Author: SC Wynne
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Rating: 4 stars
Type: Short Novel
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Life hasn’t been good to Francis Murphy. He’s survived twenty-one years of homelessness by hooking and taking handouts where he can find them. When the local shelter is vandalized, he’s forced to seek food at the Grace and Light Church, where he runs into the pastor’s son, Randy.
Review: When I first read this blurb I expected this to be a depressing book. I have triggers sometimes with these types of books but had no issues at all with this one. Anytime you read twenty-one years on the street it’s shocking when the MC is in his twenties. The tone was kind of grim for Francis but meeting Randy gives you some hope to cling to. I liked how the author managed to give us both of their perspectives even though it’s told from Francis’ POV. I definitely understood their struggles and felt invested in the outcome of their journey.
Francis is the son of a homeless druggie. He’s lived most of his life on the streets so he really doesn’t know anything else. Normal is a foreign concept for other people. He started earning money as a prostitute fairly young. It’s all survival in his mind. A few meals or a day out of the elements is as far ahead as he can think. He meets Randy and his parents while attending a meeting at their church solely for the purpose of snagging a free muffin and some coffee. A church that claims to want to embrace the LGBT community. Francis is understandably skeptical of them. He refers to them as “do gooders” who want to preach to him and change him. Francis soon realizes they’re better than most people he’s come across when they save him after one of his Johns attacks him. Not that he fully trusts them. They offer him a place to hang stay and warm food while he heals. Even offer him a job. All the normalcy should sound good but Francis has serious issues with self worth. He’s angry and skeptical. There’s also the challenge of being attracted to the Preacher’s son Randy. Who he thinks just might also be attracted to him.
I thought the internal struggle of Francis was pretty interesting. He’s so stubborn but you’re made to understand why he’s that way. He always questions help when offered. He sees himself as tainted but by no means hates himself. He just thinks he doesn’t belong in Randy’s world. Or living a normal life. Not to mention that he thinks corrupting the son of a preacher would surely get him kicked out of their home. Falling in love with one is out of the question. Nobody has ever loved him. It also highlighted how hard it might be to climb out of a situation like that. It’s easier said than done. The romance was fun but frustrating. Randy doesn’t want to want Francis but he can only resist it so long. He also wants to help him and doesn’t understand why Francis won’t accept it. Together it was all pretty compelling stuff. I enjoyed this book. There were some pretty funny and sweet moments to keep my spirits lifted through the bad. If you like stories about new beginnings for people down and out I’d give this one a try.