Publisher: MLR Press
Length: 27,000 words approx.
A photographer with post-traumatic stress disorder falls for a comics artist on a wild New Zealand beach, but can he find true love when he feels so wounded by life?
Everything changed when the bomb exploded. Forty-five-year old, Alex Cox worked as an international photographer until a deadly explosion left him with post-traumatic stress disorder. Emotionally wounded, and desperate for a sense of safety, he's run all the way to wild and remote Kahawai Bay, New Zealand.
Under the worst possible circumstances, Alex meets Joe, a shy young comics artist. Joe lets Alex into his playful, gentle world of comics, and soon Alex is falling for him, hard. Alex longs for more. Joe is reticent. But is it shyness? Or does Joe not want a much older lover with 'issues'? Or is something else keeping them apart?
This is a tender and uplifting story about creativity, adversity, true love, and comics.
You’d never know after reading Mended with Gold that it was this author’s first M/M novella. With smooth writing that drew me in completely, this story was emotional and sweet, the characters easy to care about, and the angst level just right to have me rooting for Joe and Alex to get their happy ending. It’s a bit of hurt/comfort—for both of them—as well as an age gap story, and both facets are handled quite well even with the short length of the story.
I really did quickly come to care for both Alex and Joe. Alex with his PTSD and Joe with the accident he was in previously that affects him so much emotionally—they both are continually battling their own demons, and both a partially hiding away from the world in this very small town. Their relationship evolves slowly, with them becoming friends first (even if they both fantasize of more without letting each other know) and growing close like that before eventually moving on to more. Even though the length of the book might seem like it would lend itself toward faster relationship development, at no time did I ever feel like it was moving too fast. The author did a very good job of writing the passage of time without making the story feel rushed.
There’s very little physical contact for the majority of the book—until close to the end when the emotional level really spikes and everything finally comes together for Alex and Joe. There’s a lot of emotional pain for them both to work through, but they are actually perfect for each other in that respect, and their pairing felt comfortable and natural even with the almost twenty year age difference.
Mended with Gold was a very solid 4-star read for me, and is a great start in the genre for the author; I’m really looking forward to reading more from her in the future. While there’s not much naughtiness for a large portion of the story, what is in there still has me recommended this for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.
Lee Welch wrote her first book aged seven (a pastiche of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) and first had an idea for an m/m romance aged twelve. She loves books and comics, and when she's not writing, she'll probably be reading. Her favourite authors include Ursula Le Guin, Graham Greene, Linda Medley, Dylan Horrocks and KJ Charles. By day, Lee works as an editor and business communications adviser, mainly persuading people not to say 'utilise' when they mean 'use'. Her job has led her to work in areas as diverse as mental health, nursing, accident prevention and the criminal justice sector.
Lee loves to hear from readers. You can find her at:
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