A.B. Gayle's Reviews > White Flag

White Flag by Thom Lane
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it was amazing
bookshelves: first-person-pov, glbt-romance

I really enjoyed White Flag. Having written a romance that touched on the wine industry and a straight travel, wine book with recipes, plus one that had fishing as an aspect there were quite a few hooks that brought me into the story.

There, though, the similarities ended. Our writing styles are very different.

The tone is very languid and the writing very melodius. Carefully chosen turns of phrases and clever word usage suited the concept that the narrator was a writer. The description and characterisation brought you into the world.

I am never one to criticise what a character is like, more how well the character is drawn and the way they fit into the story. This book had two minor characters the cousin and the grandmother. The younger girl's role was pivotal. Some readers may have found her involvement contrived, but I saw her as a miniature of her matriarchal grandmother. To me they were both fine.

It was pleasing to read a book where the sex was present but not described in detail. Just enough to carry the mood of the encounter and the impact it had on each participant.

The whole book was very cerebral with the long passages of conversation.

A common criticism of first person POV is that readers like to know what both people are thinking. Having also written quite a few in first I appreciated how well this was done. It made sense that the narrator, again from his background that involved interviews, would have enough skill to understand and read between the lines so he knew what the other man was thinking most times and conveyed that well to the reader.

I didn't need to get into Matthieu's head and using the cousin to spell it out in no uncertain terms near the end reinforced that.

I liked this book because it was different. It introduced me to a world without overwhelming me in detail. Something as a writer I need to learn. The author is also a lot better than me at getting into a character's emotions and feelings.

So in many ways, my high rating is an acknowledgement of superior technique.

If I had one criticism it is that I think it would have worked better if both protagonists were older. Mid thirties, even in their forties. Two men who had seen their fair share of life, with all its disappointments, so when an opportunity came along there was more urgency to act on it. More recognition that this was something different.

But this would then have been a different book. So I'll make it 4.5 stars rounded to 5.
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