Best Gay Romance 2011 - book by Cleis Press Inc. - review by Airen Wolf

Best Gay Romance 2011

Book by Cleis Press Inc.

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Romantic and Filled With Hope

Best Gay Romance 2011 is a collection of stories filled with desire, longing, need and love. While they don't have the traditional hard edge of explicit erotica that doesn't mean they are boring! These stories are perfect for the romantic inside all of us.
Well written hope filled stories
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review
Richard Labonte has gathered together the very essence of romance in his collection for Cleis Press. Best Gay Romance 2011 brings together some of the most poignant stories I have ever read. They are so filled with hope, longing, joy and, for me, encapsulate the very essence of what romance means.

In One Funeral And... by Anthony McDonald a young man meets up with a cousin that he didn't really like as a child and discovers a deep and surprising love.

Liberty! Fraternity! Sexuality by Tyler Keevil takes us on a journey of self discovery as we watch the hero deal with his feelings for another male student. The ending twist left me smiling and pondering whether it is truly biology that drives our sexual choices afterall.

What would you do if you were 'different' and in a crowd of people who hated that difference? Would you stand up and defy the group or do your best to mitigate the consequences of your silence? In Pillion by Jay Mandal a young man is faced with just this dilemma.

I was particularly fond of the story, The Red Malo by David May. Mr. May takes us into his vision of a society where sexuality is not only embraced but celebrated. This is truly a romance tale with a special twist and this was easily my favorite story in the book.

In Baxter's SAPFU by David Holly the reader is treated to a double dose of prejudice. The hero meets a man who quickly becomes a lasting love but this man is a pagan and our hero is a schoolteacher. He is outed by a friend and the story takes a very nice spin. For me the story was about hope and overcoming prejudice with honesty and forthrightness.

Last Call At The Raven by Simon Sheppard left me sad and pensive. It is fairly difficult to understand and seems to have been finished rather quickly. Though I liked the story I was left asking more questions that I like to at the end of a tale.

The one theme that seems to flow through the entire book is a true longing for acceptance, companionship, love and desire. All the makings of a great romance story. The stories are full of extremely hot sex but there is a soft edge to the stories that I found appealing but also puzzling. I am used to a harder edge to erotica and this book opened my eyes to a softer more dreamy side of erotica that has whetted my appetite for more.

The book begins with a lovely introduction by Richard Labonte and ends with a short biography of each of the authors.
I have to admit I had a hard time reading this book and contemplating my review of it. It lead to some real soul searching as I don't have any problem reading and reviewing lesbian erotica.
I started to wonder if all my acceptance was, in fact, a sham! This was hard for me to discover because I have several good friends who happen to be homosexual. I thought about it long and hard and then realized my problem: I had misunderstood the premise of the book! This isn't a book of gay erotica it's a book of gay ROMANCE.
When I viewed the stories with this different mind set they became something more. The stories are so full of hope, and a sincere longing for REAL acceptance. They are romance at it's best, a hopeful and rose-y look at love.
My aha! moment changed my view of the book and it quickly has become a real favorite of mine.
Follow-up commentary
For a different look at love and sex from the perspective of a gay man you really can't beat this collection. Sometimes sweet, sometimes poignant it is well worth reading again and again.
This product was provided free of charge to the reviewer. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.
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Do you like this review?
  • danellejohns
    I heard that this one was different because of the "romance" portrayal. It has gotten me wanting to read it because of that. Thanks for the review.

  • fromazoo
    Great review
  • Jenny Smith
    Nice review
  • TransMarc
    Seems like an interesting, adorable book. Thanks for this review!
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