Title: Twelfth Night (Love’s Labours #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Racheline Maltese & Erin McRae (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: August 12, 2015 – 68 pgs
Back in New York City at the conclusion of their show’s run, John is overwhelmed by his obsession with Michael and the difficulties of learning to date again after the death of his young son and his recent divorce. John gradually comes out to his colleagues, his football rec league friends, and even his ex-wife.
But when he invites his parents over for Christmas to meet the person he’s been seeing, the holiday—featuring Michael’s family’s amateur production of Twelfth Night—quickly turns into a French farce of potentially catastrophic proportions, forcing John to finally take the lead in claiming his evolving identity as he takes the next step in his relationship with Michael.
The story is entirely told in John’s point of view, so we only ever see the somewhat otherworldly Michael through his eyes. That’s part of what intrigued me in this story. I kept feeling frustrated with Michael because it seems at first that he’s erasing John’s bisexuality and expecting him to identify as gay. However, that’s not what’s happening, and when that’s revealed, it changes the whole perspective–and that’s why it’s important that it’s not in his POV; this is really John’s relationship psychology that we’re seeing. The moment when John realizes it along with the reader is definitely a highlight for me.
Other readers may get something else out of the story, and certainly fans of sensual, romantic stories will love this one even without being motivated by the underlying themes. For me, it’s the literary flair which makes the story worthwhile. This is incredibly well-written and nuanced; it’s simply marvelous.
Erin is a cofounder of Avian 30, a literary collective dedicated to narratives with magical and sexual realism. She delights in applying her knowledge of international relations theory to her fiction and screen-based projects, because conflict drives narrative.
She lives in Washington, D.C. with her partner and their two cats.
Racheline Maltese is a queer writer living a big life from a small space. She flies planes, sails boats, and rides horses, but as a native New Yorker, has no idea how to drive a car.
She lives in Brooklyn with her partner and their two cats.