Review of Felicia Watson's "Where the Allegheny Meets the Monongahela"
When I first saw the title of this book, my eyebrows jumped in surprise. It's not every day I find a M/M romance story set in my town (the 'Burgh!) let alone one with the names of two of our beloved but unpronounceable rivers right in the title. After reading the blurb, I was definitely interested in more than just the title. This sounded like quite a difference from most romances and I was eager to see how all these unconventionalities worked together. Under Felicia Watson's authorship, they worked perfectly. As a lifelong, native Pittsburgher, I was really thrilled to see that Felicia understood the city well enough to know that when you set a story in Pittsburgh, you don't just have a setting, you have a whole character to bring to life. That's what Pittsburgh is, a character in and of itself. It was a great experience that made the story especially real for me, especially since some of the settings are in favorite local neighborhoods of mine, and one is actually half a mile from my home! The actual human characters are just as real and outstanding. They are all exactly the sort of people that make up a city like this - genuine people, faults and imperfections and insecurities all included. The romance between Logan and Nick starts out as a wary one and is quite unlikely, each man being on his guard around the other. They both have some real personal issues to contend with and Felicia doesn't sugar coat any of that. This story could be an allegory for Pittsburgh life in general. It is a gritty, sooty tale of two men who are immensely proud but not always comfortable with themselves, who have some bitterness about their past and doubt about their future. It's not at all your usual love story, it's far more real, but just like Pittsburghers, what we lack in "glitz and glam" we more than make up for in heart. "Where the Allegheny Meets the Monongahela" is excellently written and compelling on several levels. The characters are real and sympathetic, and the setting alive. I started reading on a Saturday afternoon and finished on Sunday morning (only stopping to sleep since that Sunday was Super Bowl Sunday!) Logan and Nick are a testament that love doesn't need a pristine place to flourish, it grows just as strongly in the cracked sidewalks and Belgian bricks of steep city streets as anywhere else!