Nathan Burgoine's Reviews > Best Gay Romance 2009

Best Gay Romance 2009 by Richard Labonté
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Mar 14, 2010

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bookshelves: anthologies, glbt

In Richard Labonté's introduction to BEST GAY ROMANCE 2009, he makes mention that of all the romantic stories included in the tome, none involve marriage, even now that it is legal in Canada and some of the States.

Instead, to me, the theme that popped out among all the tales was instead the notion of the wounded. From physical wounds (T Hitman's "One," Simon Sheppard's "Coming Back to Me," and Shanna Germain's beautiful "What We Leave Behind") to emotional scarring and losses (J.M. Snyder's painful "Afflicted," and Jay Mandal's lovely "Chiaroscuro"), it seems that romance is a tale best told by those who've had loss and suffering.

This doesn't blunt the delivery, and indeed, there's a fair mix of erotic to the romantic, and there's some sweet and happy tales mixed in as well ("The Baker," by Neil Plakcy, is charmingly cute) for those who enjoy their romance with a dash of sugar.

For me, the two tales that stole the show were Jay Mandal's "Chiaroscuro" and Mark G. Harris' "As Sweet by Any Other Name." Mandal's beautiful progression through a relationship born, bloomed, and fallen, and the connection to a younger generation, was a delight to read. Harris' doughty ability to spin prose with a sly humor turns even the wounded and love-shy hero of his tale into someone you admire, and his witty plot leaves you grinning.

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message 1: by Jay (new)

Jay Hi, Nathan. Glad you liked my story. Jay

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