Hickory, Dickory, Dock, Morgan Starr
Publisher: The Carter Seagrove Project
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Coming Out After Marriage, Contemporary, Romance
Length: 72 Pages
Reviewer: Kazza K
Purchase At: amazon.com
In Hickory, Dickory, Dock, John is fighting the compulsion to come clean and admit to wife Lucy that he is gay. It’s a turmoil which is driving him more and more insane. Only John’s love for their three children is keeping things together.
An encounter with Ralph, a work colleague, and meeting Sean propels John to the moment of reckoning.
John has been married for ten years and is increasingly unhappy and stressed. He and his wife, Lucy, have three children but their marriage is not one of passion. Lucy tends to be a force of nature about the things she wants and an increasingly disenfranchised and distant John doesn’t help the marriage at all. John knows he’s gay, it can’t be pushed down any longer. He loved Lucy when they married – she was vibrant, pretty and female, all of which seemed the right thing for him to buy into. He still loves her, but not romantically. She’s the mother of his children and he doesn’t want to be the cause of her unhappiness by coming out. However, with his desire to be who he is rising, wanting to avoid anything sexual with his wife any longer, he knows he’s going to have to make a choice. He has to come clean but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.
After paying the bill, we saunter home hand-in-hand. I do love her. I love my children. She loves me and they love me. But they love a fraud, a lookalike, a fake … I will break their world if I tell the truth. I will break if I don’t.
Sean is a new waiter who starts working at their local restaurant. John notices how cute he is, what an arse he has as he walks away from their table. A couple of circumstances occur that put Sean back into John’s life, twice with his family. When he comes out to Sean first Sean is a sympathetic ear for John because Sean is also gay. Both of the men want something but John tries hard to push the feelings away. He hasn’t come out officially, he’s still married, and he can’t start anything with Sean….but he sure wants to.
“Bye, Sean!” the troop pipes in.
Once he hops out and as we re-arrange the back seat, I cop an eyeful of his groin. I blush, get an erection, feel sick and feel my head snap back as the knot of the noose suddenly strikes me under the chin.
John has boys-trips with his sons to Worthing on the weekends. It started as something he did to give Lucy peace that has now graduated into something for him to get away from Lucy. John works longer and longer hours at the office, going on business trips to London, getting professional satisfaction and using it to get away from Lucy. On one occasion the new man that has been hired in London helps make up John’s mind that he can’t stay married and he can’t remain closeted. Once he has oral sex with Ralph he knows he can’t lie to Lucy or himself any longer.
John finally comes out to his wife, who isn’t particularly gay-friendly to start with, who makes the separation difficult with near non-existent access to their sons. John’s grandfather, who is in his eighties and wonderful, supports John completely. It also helps that his grandad really likes and accepts Sean. Eventually John and Sean find their rhythm as a couple, as John feels more comfortable and Sean remains patient and understanding.
There is an overuse of semicolons and exclamations in this novella. I make mention of this because it pulled me out of the story at times as I found them to be rather in my face. I felt Lucy was deliberately shrewish to make it easier for the reader to feel empathy for John. It isn’t necessary, just show us the person John fell for in Lucy and write him totally sympathetically. It would have liked this novella longer to have given full depth to all the characters because they deserve it. An excellent example being John’s Grandpa. He’s awesome. I would have loved more Sean. He’s an enigmatic but interesting character and he had a backstory that was only touched on and was begging to be explored in depth.
Although this is my second Morgan Starr novella, it’s actually his first story and a good job at that. I find the author writes interesting characters in pretty realistic, everyday situations. It’s not easy coming out when you’re married, someone gets hurt no matter what, and that’s compounded when you have children. What will they think? Will they accept a gay father? And typical for any non-custodial parent, what will happen to your relationship with them? I enjoy this storyline in contemporary reading. I also find I like the author’s style – the writing is easy to read and engaging while being rather stripped back. It’s also sexy in a minimalist way. If you like contemporary romance that is quick and easy to read and makes you turn the pages, where you can engage with the characters and sympathise with the circumstances they find themselves in, then I recommend Hickory, Dickory Dock. 4 Stars!