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WL's Mainstream Gay Book Reviews - 13. Honeymoon for One by Keira Andrews

I said I wouldn’t post another review this week, but sigh, I can’t help myself as I re-read this story in its entirety again. It deserves a review


“Clay: Did you know Australian don’t have sex?

Ethan: What do you do then?

Clay: We mate” :P 

I mentioned I liked Keira Andrew’s writing from Kick at the Darkness, this was the story that set it up for my interest in her books.

Corny jokes, a hunky older rugged Australian man with repressed homosexual interests, a lonely gay hard-of-hearing accountant who was cheated on by his boyfriend/ex-fiancé with his best friend, and enough cultural idiosyncrasies to fill a feature film, Keira Andrews became one of my favorite gay romance authors for a reason. There’s a sweet story of love, hope, and fulfillment that everyone needs from time to time to carry-on. I think that’s why I enjoy gay fiction, when it is written well.

The story starts off with Ethan, a young hard-of-hearing environmental accountant, who is overjoyed for his upcoming marriage and honeymoon with his long-term boyfriend, Michael, who he met in college. However, he comes home early the day before their wedding to surprise his husband-to-be and find him in bed having sex with Todd, Ethan’s best friend from college. Ethan is shocked to learn that the two of them, his entire support system ever since he began losing his hearing and learning he may eventually go completely deaf. Michael tries to offer Ethan a compromise with the idea of a Poly relationship between him, Todd, and Ethan, saying he cannot be monogamous only to Ethan and that he also loves Todd as well, but Ethan flatly refuses, despite his pleading and apologies, which he had to repeat due to Ethan’s hearing aids limitation. Ultimately, Ethan was alone and he felt completely loss, but he did not want Michael and Todd’s betrayal to define him, or push him towards depression again, having recovered only recently. Ethan decides to go to Australia as planned, which was intended to be his dream trip and honeymoon for the marriage that never happened. Parallel to Ethan’s story, Clay is a middle-aged divorcee in Australia, whose adult daughter, Sam, has been trying to get him to date other women after her mother left him after two decades years of marriage. Clay is not interested in dating anyone and focuses on his current job as a driver of a tour bus. Ethan and Clay’s paths cross on the scenic vacation, where Ethan’s need for assistance as a hard of hearing person and Clay’s natural responsive nature meld into a friendship that slowly blossoms into more between the men. After a series of events and mutual soul searching, both men reveal their feelings for one another, but Ethan has fears about his hearing issues affecting another relationship and Clay’s internalized homophobia from a lifetime of repressed urges create tension. Being a happily-ever-after gay romance, you know there is a positive ending, but I am not going to spoil it for potential reader. I’ll just say it’s cute and Ethan achieves the dream that he shared with his dead mother “Marrying the boy of his dreams”.

I loved the little idiosyncrasies and phrases that I learned from reading this novel. Simple things like Mackers being the Australian slang for McDonalds and the actual local name that Clay used to describe himself as a Banana Bender, an Australian native from Queensland. These things are appealing to people who value story context and cultural exchange from reading. I also learned a lot from reading this book about words that I have encountered before. The word Bludger to me had no meaning except as an Iron ball in Quidditch within the Harry Potter universe, but it turns out Australian English has an actual meaning, it means a free-loader, moocher, or loafer in American English. Other terms had far darker and more emotional resonance to me as a reader, I am referring to the word Queer. I never considered queer as offensive as being called a fag, which every gay, bi, or trans man may have been called at least once in our lives if our sexuality is known by a homophobe. However, I should have realized that anti-gay words even in English aren’t universal and time has changed the meaning of words. Queer nowadays is itself an identity for a group of people in our community, who do not wish to identify among the other groups with same sex interest or different gender identities. When I was younger, Queer was synonymous with the word “gay”, being used interchangeably like the famous TV show Queer as Folk, which originated in the UK. The story reminded me through its use of flashback from Clay’s perspective on why he repressed his sexuality that being a “queer” back in the 80’s-90’s was something negative to others, up to the point of being beaten by angry homophobic mobs in small mining towns in the Australian outback. The visceral use of that word and its connection with such a violent homophobic event that caused a young man to repress his innate sexuality left a lasting memory in me.

As you can see from my description above about his experience, Clay is an interesting character. He’s a 43-year-old man, who even has a 24-year-old daughter and a son of a few years younger due to his marriage to a woman at age 19. His wife and him never truly hated each other, but they never loved on another, because Clay never had “passion” for the relationship, it was just something expected of him by the society he lived in. He lived and worked in the mining towns of Australia, but after his wife divorced him and married a new man, he tried to change his life. He became a tour bus driver and began doing a lot of travelling. I know it’s a stretch in believability by some that a man can repress himself for decades and have a wife, along with children, but the story made it feel very plausible. Clay appeared to be a man unable to accept being in love, he was just mulling through life searching for something he was denying himself. His wife’s departure from him and marriage to another man, her lover, may seem harsh, but honestly, it set him on the right road to release his sexuality. When social norms no longer need to be maintained, our true self can come to surface. I like that concept in the character. I also agree with what his ex-wife said to him in support of his and her relationship, the idea that you only have “one life” to live and no matter what people may say or feel about you, it’s not their life or their choices. That’s a powerful coda for this character.

Ultimately, it was Ethan’s character and Keira Andrews nailed a disabled gay character’s mentality very accurately. Hearing impairment and vision impairment are parallel issues, because ultimately, the world wasn’t made for people like Ethan or myself. I’ve dated a gay deaf person before, so I am well aware of Ethan’s struggles along with my own. Most people aren’t assholes about how they treat folks with disabilities, they try to help by speaking louder for those with poor hearing or grabbing things for people with poor vision, but people like us might not want such treatment. Like Ethan, I get self-conscious as well, when people act like that. I know we need assistance with things, like Ethan keeps asking people to repeat themselves in the story due to his hearing issues, but people need to remember we’re human beings just like they are and you can’t apply what you think is proper to help us for what we need. Additionally, like Ethan being not fully deaf, I am not fully blind, we have both enjoyed higher capacity of our senses in the past. Ten years ago, I was attending rock concerts and going through laser tag mazes with friends; Ethan described going to clubs and concerts before the onset of his hearing loss. Being gay and having a disability is rough, Ethan isn’t a poster child for his issues. His story with references to his bouts of depression and desire to close himself in from the world is similar to my own experiences. If you ever wonder why disabled get depressed with the world, read this novel and you will understand, no one understands the pressure or pain of living in a world that can’t understand your issues. Keira Andrews portrays the struggles a hard of hearing person deals with very well, while also portraying insecurities and fears of those with disabilities.

My Rating: If I could give her more than 5 out of 5, I would. She nailed the gay disabled character down to the minor details that far too many people forget. She also crafted a beautiful counterpart character, who is patient, honest, and kind to a fault. If none of those interests a reader, the Australian culture with things like Cricket games and variant terms of the English language should give the world explorer joy.


I am most curious if Australian GA members have read this book and can tell me if Keira Andrews references on Cricket or Ashes series are accurate, I had no idea there was such a rich rivalry between Australia and UK over this sport.

Copyright © 2021 W_L; All Rights Reserved.
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