's gay they go through a whole whirlwind of divorce, custody of
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, arcs
Whenever I pick up a book by this author, I know I’ll get a story full of heart and Unraveling gave that and then some. This novel reads a bit like a coming-of-age novel, but instead of a young adult or new adult, the main character is a 32 year old closeted married man who has decided to take off the mask he’s donned all his life and embrace his truth.

Set in Chicago in the late 1980s, Unraveling discusses the AIDS crisis as well as the blatant bigotry and inequality LGBTQ people faced at the
Sarita Chapdelaine
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
This story is a wonderful journey that is heartbreakingly sad at times as well as being full of hope. It is well written, emotional, intense, the characters are very real and the ending is perfect. Randy has so much to lose but he is unable to continue living a lie and he doesn't know what to do. His wife, Violet, wants to help him but they are both in an untenable situation. John just wants a strong and lasting relationship and he is drawn to Randy from their very first meeting. All three of ...more
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it
After finally addmiting to himself that he is, in fact, gay Randy starts a journey of self discover and explores the gay community and starts to form relationships and learn more aobur himself all while fighting to keep a good relathionship with his now ex-wfie and child.

I went into this book expecting something else, then what was delievered. It was still a good read, but much more slowburn then I expected. And thought you know by reading the synopsis that this also deals with family and self
Tom Scruggs
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite authors writes an autobiographical hit!

Please notice that I didn’t list him among my favorite gay authors, but simply among all my favorite authors. Rick R. Reed is that good. Always. And this time he gets personal as he dips into his own coming out story for most of the plot of this novel. And he captures the fears, the excitements, the feelings he went through as he went from a closeted gay man stuck in a loving but unfulfilling marriage through his journey to the other
Kathryn Manzella
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Unraveling by Rick R. Reed is a contemporary m/m romance that took me in immediately and kept me hooked. The book begins in 1986 and tells the story of Randy and John.

This well written tale is told through multiple point of Views. We get Randy who is facing the challenge of self acceptance . Then we have Violet, Randy's wife who knows she has to help him realize what he really needs in life in order to not give up on it. And we have John who has a bad history with love but really wants a
This book is amazing. Heartbreaking. You'll want to cry, laugh and hug those closest to you. Then you'll want to have honest conversations with the children in your lives.

You have a man who is encouraged by his wife to explore his sexuality. When he does he loses the thing most precious to him...his son.

Family isn't always on your side. It isn't always supportive. Some members can have their own agendas. And standing up to parents isn't as easy as it sounds.

The ending couldn't be better. The
Kendra T
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a very well written story. There is a romance element to the story, but the primary focus is really the literary story telling of a man coming to terms with being his authentic self and navigating his new world. This was not a light and fluffy read. It had depth and emotion with quite a bit of angst.

I am voluntarily reviewing an ARC provided by LesCourt Author Services
Elaine Gray
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Unraveling is a beautifully written story. It explores what it was like for a gay man in the eighties. John discovers his sexuality and tells his ex-wife and she encourages him to explore it despite the hate her parents are expressing. Randy and John have a lot to deal with in their romance. The book has a lot of angst, sweet moments with Ryan's son and wife, and it shows what people had to endure so people can be free to love today.
Ana  Nimity
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book takes place in the mid-1980s, a sobering reminder of how times have changed in the last few decades. It's not your traditional romance - there's no fluff here, just the pain of a man claiming his truth and trying to live his life as a gay man and having to fight for rights to see his son and to have a relationship. Well written, with sympathetic characters and a happy ending, but not a light and fluffy read. *I received an arc of this book.*
Mary A Walters
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book just blew me away. So emotional and beautiful. The prejudice against gay people during the 80’s was just terrible. I really felt for Randy, and John turned out to be what he needed. Well written and great character. I highly recommend!
Jan 13, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: arc
ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
this was an emotional read.. well written.. interesting topic.. good characters... parts of it i was a bit uncomfortable with but thats my own thing not the authors lol. it was overall an enjoyable read and i enjoyed it
Heather Rawlins
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved the story, it was very interesting to go back to the 80s and see a perspective I didn’t have when I was young living during the timeframe (I was a lot younger than the MCs). I loved how the story just built from one event to another and a slow build romance that was thoroughly enjoyable to read. The pace was easy to read and I liked both men and Randy’s wife. I thought their story was thoughtful and I definitely recommend this book.
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Unraveling offers us the POV of Randy, who is coming to terms with being a gay man, John, the love interest, and occasionally Violet, Randy's wife, which I found very interesting.
We start at Randy's lowest moment with his plan in place to end his life until his wife turns up to save him and help him move forward. Of course, a lot of road bumps occur including feelings of his own self worth/belief, it's the eighties which was a time of fear about HIV/Aids, coming out to friends/coworkers/family,
Roberta Blablanski
What I love best about Rick R. Reed's stories is that his characters are real. They have real flaws that ordinary people can relate to. They don't have the perfect bodies, they sometimes make silly decisions that we all know in hindsight are mistakes, and they find themselves in situations that can be all too familiar.

The same goes for Unraveling.

Randy finds himself living a life that is far from authentic. His journey to this point has been paved with good intentions, the current social and
*A copy was provided by the author for free in exchange for an honest review*

Good story. Decent characters. I think it's semi autobiographical (I could be wrong on that) so that's awkward to say. It was a nice read, but I don't know that I loved it. Maybe my mood was just off or something but I didn't fully connect to the characters as people. They were nice. They weren't caricatures. They were flawed. They were human. The writing is good, the story this book tells should be compelling and
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Genre: MM Romance
Steamy?: Mild
Cliffhanger?: No
Can be read as Standalone?: Yes
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


This was a quick, well-written read that was raw and heartbreaking but really gives all the feels (and a HEA). No words were wasted in the telling of this story and it successfully hit the major points it intended. Even though there were a couple minor silly questionable details when it came to the
Faye Kennedy
A story set in 1986s told with 3 POVs in first person. An okay story with Randy at the age of 32 coming out as gay which wasn't easy with a wife an child. His slow progress of exploring the scene and finding John and making a connection. Included with time jumps through seasons and the journey of all three of them. A time with AIDS in the community health matters of the time. suicide thoughts, gay virgin, and aghast more.

Randy 32 with a wife and family couldn't take being gay.
John a paramedic
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Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed draws inspiration from the lives of gay men to craft stories that quicken the heartbeat, engage emotions, and keep the pages turning. Although he dabbles in horror, dark suspense, and comedy, his attention always returns to the power of love. He’s the award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction and is forever at work on yet
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