Troubles by GS Wiley
At the beginning of 1992, the world is gripped by an economic recession. Donal Cassidy is feeling the pinch at the London club where he works, and is in the midst of planning a truly memorable Valentine’s Day to try and drum up business. He’s distracted from his goal when his mother’s next-door neighbor dies unexpectedly, and her handsome nephew Diarmit Tierney moves in.
Diarmit is an Irish Catholic, which is less a problem for Donal than it is for his Protestant mother, who lost her husband to an IRA bomb. Donal’s convinced he and Diarmit can make their relationship work, until Diarmit reveals a secret which makes Donal rethink everything.
[I liked the cover without the shot glasses. Seriously, someone can’t see the overkill?]
Another great short story by Wiley but one that I think fairly screamed to be a full length novel. Perhaps not as there is no way of telling if a full length story would have developed and so on, but I was somewhat disappointed this was only a short story. However, it was a wonderful brief look into a relationship and characters with complex concerns and a few surprises. Deftly written and with romance and sensuality over explicit sex, the story allows the complicated elements to weave together with a great cast.
Interestingly I forgot this was set in 1992 and instead felt the concerns over economy and other issues within the gay community to be as relevant and fitting as the current atmosphere. Instead, I read this story as if it was contemporary and only later realized the dated setting, however, not to the detriment of the story. The story is told from Donal’s point of view as he struggles with a slightly dysfunctional but devoted family and the prejudices of his widowed mother. While Donal doesn’t allow religious differences to sway him, he does pause and have some difficulty with other issues that Diarmit reveals.
These issues are handled somewhat easily and without a lot of conflict or tension, perhaps a day or two of Donal thinking. Donal is logical and intelligent and thus likely to come to a positive conclusion on his own. However, he is swayed by the positive and casual support of his roommate and sister who almost brush aside the consequences and gravity of the complications presented. This is slight overkill for the story in my opinion as Donal is the only one presenting concern about the issues. This is especially where I felt a longer story would have benefited not only from a more thorough examination of these issues but the secondary characters and their opinions are wonderful and almost overpower Donal in such short scenes.
The character of Diarmit is less examined and really not as important as the issue he represents. This is unfortunate and another reason this story would have benefited from a longer story. But not to beat the point (I think I’ve expressed enough opinion about that!), this short tale offers complex problems and still manages to do so romantically. The potential darker tone of the story, however, is tempered with humor and whimsy in several ways from the roommate’s comments to the condom roses and the club itself, The Purple Cock.
Fans of Wiley will definitely want to read this story and romance readers will enjoy the issues presented, which are becoming more common but still somewhat rare in romance. I give Wiley credit for attempting to tackle them and still give a happy ending, all without explicit sex, and the outcome is a well written story with interesting characters that are only slightly overshadowed by the issues themselves. Check this out!
Get it HERE!