THREE 5 Star Review for Five-Sided Heart by Max McGowan #MM #Romance

CoverTitle: Five-Sided Heart
Author Name & Publisher: Max MacGowan (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: May 16, 2016 – 230 pgs


Noah Trevelyan has lost his moorings. Disowned over his sexuality as a teenager, he hasn’t been back to his home on the Outer Banks since his fisherman father kicked him out. But when he returns for the Old Man’s funeral, he discovers his father left him the house and boat in his will. Noah must choose whether to stay or go, but he won’t be alone. There’s Ian, working to overcome the emotional scars left by a domineering ex-boyfriend, and Ty, a cheerful housekeeper who’s struggling to take care of his Alzheimer’s-stricken aunt. There’s Joshua too, running from the destruction of his old life, and Gabriel, who was once beaten and left for dead, and doesn’t know how to survive on his own.

Will they find in each other the strength and courage to keep living—and learn, together, how to love again? A polyamorous relationship is the last thing any of them expected to find in the Outer Banks, but it might be what they need most, and it might even be their redemption—if they can keep their group from breaking apart under the pressure.

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I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, I am usually not into polyamorous relationships but this one just worked. Each of the five men had something different to bring to the table in the relationship and without one of them, it wouldn’t have worked. Noah, kicked out by his dad when he came out as a teen comes back for his dad’s funeral. Noah’s dad leaves him his house and boat which shocks him. On the way to the house Noah comes across Ian, Ty, Gabriel and Joshua. Ian is outspoken and getting over his jerk of an ex. Ty is running his aunts cleaning business, Gabriel was abused and left for dead and Joshua is fresh out of jail for a crime he didn’t commit. These five men are so different but work so well together and when they all come together it is beautiful. You can feel the love each of them has for each other and it was simply a beautiful story.



ometimes it takes more then one person to make a relationship whole. In this case it takes five.

Five different men come together that are total opposites with different pasts.

Noah is the long lost son who was kicked out by his father when he was a teenager for being gay. He returned home for his funeral and expected to leave again right away. But the best laid plans do not always happen that way and sometimes when those plans don’t turn out the way they are planned, but that is sometimes for the best. Noah is the steady one in the relationship. He is able to neutralize a disaster before it happens or he is able to calm a situation.

Ian is a mother hen. He is able to take care of those around him and he is able to make those around him feel the love and compassion he has in him. They feel safe with love because of him.

Joshua is the steady one. He is there to stand up for those he believes in and he helps them fight their demons and realize their worth. Even though he has a hard time doing it for himself.

Ty is the one who brings out the laughter and lightheartedness for those around him. He makes those around him feel joy and see things in life in a different way.

Gabriel is the one that brings out the beauty of things for others. He can take what most would think is trash and turn it into a thing of beauty.

These five men together create happiness, love, dependability, family, beauty, and so much more. They have their ups and downs but the five of them have each other no matter what.

This is an amazing story about how five people who were strangers and came together to make a family. It is a beautiful story and I enjoyed every minute of it.



I have to admit that I expected a steamy, sexy read, but I was completely unprepared for (and pleasantly surprised by) the depth of emotion or the quality of writing in this story.

Each of the five men in this story is beautifully developed. While this felt like Noah’s story at the start, it soon belonged to all five men. All of the characters bring secrets and heartbreak to a relationship that offers acceptance, healing and comfort. I loved the unique stories and histories of all of these men and I really admire the way the author made five such different men so compatible and ultimately made each of the five men essential to the relationship.

I loved the men’s tiny island home and the characters on the island. The OTT storyline with Ian’s ex-boyfriend wasn’t really necessary, but it didn’t detract too much from the rest of the story. Starting with a funeral for a man that several of the characters knew in very different ways was both a brilliant hook and a believable spark for the connection between the men.

There are few authors who manage to write polyamorous relationships without either fetishising the connections between the characters or painting a very negative picture of polyamory for readers. Here, Max McGowan manages a believable and moving relationship between five characters. I am looking forward to reading more from this author.



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Max MacGowan is a work in progress. They’ve just turned forty, and are determined not to go gently into that good night. They identify as nonbinary genderqueer, and prefer they/them pronouns. While Max lives in North Carolina, they daydream constantly of Seattle and Portland and all other colorful points West. In the meantime, they’ll satisfy themselves with coffee and trying every recipe that piques their interest on the Food Network. While they can be quiet, friends will tell you all that still water can’t quite hide Max’s quirky personality, Or maybe it’s the ever-present puckish twinkle in the eyes that’s really to blame.

Max has a fantastic time writing male/male romance, and is especially fond of polyamory, found families, love in unexpected places, friends who become lovers, and romantic comedies. They’re owned by two rowdy tomcats who take pains to make sure their owner doesn’t ever get the status confused.


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