Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: Not All Angels Have Wings
AUTHOR: NL Hartmann
PUBLISHER: Wilde City Press
LENGTH: 78 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 1, 2016
Jaded and wary, ballet star Alessandro Woodman has been sleepwalking through life since his lover left him with an empty apartment and a broken heart. One night, Sandro accompanies his best friend to an art gallery where he finds a spectacular painting for one of his bare walls and a strange young man who he cannot get out of his mind.
For his part, shy artist Greg Klein arrives in the city fresh from the Midwest and lands a one-man gallery show even before he begins art school. The two miss one another that first fateful evening, but a twist of fate gives them another chance.
I usually try to start off reviews with a quick summary of what happend in the book (basically like if the author had written a worse blurb than the one they actually did and then stuck it on top my ramblings). Mostly I do this because some people (like me) don’t actually bother to read the blurb (or the blurb is not handy in other places where this is posted) and before you start talking about the book, it is generally a good idea to give the reader some clue of what the book is about, so they have some context.
This book is about Greg and Alessandro.
As far as I can tell that is pretty much the whole of what this book is. Greg is a painter, Sandro is a dancer, and this book is a collection of scenes from their lives (or not-lives). I honestly have no clue if there was any plot in this book. It shows a progression of time, sure, but there in no unifying theme. It is not about new love, not really, not about learning to live in a couple, not about grieving, not about the loss of your dreams, not about the supernatural world. Sure, it has all those elements in it, but it is like someone just started pulling themes and trope out of a hat and decided to see what happens.
(hint: it doesn’t end well)
And what does happen is not even what I would consider a romance. (And massive SPOILER!!!!)
One of the character dies, half-way thru this book. Out of nowhere and with no reason that I can even vaguely imagine. Then it basically leaps a year in the future, and the other dude has basically worked all his shit out and I was left screaming WHAT THE EVER LIVING FUCK!!! into my empty bedroom.
I have a secret (well, not any more) weakness for the whole ghost-lover trope. It is like the ultimate in doomed relationships. And when it works…my god, do I adore it.
That is not this book. This book, the dead guy comes back, and basically tells his lover that they only way they are able to be together is in death. That they only way they can love together, is in death. And I want to know:
a) Who thought this was a book that should be sold under any romance tags? Not all books that contain love stories are romances, and if they are not then they really need to say that up front because my expectations of romance are pretty damn small, but very important. This does not have a HEA, it doesn’t even have a HFN, unless you count waiting to die so you can be reunited with your loved one. Which leads me to my second question…
b) Who thought the world needed another tragic-gay-love-story? Really. I want to know. Who looked around at the world today and thought, you know what, I don’t think we see enough sadness and pain, and what the world really needs right now is to see the futility of love, especially in the LGBTQIA community. I get that the events of this week have colored my view on a lot of things, and I get that his book was published nearly two weeks ago, but no one with any sense is going to say that life for us was all sunny and roses before Orlando.
I don’t require anything of authors but to tell a good story, tell a well-edited story, and to be mindful of the impact of their words on others. This book failed on two of those, and was rather iffy on the a third.