- Reviewed by: Diane Nelson
- Print Length: 566 pages
- Posting: Erotica, gay romance
- Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (June 22, 2014)
- Book Provided by: Author
- Author: Grace R. Duncan
- Posting Date: July 23, 2014
- Rating: 2.5 Star
Well, I hate to say this, but this review is going to be a lot shorter than No Sacrifice. Reading like dailies off an unedited TV show (which in point of fact a substantial slice of the book is indeed that), it chronicles daily life, in all its excruciating minutiae, for each character (together and apart), day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. The book is too long by 200-300 pages—that’s how much unnecessary telling is involved.
I am a speed reader. It took me more than two days of concentrated effort to get through the narration, and that was with skipping vast sections of text at the end.
And, to tell you the truth, that’s a damned shame, because No Sacrifice has potential.
This is a coming out story, a story about recognizing that the end of a relationship can also become the beginning of something different, something supportive. It’s the journey of Patrick, a minor character on a cable television show who discovers that he is indeed bisexual when he finds himself first attracted to his best friend Rhys, and then to Chance, the sound technician on the show. Unfortunately, the groundwork for Patrick’s bisexuality is after the fact, and given the level of detail in this book, it stands out as a glaring error in character development. Actually, it’s almost unbelievable after listening to Patrick carry on about how he fell for his wife, Emily, and his continued anxiety about keeping the relationship going despite their physical separation.
Chance has been out for a long time. He is comfortable with his sexuality, just not comfortable with Patrick-as-a-minor-celebrity. He questions his worthiness incessantly. The chemistry between the two men is nice, their sexual encounters growing out of a base of friendship. When they decide to move in together, I was thinking… good ending.
There’s also Patrick’s four year old son—a precious, precocious bundle of energy who is totally accepting of Chance as his second Daddy. And if you guessed there’s a very long narrative arc about dealing with a four year as a single dad, you wouldn’t be wrong.
The characters are not so Hollywoodish as to be rank caricatures, the tension between Patrick and his best friend, Rhys, was interesting (up until the end when Rhys has an epiphany I wasn’t buying), the gay supporting cast lent some flavor and spice to the overall tale. The families on both sides of the Patrick and Chance relationship … not so much.
There is conflict driving this story but it loses its significance under the burden of too much information. The supporting cast can and does highjack the story at nearly every turn. The scenes of affection are earnest and mechanical with lots of telling the reader how it feels, not showing the emotional outcomes.
The detailed narrative arcs for the TV show, Deception, sex scenes were unnecessarily complicated. And if Alan Ball (of True Blood director/writer fame) had a clone, it surely would have been Jack who pushed boundaries to such an extent it was a miracle the Vice Squad didn’t raid the set. If you want to label something “non-consent”, look no further.
Virtually all of the minor characters, except for a brother or sister here and there, are either just too doggone nice and understanding, or wildly, irrationally opposed (like Patrick’s mother who makes his coming out about her and not about him). It approaches the level of saccharine and pushed my suspension of disbelief to the breaking point.
By the inevitable happy ending, I simply could not care enough about Patrick and Chance or their process of recovery. The Epilogue alone would constitute a complete short story.
It is labelled erotica and gay romance. It most definitely does not fulfill the criteria for erotica content.
No Sacrifice is a book written for women, about but not for gay men. I am certain, if you love epics with every step in every day laid out in a linear fashion, awash in redundancy, this might be a read for you. If you love marathons and getting your money’s worth via word count, this is a book you might like. If you like fluff without substance, this might be a read for you.
But in terms of competent storytelling, it fails on nearly every measure. And it shouldn’t have. That’s bad editing.
The Book Description:
Patrick has taken his acting talents from high school all the way to a role in a major television show. But as the show progresses, his life of absolute certainties crumbles when he finds himself reacting to the kisses of his male costar. He refuses to accept it, reminding himself he’s married and a father—and thus, straight.
One night he goes to drink his worries away, meets Chance Dillon, and can’t take his eyes off the man. After having a little too much alcohol, he spills his problem to Chance, who helps him realize there’s something other than gay and straight. Patrick’s new understanding of his bisexual identity helps him sleep better—until the next day, when he discovers Chance is a sound technician on the same set.
As their friendship grows and Patrick’s marriage ends, he recognizes a possibility for much more with Chance. But Patrick isn’t ready to be out the way Chance has been for so long, and when the matter is taken out of Patrick’s hands, he pushes Chance away to spare him the mess Patrick’s life has become. By the time he realizes his mistake, it may be too late.
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