Review: Acrobat by Mary Calmes

Review: Acrobat by Mary CalmesAcrobat by Mary Calmes

Genres: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Published by Dreamspinner Press on May 6, 2012
Pages: 239
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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four-stars  

I saw the blurb on this book and just had to read it.  And having read it?  Very satisfying!

It started with a nice introduction about the cover art.  The painting that is the cover was what inspired the author to create the whole story.  I just love learning how a book is born.

This particular story is an m/m romance, but it is one of the unique ones in that genre (at least that is my humble opinion).  I have to read through many book blurbs in this genre to find the heartwarming ones since I am partial to slow build relationships and I like the inclusion of family and daily circumstances that make the characters and their stories more real to me. Not to say, I can’t enjoy any other pace and plot style, but this is my favorite type.  I guess what I just said can be construed as a promise or a warning depending on what YOU enjoy.  Don’t get me wrong in thinking that Acrobat was boring because it was not.  There were some definitely exciting and passionate moments, but these were also sprinkled with the main character, Nate, doing a lot of thinking and re-accessing his life.

The story is about a man in his mid-forties who is a college professor.  He is well-liked and has a good life with plenty of family and friends, but he is missing something.  He thought he found that something with his former partner, but his former partner is a police officer who was not willing to come out of the closet because of his career.  Nate has an interesting family dynamic in that he is a gay man with an ex-wife who has been and still is his best friend and a loving, accepting grown up son.  Nate and his ex, Melissa, only got together because one night’s mistake when they were teens made a baby.  Now, Melissa is hap’ly remarried and nagging Nate to find his true love.

Things start to happen in Nate’s sedate life as he is involved in taking care of the lonely teen boy, Michael who reminds him of his absent son, living across the hall with his much-absent, formidable and enigmatic, Uncle Dreo.  At the college, Nate is forced to deal with faculty jealousy and politicking and the sudden return of a former student, Sean, has the potential to give his love life a boost.

But its not until the Chicago mafia gets involved that his life really takes a turn.

As I mentioned before, the plot starts out slowly really delving into Nate’s character before it goes to some more active scenes.  There are several mini plots that all tie-in to Nate’s life and the story switches back and forth between them though not in a confusing way.

The descriptive background offered by different aspects of Chicago: the neighborhood and apartment building, the college, the restaurants and entertaining and the Italian traditional family stuff with Michael and Dreo was fascinating and just added to the richness of the plot.

The characters were great.  As I got to meet each of them, I liked the way each one had a backstory and were real instead of just background for Nate.  I really like how Dreo was written.  There was a little disappointment because I wanted more of him.  He was larger than life.  For most of the book, his thoughts are unknown and we just have those well described facial expressions and body language to give us hints.  Unfortunately for Nate, we as the readers catch on before he does so I spent some of my time muttering to Nate (yes, I called him names even though I like him- very bad of me I know).  Michael was a fun character when he was in the scenes and I loved his interactions with Nate.

So for those who like a slow build romance with lots of backstory, this is definitely the book for you.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.