Title: Choosing Home (The Call of Home #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Alexa Milne (Pride Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: June 14, 2016 – 187 Pages
You can never escape from yourself.
Zac McKenzie is an ex-professional footballer with a secret he gave up his career to protect. Several years ago, he fled to his home in the North East of Scotland to avoid being outed as gay. Now, he owns a successful hotel and restaurant, but is it time to finally come out into the open?
Seth Pritchard feels he is damaged goods. He comes to Scotland to escape memories of the accident that left him injured, his bullying step-brothers and a life of lies.
For their whole lives, Zac and Seth have denied who they truly are to themselves as well as to others. When they meet, each man is forced to confront his fears and tear them down one by one.
This is such a great story but it also one of those stories where your breaks for one of the characters.
Seth just broke my heart. His life growing up with his step brothers was nothing short of tramatic they way they treated him and the cruel things they said and did to him. They left him pretty much hating himself for being gay out of fear of what others thought of him. Not only just that, but he was also left not being able to be intimate with anyone after everything his step brothers did to him. My heart broke over and over for Seth but at the same time I think he is so much stronger then he even realized. He works through his issues and becomes a stronger man that is capable of standing up for himself and he is able to truly start living and loving for the first time in his life.
Zac has always been worried about coming out but not because of his family or friends but because of the profession he was in. Seeing Seth face his Demons made it easy for Zac to be strong and decide it was time to stop hiding and time to start living in the open.
These two men made a beautiful story together, horror parts and all. They proved that love can and will conquer all. This is a great book by Alexa and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series.
This is my first book by this author. I had high hopes for the story, as I love stories about sports, but it was at times difficult to relate to Sean (one of the MC’s). The other MC, Zac I was totally able to relate to. We never got much of the background story about Sean, only bits and pieces, whereas Zac we got lots of background info. The plot was excellent and I was really hoping to get more from the book then I did. The author definitely has a way with describing a scene and I loved how she described Scotland (someplace I’ve always wanted to visit). I loved the secondary characters especially Abby and Zac brother, Ellis. I will definitely read the next book in the series hoping this was just a one-time thing.
There is a fantastic sense of place in this story set on the Scottish Coast. I enjoyed the characters and sense of community, but this didn’t entirely work as a romance for me.
I enjoyed Zac’s story – the closeted footballer returned home to set up a holiday lodge. His family, his kids, his friends and employees all contribute to the wonderful sense of family and community surrounding the man. The details of Seth’s life are less clear through the book and because there is so much mystery surrounding him, I found him harder to relate to.
I had to re-read parts of this story to fully understand why I failed to fully connect with it. Ultimately, I settled on the dialogue as my biggest problem. The conversations between these characters feels stilted. I would expect casual slang from a retired footballer and Zach’s unnaturally formal speech prevents him from becoming a fully developed character for me. Similarly, Seth might be the most formal 30 year old I’ve ever encountered. When this formality meets the bedroom the result is entirely awkward and not at all sexy. Ultimately, there is something stiff and formal about both men and it just doesn’t work, especially for Zach.
Also, there really aren’t many closeted 30 and 40 year olds left in the UK. As a professional footballer, I was almost able to understand Zac’s situation. Seth’s story might have been believable in the US or twenty years ago in the UK but it failed to ring true for a 30 year old in the UK today.
Ultimately, I really wanted to love this story more than I did. I loved the premise and the setting but the execution just didn’t work very well for me.
Originally from South Wales, Alexa has lived for over thirty years in the North West of England. Now retired, after a long career in teaching, she devotes her time to her obsessions.
Alexa began writing when her favourite character was killed in her favourite show. After producing a lot of fanfiction she ventured into original writing.
She is currently owned by a mad cat and spends her time writing about the men in her head, watching her favourite television programmes and usually crying over her favourite football team.