Author: A.C. Burch
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Rating: 5 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Fleeing New York City and an abusive partner, would-be writer Marc Nugent finds work at HomePort, the Provincetown mansion of Lola Staunton, a fabulously wealthy recluse. Aided by an attractive-but-unattainable artist and an all-too-available cross-dresser, Marc investigates accusations of rape and murder that have estranged Lola from a childhood friend for more than sixty years. Past and present converge when a long-lost journal reveals tales of infidelity, adultery, and passion that mirror the life Marc has recently abandoned. When his ex-lover arrives in search of revenge, Marc must confront his past, his notions of family, and his capacity for love.
Review: One of the things I love best about the experience of writing blog reviews is coming across books I may not have discovered otherwise. The HomePort Journals is one such book. What a flawless gem! I believe this is the first published book for this author… who now goes on my auto buy list.
The HomePort Journals is one of those books that sucked me in from the get go, and surrounded me with a mesmerizing atmosphere . The Provincetown setting, in particular the estate of HomePort, were vividly portrayed. The eclectic – and eccentric – characters felt as though they walked right off the pages and into my life. The author is a long time Provincetown resident, and this book resonates with his obvious love affair with the town.
This is a love story which spans generations and includes many forms of love. While there is an important romantic pairing definitively portrayed, the romance between these two men is not a sole focal point. The book is a glorious mix of contemporary, historical, mystery/detective with a dash of paranormal. The colorful cast of characters residing at the HomePort estate each has some dark history of their own which gets revealed through the course of the story. I love that the characters were a mix of young and old, gay and straight (and in between!) As the story and relationships progress, trust and love develops between them all and leads to the fruition of brighter days. Ultimately this is a story of people suffering old and fresh wounds, healing, vulnerability, respect, trust, and new beginnings.
Marc, an aspiring writer, finds himself in Provincetown one rainy autumn morning. His only possessions are his car and whatever he tossed into it when he fled NYC and his boyfriend the night before. He happens to meet up with the tiny yet formidable Dorrie, a very spry and insightful elderly woman. The meeting turns out to be life altering for Marc. Dorrie insists he return with her to HomePort, the estate where she has lived her entire life, and thus puts Marc on a collision course with HomePort’s past and his own future. From the moment that Marc met Dorrie, I sensed a kind of crackling in the air, something that said this meeting was not just accidental, some larger ethereal force was at work to make their paths cross. This feeling continued at points throughout the book, and definitely proved true, as Marc began to sense gentle nudges from otherworldly presences urging him to investigate some incidents at the estate which occurred decades prior. Meeting all of the colorful residents of HomePort as Marc met them was a treat. I felt as one with Marc throughout the story. As he learned about the history of his new home, employer and neighbors, I felt his intrigue , confusion, and amusement. As Marc made discoveries, goofed up, and
forged ahead, I was right there at his side. As he let down his guard, faced his demons and helped others face theirs, I was laughing and crying with him.
I want to spotlight how brilliant and captivating I found the writing in this story. The author utilized a very interesting combination of tone and POV. At times the story is being told in present tense and reads almost like a screen play. At other times it is written in third person. During many passages the reader is reading what Marc has been currently writing in his journals, or what The Captain, a former resident who has gained Marc’s attention, wrote in his journals some 70- 80 years prior. This worked brilliantly for me. I felt an even deeper connection to Marc and also to The Captain via use of this style. The dialogue in the story felt very real, very true to the characters. There are many poignant and serious moments in this story fleshed out perfectly by the author’s gorgeous writing. The juxtaposition and intertwining of mistakes, misjudgments, and relationships by present day people alongside those from decades prior was a brilliant theme. There was also a grand infusion of snark and humor along the way, which hey, there ought to be in life! And there was no escaping it with the cast of characters in this story. A great mix. The one explicit sex scene in this book was woven beautifully into the story. It served in the most wonderful manner to convey the building trust and relationship between the two characters. Emotionally stunning. In fact, that describes the entire book in two words.
I don’t always enjoy endings where every loose end seems to get “wrapped,” however in this book it happens… and it works extremely well. I felt the entire story was destined to that very type of ending, what with all the intertwined elements and several characters on the road to finding and/or making peace with their lives. I indeed found it satisfying to see them all to their peace.
I highly recommend this book. Especially if you are looking for a delightfully unique, engrossing, and satisfying read.
** Warning. There is one incident of non-con sex also involving drugs which occurs prior to this actual story and is reflected on briefly by one of the characters during this story.