Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Fragile" - Review

Available from Dreamspinner Press.

This delightful tale of man-love was quite a revelation. It’s the first I’ve read of Monika Krasnorada. Indeed, I believe it may be her first published work, but in “Fragile” we find an author with a remarkably astute eye and ear.

The story deals with the dilemma of Andy, the doctor for an American football team. He’s comfortable with his sexuality, but fear of consequences has kept him from coming out to his team. Surrounded by strapping young men as a matter of course, he also seems to have developed a level of detachment, which is why his intense attraction to Coach Sheridan seems to blindside him so hard.

The coach, for his part, finds himself in an even more difficult situation. He’s carved out a good career and life around the very masculine field of men’s team sports. There’s arguably no institution that presents itself as more potently anti-gay. As such, it’s a darn awkward place for Coach Sheridan to realise that for the first time in his life, he’s attracted to another man.

Ms. Krasnorada gives the situation delicious urgency by making this Andy’s last day with the team. Given that impetus, the story moves along at a spirited pace, and allows a healthy lowering of inhibitions. The kind that only comes with the belief that you have only one chance to act.

Both characters are well-formed and believable. The author has created a touching inversion in the dynamic between the two men. Andy is sure of, and comfortable with, his sexuality but is afraid to express it to the man he loves. Coach Sheridan exudes traditional masculinity in his appearance and behaviour, but his confidence is whittled away by his feelings for the young doctor.

This story doesn’t sidestep the potential issues a pairing like this would face, either. Instead, the author skilfully uses the coach’s background and the ghosts of his former prejudices to raise the pace further.

The physical relationship, when it arrives, is charming and sweet, but turns spicy very quickly. The men are very good for each other, and with each other. The scene moves fluidly and it was a joy to ride along with the guys.


Monika said...

Thank you for just an amazing review. I am really humbled by this.

Willsin Rowe said...

That's sweet, milady...but you should be proud! It's a delightful tale.