Midlife Crisis, by Audra North
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: August 28, 2017
Cam McGhee grew up like any other small-town Texas farm boy: he played football, went to church every Sunday, and married his high school sweetheart. But thirty-five years after he said “I do,” Cam finds himself nursing a beer in a gay bar, thinking about what might have been.
Dave Montoya is confident, self-assured, and cautiously single. But when he meets shy, uncertain, and clearly-still-not-out Cam in a coffee shop in Austin, his reservations about getting seriously involved again disappear. Cam is everything he’s looking for in a partner . . . almost, anyway.
No matter how much Dave wants him, and how good they are together, Cam can’t bring himself to openly embrace the life he was meant to live. After all, when his secret finally gets out, he faces the very real possibility of losing everything that kept him going for the first fifty years of his life, just like he’s feared for so long. But with a little faith—and a lot of love—his dream of living fully, truly, as himself might finally be within reach.
POC/Person of Colour
While it didn’t work for me on every level, Midlife Crisis has some very nice things going for it.
For me, the main attraction is Cam and Dave. Do you know how unusual it is to read about characters who are older than you? Okay, maybe it happens to you young’uns all the time, but as I hurtle towards a certain ‘golden’ age, it’s incredibly rare that I come across a book about two people who have some mileage on them. It was a refreshing change to say the least.
This is quite an emotional book, told entirely from Cam’s perspective. He’s a widower with two grown children. He owns his own business, which he has built from the ground up and he still lives in the same town he grew up in. By all accounts, he should be comfortably settling into middle age. So why does Cam find himself in a bachelor apartment in Austin, far from his friends, family and small-town life?
When Cam finds himself in the position of being able to explore the part of himself he has always kept hidden, he meets Dave, a single guy of a certain age who makes his heart pound from the first moment Cam sees him.
He sauntered in and was paying for his coffee and a copy of the paper when a loud, masculine laugh caught his attention. Cam turned to see who made made such a bright sound…White teeth against tanned skin…The beat of his heart. short dark brown hair shot through with gray…Time. Stopped. It was every cliche.
Cam has no intention of staying in Austin permanently and certainly has no intention of coming out to his family, but spending time with Dave is making him want things he thought he would never be able to have. When circumstances force him to choose between going back to his old life, or forging a new and unexpected one with Dave, Cam has to be brave enough stop being the person everyone expects him to be and finally become his own man.
I though the storyline in Midlife Crisis was quite lovely. I loved Cam and thought his coming out story was done in a respectful and gentle manner. Dave was the perfect first boyfriend to share all of his ‘firsts’ with; first date with a man, first kiss with a man, first sexual encounter with a man. They were both very tender and lovely with each other.
The thing that stopped this from being a 4 star story was the pacing. The first 80% is quite slow, which isn’t necessarily a problem if the story unfolds in a way that keeps your attention. Unfortunately, it was bogged down with constant flashbacks of Cam’s life with LaVerne which, while providing a thorough backstory, took me out of Cam’s storyline with Dave. Added to this was a very rushed final 20% that tied things up rather too neatly for my liking.
All in all, this is a very nice story about two very nice people who really deserve to be happy. I wanted to love this book more than I did, mostly because reading about older MCs make me very happy, but the most I can muster up is solid ‘like’ for it. But since we don’t get enough books with interracial relationships and silver foxes, I’m still going to recommend it. You won’t get a lot of fireworks from this story, but it will give you some warm, fuzzy feelings. And hey, sometimes that’s just what you need.
Audra North is a contemporary romance author of more than twenty romances, including the Stanton Family series, the Hard Driving series, and the Pushing the Boundaries series. She is the owner and publisher of Pink Kayak Press, which focuses on the publication of diverse romance works. Winter Rain, a Pink Kayak Press anthology, won a gold medal in the 2015 Independent Publisher Awards.
Audra enjoys speaking to writing groups and at industry conferences. She is also an avid jogger and loves running marathons. She has three children and lives with her family outside of Boston.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.