Family Man (CrabbyPatty’s Review)

Title: Family Man (2nd Edition)
Author: Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 11, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 206 pages
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5


Sometimes family chooses you.

At forty, Vincent “Vinnie” Fierro is still afraid to admit he might be gay—even to himself. It’ll be a problem for his big, fat Italian family. Still, after three failed marriages, it’s getting harder to ignore what he really wants.

Vinnie attempts some self-exploration in Chicago’s Boystown bars, far from anyone who knows him. Naturally, he runs smack into someone from the neighborhood.

Between working two jobs, going to school, taking care of his grandmother, and dealing with his mother’s ongoing substance abuse, Trey Giles has little time for fun, let alone dating someone who swears he’s straight. Yet after one night of dancing cheek-to-cheek, Trey agrees to let Vinnie court him and see if he truly belongs on this side of the fence—though Trey intends to keep his virginity intact.

It seems like a solid plan, but nothing is simple when family is involved. When Vinnie’s family finds out about their relationship, the situation is sticky enough, but when Trey’s mother goes critical, Vinnie and Trey must decide whose happiness is most important—their families’ or their own.

First Edition published by Samhain, 2013.

Family Man was perhaps in the first handful of books I devoured when I started reading M/M romance a few years back. I enjoyed the slow burn as thrice-divorced Vinnie explored his sexuality and began a relationship with Trey. In reading the second edition of Family Man, I’m reminded of why this story stuck with me over the years, and how it continues to resonate.

With his background of a huge solidly Catholic Italian family, it takes Vinnie a while, but he finally realizes that while he’s always dated lots of girls, he has always also noticed men as well. This revelation flies in the face of a lot of what Vinnie holds as gospel as a strong, macho Italian male / provider / dominant sexual partner. As his sister Rachael tells him:

I finally I know this has to break every piece of the Italian macho code they programmed into your DNA, but let me be the first to inform you that gay men can be pretty macho too.

And if Vinnie has issues, Trey has got his own … in spades. Thrust into being the “man of the household” and working 3 jobs to support his grandmother and alcoholic mother, Trey has a lot to handle for a 25-year-old. I love the slow pace of their relationship, and their chemistry positively sizzled. I understood Trey’s anger at his mother and how he has had to deal constantly with her denial and whining. However, at times the pace of the book felt a bit too slow, IMHO. I enjoyed the fairy tale ending of the book, but I would have liked to see an epilogue a few years in the future. A solid 4 stars for Family Man!

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Family Man provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend. My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh ... not in my wheelhouse, but I'm a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre. Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more. A few "badges" from NetGalley: 100 Book Reviews Reviews Published Professional Reader