Title: Mended with Gold
Author: Lee Welch
Publisher: MLR Press
Publication Date: November 17, 2017
Genre: LGBTQ, MM Romance
Length: 94 pages
Rating: 3.5 Stars rounded UP
A photographer with post-traumatic stress disorder falls for a comics artist on a wild New Zealand beach, but can he find true love when he feels so wounded by life?
Everything changed when the bomb exploded. Forty-five-year old, Alex Cox worked as an international photographer until a deadly explosion left him with post-traumatic stress disorder. Emotionally wounded, and desperate for a sense of safety, he’s run all the way to wild and remote Kahawai Bay, New Zealand.
Under the worst possible circumstances, Alex meets Joe, a shy young comics artist. Joe lets Alex into his playful, gentle world of comics, and soon Alex is falling for him, hard. Alex longs for more. Joe is reticent. But is it shyness? Or does Joe not want a much older lover with ‘issues’? Or is something else keeping them apart?
This is a tender and uplifting story about creativity, adversity, true love, and comics.
♦ Personal Thought ♦
Boy oh boy, what a treat. Mended with Gold is a provokingly deep and touching tale of two broken souls. As an introduction to Lee Welch’s writing this novella certainly set a good precedent of what to expect from the author’s works.
Narrated by Alex in third person, this novella conveys the MC’s insight from the get go. Alex’s altered view of a safe world – after the incidental horror on his last assignment – and his restlessness, they leap out of the page. I also love that the story doesn’t dramatize the tragedy too much; there’s a bit of flash back here and there that caused panic attack but nothing too overblown. On the flip side, the length of this novella doesn’t give much opportunity to divulge the Alex before he arrives in New Zealand other than as an aside.
And then there’s the down side of the single POV, it’s that I don’t totally feel Joe’s side of the story. It was implied at first, and then revealed in a conversation. However, I feel the impact is not as powerful as – say – if readers allowed into Joe’s insight through his POV.
That said, as it is Mended with Gold captures the golden core of the story (pun intended). Overall the story reads like the silver lining in cloudy days. The age-gap, slow burn romance between Joe and Alex works beautifully and feels genuinely real. It doesn’t necessarily shoo all the characters’ issues away – both of them have a long way to go to heal – but the hopeful note at the end is more than enough. For this reader, anyway.
Advanced copy of this book is kindly provided by the author via Signal Boost Promotions in exchange for an honest review.