Luke, by Jan Irving
A nice light, wholesome read: Two men and a baby from a gay perspective.
Book blurb: Wandering cowboy Luke Walker is at the end of his rope after his girlfriend abandons their newborn daughter. A terrified new father, he’s grateful to meet Dr. Morgan Gallagher. Morgan recognizes that he and Luke could help each other: Luke can rebuild Morgan’s property and land so Morgan can have the horses he wants, and Morgan can provide the younger man with a safe place to raise his daughter. In theory, it should work out perfectly, except that Morgan is instantly attracted to Luke—a straight man—and sharing the same cabin and caring for the baby is a more intimate arrangement than he’d imagined.
Available in Kindle eBook format.
Review by Gerry Burnie
As you may have noticed, I like western-genre stories. Classic westerns are my first choice, á-la “We Pointed them North: Reflections of a Cowboy” by Teddy “Blue” Abbott, but more contemporary depictions are enjoyable too, and “Luke” by Jan Irving [Dreamspinner Press, 2010] is one such.
It is a sweet little story about two men and a baby, which is a novel approach that could have been further developed for its uniqueness; nevertheless it adds a domestic touch to an otherwise standard ‘guy-story,’ and although the custodial circumstances—i.e. why Luke ended up with the baby—seems a bit incredible, it makes for an interesting twist.
This ‘on-the-edge’ credulity runs throughout the novella, e.g. how Morgan, a doctor, ends up on a broken-down ranch in the middle of nowhere; how Luke just happens to stumble onto it; how an erstwhile straight guy falls in love with another man; and why Zelda—the biological mother—wanders back into his life. Nevertheless, Ms Irving has been able to maintain a fine line along the fair side of plausibility—that safe ground for all authors.
The same might be said about the ending, which the author has wisely attached in the form of an epilogue, for it could just as well been omitted without being noticed.
Altogether, I congratulate the author for having written a plot-driven, western-themed story that doesn’t rely on homoerotica to sell it. Four stars.
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