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While the plot of D.W. Marchwell’s Sins of the Father was very good, some of the writing style left me a little cold and wondering why the author made such shifts in tone.

The plot isn’t your typical boy-meets-boy romance, and that I enjoyed. Charlie was in a relationship for more than a decade with Jesse, who died in a car accident two years before the opening of the book. Charlie is also the product of a broken family–his father was in prision and his mother died when he was young. Charlie’s friends and next door neighbors try to fix Charlie up and eventually make a match with James. James also has a father in prison and when he was young he heard his father kill his mother.

Can these two men with significant baggage make a life together? That’s the meat of the story and it’s a good one. Not only do the guys have common ground with criminal fathers, Charlie also knows James’ father because Charlie volunteers at the prison James’ father has called home for some 30 years. In fact, Charlie is trying to help the father reconnect with his son, a project that started before the fledgling couple met.

It’s a compelling story, and not the usual gay romance, which is great. Charlie has to get past his relationship with Jesse and move on. James needs to decide if he’s going to reconcile with his father while trying to gain the trust of the man whose also working on his father’s behalf. It’s complicated and Marchwell weaves the story well making it quite the page turner.

The story breaks down a bit at the end. After a plot climax, there’s a chapter that’s designed to move time. If this was a movie, it would be a montage with a musical score. As something that’s written, it completely takes the punch out of the book by getting a litany of things that happened as time passed. By the time the action picks up again it’s hard to get back into the flow. The epilogue is also jarring because the point of view shifts for the first time in the book.

Lucilky the book’s merits outweigh the flaws, making Sins of the Father still worth the time.

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