Editor: Lee Benoit
Genre: M/M romance, historical, steampunk, contemporary
Length: 275 pages
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A guest review by Jenre
An interesting mix of stories all on the theme of finding your place in the world.
“Is there a place for me in this world? Someplace I can call home?” Home isn’t always the place we start from. Sometimes we have to search long and hard to discover our true home. Other times we leave home, only to discover that our home place calls us back. We may seek far and wide for a home, only to find we’ve been there all along. And sometimes, we have to stand and fight for home.
In this full-length anthology featuring contemporary, historical, fantasy, and steampunk stories, some of Torquere’s favorite authors bring us stories of gay men seeking, finding, rediscovering, or struggling to find that one place in the world where they truly belong.
Each of these nine stories treads a unique pathway, but at the end of the journey, these talented authors bring their characters home.
I picked up this anthology because it contains stories by several of my favourite m/m authors. Whilst non of the stories were outstanding, they were all well written and worth reading. The theme of the anthology is that of finding your place in the world, finding somewhere to call home. Different authors interpreted this differently with some focusing on home as a place, some as a person, some as family and friends and it was interesting that all the stories were unique and had a different spin on what constitutes home, safety and love.
Normally when I write a review for an anthology I select one of two stories which were my favourites. This time I’m finding it hard to do that because I enjoyed them all and there isn’t one story which stands out as my favourite from above the others. What struck me mostly was how well the variety of genres worked in the anthology, so if you’re looking for a couple of good contemporary set stories then Comeback by G.S. Wiley, which looks at a talented movie star who’s thrown away his potential on drugs and high living, and is now cleaned up and ready to fight his way back to the top, is one story I’d recommend. I liked how we get to see the change in Felix, experience his insecurity over having to act without the cushion of drugs, and also his remorse over the way he treated his lover Mark. Another contemporary which worked well is Light the Fire by J.L. Merrow which takes an adorable twinky guy, Matt, and pairs him with dour Kurt. I thought the way that Kurt tries to deny his attraction to Matt quite amusing, but also liked that the story had an undercurrent of sadness as Kurt tries to overcome his fears.
Fans of Eden Winters and P.D. Singer are not going to be disappointed with their offerings. In The Prodigal by Eden Winters, we are shown the story of Mark, one of the minor characters from The Angel of Thirteenth Street. Although I knew how the story was going to end, it was still nice to see things from Mark’s point of view, and to take the story forward into Mark’s future. Return to the Mountain by P.D. Singer takes anti-hero Gary, a man who conned both Mark and Allen (from Fall Down the Mountain) out of their savings. He turns to Allen and Mark when he’s at his lowest ebb, and although I never really warmed to Gary, despite his attempt to redeem himself, it was nice to read another story set with familiar characters.
The other genres were well represented too. Those who like historicals will love Pack Horse by Lee Benoit, set in the wilds of the US during the 1930s. The description of place was vivid and lively and I liked the awkwardness of the relationship between Wen and Henry. Oilsmouth by J. Rocci is a steampunk set in the same world as Dregger’s Deep which was reviewed by Kassa here, and tells of two unlikely heroes from different backgrounds eking out a livelihood in the outcast town of Oilsmouth. Finally, if spooky paranormal goings on are your thing, then The Magic of Moving Houses by G.R. Richards was a mix of bizarre and sweet and told the story of two men forced together when their houses disappear into thin air.
Unlike many anthologies on the same theme, I didn’t get bored reading this one because each story was so different to the others. If you’re looking for an eclectic mix of stories with a similar theme, all of which are interesting and well written then I recommend that you pick up this anthology. You won’t be disappointed.