Out of the Ashes

Olivia Duncan Craig
Out of the Ashes
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ODC Press
Release Date
July 2012
Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ

Young Noah hadn't any idea how quickly his world could turn upside down. One minute, he was living, happy and secure, with a doting father and grandmother to look after him. The next, his father is dead, his grandmother is confined to her sickbed, and the only other family he has left is his new stepmother and her two children.

Taken far from his home, worked hard and hidden away from the world, Noah hasn't much to look forward to, growing up. Until one day, Matthew, a handsome neighbor, comes riding up to him like a knight on his charger.

It's love at first sight, at least as far as Noah is concerned.

Now all Noah has to do is make his Prince Charming aware he exists, triumph over his evil stepmother, and claim the love he so richly deserves. He may not have a fairy godmother helping him, but magic can come in many forms. The only question is--will it be enough to give Noah his happily ever after?

Book Review by Lana A (reviewer)
Dec 03, 2012   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
151 people found the following review helpful
I love fairytales and was really looking forward to reading this one. A gay Cinderfella set in our time sounded good, right? Strapping cowboys are added in the mix!

There was a boy named Noah and he lived with his father and grandmother and their horses in a nice house. His mother died and his father decided to marry again, a woman named Elaine, who also lost her spouse and had children of her own, a boy and a girl. A few weeks after their marriage, Noah's father dies and he is left with Elaine and his grandmother, who also suffers an illness and so it's up to the young Noah to take care of her, when Elaine allows it.
Elaine moves them to Texas, where she is from, and there Noah's life changes and not for the better. While he is reunited with his grandmother, they are more or less prisoner in the new house. Noah is not allowed any contact with other people, he doesn't go to school and learns all that he knows from his grandmother.

One day, while helping with the horses, he meets Matthew and is immediately fascinated by the young man. Years go by, no one searches for Noah and his grandmother, no one comes to rescue them. Noah grows up with only his grandmother's love to support him, otherwise he is abused by his stepmother and their help and not just emotionally. The abuse becomes more prominent after Noah sees Matthew a second time and is caught while watching Matthew.

Matthew comes from a rich family and Elaine's children try to be friends with him but never manage this. Still they are invited to a party in honor of Matthew's homecoming and it's there that the grown up Noah meets his crush for the third time and manages to catch his attention.

I honestly was prepared to love this story. Cinderella is one of my favorites and there are more then one gay fairytales with this theme, which might be the crux of the problem—I've read better stories. I miss the emotional development as well. So they see each other and immediately are in love? Matthew is the first person that Noah has spoken to, besides his grandmother and his stepmother's family, in years! Why exactly did they fall in love is still a mystery for me. It might have been better if the story was focused on Noah and only told from his perspective, so that the read could become more connected to him. As it is, I was left skeptical of Noah's feelings and about the probability of the plot.

Also, Noah's grandmother must have some friends, why did no one ask after them? Why didn't she tell Noah to go for help, call the police, social service, anyone to help them?

All in all the story was alright, but missing something special to be more than average. There are still some questions that are left unanswered and the happily ever after doesn't sound believable. It still is a nice read if one is in the mood for fairytales set in Texas, since I don't think there are many fairytales with such a setting.
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