Family Man by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton

FAMILY
Family Man by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton
Publisher: Samhain
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (260 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

Sometimes family chooses you.

How does a man get to be forty without knowing whether he’s gay? That’s a question Vince Fierro is almost afraid to answer. If he is gay, it’ll be a problem for his big, fat Italian family. Still, after three failed marriages, he can’t help but wonder if he’s been playing for the wrong team.

There’s only one way to settle it, once and for all—head for Chicago’s Boystown bars, far from anyone who knows him. Naturally, he runs smack into someone from the neighborhood.

Between working two jobs, going to school, taking care of his grandmother, and dealing with his mother’s ongoing substance abuse, Trey Giles has little time for fun, let alone dating someone who swears he’s straight. Yet after one night of dancing cheek-to-cheek to the sultry strains of Coltrane, Trey finds himself wanting to help Vinnie figure things out—no promises, and no sex.

It seems like a simple plan, until their “no-sex” night turns into the best date of their lives and forges a connection that complicates everything.

There’s nothing a big, interfering Italian family can’t fix. Vince is having a mild mid-life crisis. After three failed marriages, he’s wondering if maybe he should try playing for the other side for a while. He’s suppressed any and all feelings for men since he was a teenager but maybe now that he’s almost forty he can finally find his true self. Enter Trey, a younger man with a troubled family life but who may just be what Vince needs. Vince not only needs to come to terms with his sexuality and his real needs but also with his huge Italian family. A family that is determined to be involved every step of the way.

Family Man is a warm, charming story about two men that find love amid family drama. Trey has an alcoholic mother and a dependant grandmother while working two jobs and trying to finish college. Vince has an interfering family that is loud, large, and very opinionated. Falling for each other is pretty easy but making it work amid the chaos takes work. It’s a kind of work that is lovely to watch unfold. The two men have a great relationship with real chemistry and a nice progression. They are instantly attracted but don’t fall into bed right away. Instead that excitement and desire of first meeting someone with great chemistry is shown to great effect. Their passion builds slowly, step by step, in concert with their relationship. When the two finally sleep together, it’s easy to believe these two are deeply in love.

The writing really shines here with two styles blending well. The narrative alternates between first and third person (Trey and Vince respectively). The characters are three dimensional with a lot of flaws and strengths. They fit well together, leaning on each other and playing to each other’s strengths. There’s some nice depth to the issues brought up, dealing with addiction in the family and the fear of being gay in a very traditional and religious family. Vince’s family especially is wonderful and one of those amazing, annoying, but fabulous groups of people that seem too good to be true even with all their drawbacks.

It’s hard to find anything to criticize with such a well-written book. It’s ends a bit too easily and the family does take care of everything a bit too much. These easy resolutions do take some of the reality away from the book, but I personally didn’t mind so much. In the end I think fans of the author will really quite like this one and enjoy it for the heartwarming message.

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