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Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Tin Box by Kim Fielding

I have no words to how beautiful and yet heart breaking this story was. I loved everything about it, the romance which was there and yet wasn't the main focus, Bill's story (the one who wrote the letters in the Tin Box), the creepy yet mostly sad surrounding of the Asylum but mostly it was William's story. William who is 32 years old, soon to become a doctor (once he finishes writing his dissertation), have been married for 6 years yet with all of this life experience he has never truly LIVED before he took the job at the Asylum. He doesn't know himself, he isn't sure who he is or what he wants. Everything in his life has been somehow dictated even the things he thought he truly wanted. Now, on his own, in a silent decrepit buildings he finally becomes the man he wants to be. 

In a way the passage I just wrote above is enough. Enough for you to run and grab this book. It's OUTSTANDING. It's sensitive, it's funny, sexy, and yet it has a lot of sadness, and the feeling of loss. The romance was in a way innocent. As William is. Yet he and Colby are grown men and so they both need to decide what they truly want from one another for them to "work out". At first glance they seem so very different, there's something so joyful and free about Colby while William is the definition of repressed. Maybe it's just that, William NEEDING someone to set him free, while Colby needed someone to GROUND him, not because he is foolish, because he needs something stable in his life, someone who puts him at the top of the list, who cares for him and isn't just a responsibility for him.

I"m getting ahead of myself.. 

The story is told from William Lyon POV. He recently separated from his wife Lisa. It just didn't work. No matter how he wanted it to work. He is gay, has been and always will be, no matter what his religious family had to say about the matter throughout the years. He couldn't keep living this way with Lisa. He isn't the kind of guy to make her unhappy for years. He needed to leave her alone so she could build herself a better future. They had very little of their own in the years they lived together, both not having a lot of money. But as William left he decided to leave most of it with her, not wanting her to suffer more than she should. After all, it's HIS fault, he's the one who lied... He got them to this situation in the first place.. So he has been sleeping in his office for a while before his mentor suggested a very strange job.. Be the caretaker of Jelley’s Valley State Insane Asylum. The Asylum hasn't been active in years, the building needing more than paint, yet the institution who funds his stay made a nice small "apartment" inside the Asylum for someone to look after the property so it doesn't get vandalized (until they find the sums to fix it). The place is quiet naturally so it's the perfect surrounding for William to finish his dissertation and it's more than rent free! He is paid to live there. 

On one of his walks though the Asylum William stumbles upon a small tin box. Inside he finds letters a man named Bill has written to his lover. It was late 30s when Bill is arrested for sodomy and sentenced to the Asylum for rehabilitation from his perverse ways. In his letters Bill tells his story. His relationship with his family, his lover Johnny and the horrendous things he went through in the years he spent at the Asylum. It was more than just heart breaking it was excruciating because even though this is just a book, these things HAPPENED. To people who did nothing wrong but still had to suffer though these hellish places, mostly not seeing the light of day, dying all along in a place who doesn't even acknowledge them as human. 

Yet this book isn't just about William's sad past and Bill's horrific story - the light in the dark is Colby Anderson, the flamboyantly gay owner of the grocery shop and post office in the small town of Jelley’s Valley. For some reason Colby finds William to be of interest to him though at the beginning, William behaves a little bit like a douche to him. He doesn't know how to act, or what to say to this "kid", yet little by little his armor cracks and while he slowly reveals himself to Colby he also learns about Colby's life and past and through their time together he comes to understand not only who he is but also who he wants to be and who he wants by his side. 

This book had it all, quirky fun times between Colby and William as well as sad and emotional ones with Bill's letters, but also an awakening for William who starts to become the person he wants to be. There are a lot of things for him to figure out but with Colby by his side it's so much easier. I LOVED the way the story ends, it left me in tears thinking of everything that Bill went through, what William had to deal with in life and how "meeting" Bill changed him and made him take such a different path in his life, one that truly makes him happy and feels he is making a difference. 

PERFECTION. I couldn't ask for more from this book. I sure going to check out more of Kim's books! I think even if you are new to gay romance or worried about the sex, it is a bit on the light side so you should definitely give it a try. I thought it's going to be sad and gloomy, and while it WAS, it wasn't JUST that. 


Read on:
22-23 Sep 2017

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