Monday, April 25, 2016
Review: Until September by Chris Scully
As a teenager, Archie Noblesse clawed his way out of the poverty, heartache, and abuse of the reservation and left his family behind. Desperate to shake the shadow of his past, he reinvents himself as Archer Noble, an outspoken blogger and controversial author who lives only for himself. But when his beloved sister dies, Archer is saddled with guardianship of his niece and nephew.
Elementary school teacher Ryan Eriksson is devastated when his best friend Marguerite is killed, leaving her two young children orphaned. Helping Archer with his new responsibilities eases his grief, but when Archer offers him custody of the children, Ryan’s left with an impossible choice: get the family he’s always wanted, or respect Margie’s wishes and convince Archer to give parenting—and his heritage—a chance.
To buy time, Ryan promises to stay for the summer, hoping that Archer will change his mind and fall for the kids. But Archer’s reluctant, and the growing attraction between him and Ryan complicates matters. Legal decisions must be made, and soon, before Ryan returns to school. But with hearts involved, more than just the children’s future is on the line. ~ Goodreads
Source: Copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Until September could have been a generic playboy meets school teacher/ cutsey kind of romance, but Scully really elevated the story to much more.
I was thrown off a bit by the hero at first. Archer is a gay man who makes a living deriding gay marriage, gay parents, monogamy, and the idea of family.
"The notion that marriage and, by extension, monogamy is the ideal is laughable. Monogamy doesn’t even work for straight people" - Proclaims Archer on national television.
Basically he sleeps around, often in public places, and then goes on to talk about it on his blog, books and tv...railing against the *gay agenda*. So yeah - not very likable or relatable.
We learn more about his upbringing with his sister Marguerite, as a Cree, on an a Canadian reservation. It's not pretty but Archie Noblesse did everything he needed to do to support his sister and escape and eventually become Archer Noble. But at a heavy price.
He's currently pretty happy with life until his sister dies, leaving him her two young children. Something Archer has no desire or expertise to deal with. Only with the help of Margie's good friend, and the children's school teacher, Ryan, does Archer hang on.
Ryan dreams of love, marriage and family and Archer wants to hand the kids over to him so he can get the hell out of there and move on with his life. While that sounds ideal - Ryan knows it isn't what's best for the children - or Archer.
If you're anything like me, you're rolling your eyes at this point. Man-whore with tragic past, sweet, sappy schoolteacher and two kids....bleh...but seriously this was SO well written and not as angsty or cliche as you would think it would be.
Instead of relying on emotional manipulation with the children or non stop sex scenes , Scully allows the characters time to breath and grow, making this a surprisingly touching story that evolves at a realistic pace.
I particularly liked how the author wrote Archer's Aboriginal upbringing and reconciliation with his past while incorporating it with the children's need to learn theirs and their mother's heritage. It's both tragic yet hopeful.
I hope people take the time to read the Author's Note on Aboriginal Affairs after reading. While the story is at its core a romance - her note expands on the topics touched on in the book and I found it fascinating and informative.