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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Where the Allegheny Meets the Monongahela by Felicia Watson

Where the Allegheny Meets the Monongahela by Felicia Watson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (350 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Logan Crane’s life changed dramatically the day a blind fit of temper resulted in him accidentally injuring his wife. Although he’s now in an abuser counseling program, Logan cannot face the real source of his unhappiness: he’s always been attracted to men but has refused to accept it since witnessing an act of violence.

During his therapy, Logan meets Nick Zales, a counselor at a shelter for victims of domestic violence. Nick is understandably suspicious of Logan despite an immediate attraction to him. Logan feels the same attraction and faces a critical internal struggle as he finds himself falling in love with this enigmatic man.

Both men are haunted by unacknowledged ghosts and abuse in their pasts. How can they help each other heal if they continue to ignore their own wounds?

In Where the Allegheny Meets the Monongahela Nick thought he had a firm grasp on his life. That is, until Logan Crane, mechanic and abuser, rocked Nick’s world. Counselor Nick Zale is pretty firm on women’s rights and works against abusers. Yet his rigid beliefs are put to the test when Logan volunteers at the center. Although Logan is in therapy for an abusive encounter with his wife, he breaks all of Nick’s preconceived notions. Both men have a lot of issues to work out but they discover that being together may just be worth all the pain.

Where the Allegheny Meets the Monongahela is a complex and very complicated romance. The characters are not easy men but they are in some ways very relatable and blue collar. Logan is a mechanic dealing with his closeted sexuality, a wife and marriage he feels trapped in but kids he adores and misses. Nick has an ailing mother with dementia, brought on by domestic abuse when Nick was a teenager. Together they each much deal with their own internal problems and then perhaps work on being together.

The romance is the easiest part of the story as the two men get together and are genuinely happy and easy together. It’s the internal conflicts within each and the complicated relationships to a variety of secondary characters that cause all the tension and problems. The story is full of angst and low level drama while offering a vivid and detailed setting in Pittsburgh. The title refers to two rivers that run through Pittsburgh and each plays a role in the men’s lives.

The writing is very engaging and the dialogue tends to be rougher and reflect the local dialect. It creates a graphic setting that comes alive throughout the story and never lets your attention waiver. The only compliant is that the problems last up to almost the last page so there is very little calm time where the men can just be together and not deal with more complications. It would have been nice to see the men mature and get past this difficult time but perhaps that is for upcoming stories. Either way, those readers that like meaty, angst driven romances with very detailed city settings will be happily satisfied with this one.

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