The Timpanist and the Stagehand

the Timpanist and the Stagehand
Title: The Timpanist and the Stagehand
Author: Ava Hayden
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: April 13, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary
Page Count: 75
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5


Ren Murphy is a stagehand. He’s also a loyal friend, a gifted musician, and an inspiring teacher—but most people don’t see past his job. Ren knows that crushing on the Oilton Philharmonic Orchestra’s principal timpanist, Christoph Theoharis, is a waste of time. Christoph brushes off highly eligible would-be suitors regularly. What chance would a stagehand have? Christoph doesn’t even notice Ren’s existence—until one fateful night when chance or luck or maybe fate gets Ren Christoph’s undivided attention.

Old betrayals overshadow both men’s lives, yet each sees something compelling in the other, something that won’t let either walk away. Ren and Christoph may be each other’s best hope of finding a happy-ever-after, but to do that they’ll have to forgive old wrongs. They’ll have to let go of the pain in their past before it destroys their hope for a better future. Most of all, they’ll have to find a way to believe—in possibilities and each other.

Short stories are hard to write reviews on. Shorts are like cupcakes next to a regular or tiered fancy cake. A bite, a taste, but not much more, and that’s by design.

The blurb summarizes the plot fairly well. Where I struggled was Timpanist/Stagehand started out a bit choppy and awkward, reading a bit like a magazine article that really doesn’t contain much substance other than to move the characters forward.

Ren’s early self-deprecation on a date seemed out-of-place, as if he was trying to force Christoph away before they even started and despite their mutual attraction. Christoph’s reluctance to talk about his roots, then turning around and opening up, seemed a bit rushed.

It was where Ren introduced Christoph to his parents that everything clicked into place and motivations and expectations blossomed. While the blurb infers that the issues are between the two men, I really think it was Christoph opening Ren’s eyes and heart to what he was missing that made the story. The added jealousy issue was a nice touch for a relationship just gaining traction without moving into the Big Misunderstanding category.

Once characters and plot settled into place, I thought this made for an enjoyable and quick read.

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Galley copy of provided by in exchange of an honest review.

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