Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review of: The British Devil by Greg Hogben – 5 Stars

This month’s review is The British Devil by Greg Hogben, published from Dreamspinner Press in July 2012.  Available here:

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Ah, international love.  Ok, I know, I’ve been accused of being an Anglophile.  I come by it naturally, I grew up with it.  I probably know UK-based characters better than US ones, frankly.  Not that I have anything against US characters.  Of course not.  They remind me why I love UK characters so much (as Violet Crawley might say).  And besides, what accident of birth other than being an American would allow me to own such a thing as these?

Anyway, the point is I gravitate to these things, but I still do so with a critical eye (unlike most Yankee anglophiles who just gush over all of it indiscriminately).

That’s why I really adored Greg Hogben’s The British Devil.  It’s one of the most realistic depictions of trans-Atlantic relations I’ve seen.  Probably because Hogben has been there, for the most part.  Though I hope for his sake he’s not had to put up with everything the other Greg has!

“The other Greg” being Greg Stephens, air host and long-distance boyfriend of Danny Taylor, all-American cowboy and seaman (hey, folks, two HOT fetishes in one guy?  I’ll buy that!)  Greg and Danny manage to make their long-distance relationship work a lot better than most of us who’ve been there have, mostly because Greg gets to jet around all the time and he’s able to stop by Texas a little more frequently than some people who’ve had cowboy lovers….

Ok, so Greg and Danny, they’re aces.  They just have one teeny-tiny hitch in their get-along.  Danny’s mother is a little… well, I won’t say psycho, just religiously fixated.  She seems to be fairly accepting that Danny is gay (he is her golden child, after all), but she’s not so accepting of him actually being in a, you know, gay relationship.  Particularly when it’s with a British heathen.  And, geez, the lengths that lady goes to drive a wedge are great.  To enumerate them, one might think it’s a little OTT, but once you’ve “met” Vivien Taylor, trust me, you’ll understand that for her it ain’t no thing.

I genuinely enjoyed this story.  The characters are totally realistic and, moreover, so is the story.  I just love it when I pick up something that makes you feel like it’s not telling a story but relating an experience. 

Here’s hoping The British Devil soon becomes an historical novel when DOMA is no longer an impediment to the equality of bi-national couples.

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