We have Andrew Grey in the house today. Come and check out our review of his latest book One Good Deed, if you’ve ever experienced or would like to know what it’s like trying to fit into a foreign culture then this is the book for you.
Title: One Good Deed
Author: Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Published: 10th February 2014
Genre: M/M (contemporary)
Rating: 4 Stars
Luka Krachec immigrates to the United States to find his cousin dead and his cousin’s wife hospitalized after a terrible accident. He meets Peter Montgomery at the funeral. The American seems nice and captures Luka’s attention when he offers to help him with his English.
Peter has spent most of his life believing he shot his father at age six, and his family uses his regret and overwhelming guilt to keep him under their proverbial thumbs. Peter does his best to make up for what he did by helping others, and agreeing to help Luka with his English yields something amazing when they hit it off.
When Peter opens up to Luka about what happened when he was a child, Luka senses some holes in the story and suspects Peter needs some help, so he approaches the head of the psychology department at the college where he works. Neither expects to open a long-barricaded door to secrets, denial, and family manipulation.
This story for me was not only about the romance, but was about forgiveness and coping with grief and fitting into a new culture.
Luka immigrates to America and leaves Serbia behind him. His cousin has sponsored him and everything should be plain sailing with his entry visa and green card. However, when he is met at the airport by Peter he finds out that his cousin Josif and his wife Bella were in a car accident. Josif tragically died in the accident and Bella is in hospital lying in a coma. This knocks the poor young man for six and his first occasion in the US is to go to his cousins funeral.
From the very beginning I liked Peter, he was sympathetic, kind and took Peter under his wing. He is a social worker and offers Luka English lessons to help get started in the US. So the arrange to meet on a regular basis and start their English lessons. Well, the English lessons soon turn into something a lot more romantic and the attraction grows.
Oh the difficulties of landing in a foreign country with a foreign language. Believe me I so know how Luka felt as I have done this myself coming to live in Germany. Learning the language really is a must if you are ever going to integrate, be accepted and cope with living and working in the country that has now become your home. Andrew writes this brilliantly into the character of Luca. Although the book is entirely in English, you know exactly when Luka is trying to speak English or talking in his native language Serbian. Also the improvement in Luka’s English is skilfully done and you see and feel how his language skills progress through the book.
As a language teacher myself I could associate entirely with Luka and his language learning difficulties. When I became conversational in German it opened up a whole new world to me, when you live in a foreign country and don’t speak the lingo then you remain somewhat a cultural prisoner of your own making. This opening up was also brought nicely across in Andrew’s book and when Luka trusts himself enough to start to communicate with his colleagues at work a whole new world opens up to him.
A little suspense is built into the story too; Serbian government officials who are not happy that Luka immigrated are obviously following him. Luka is a geneticist and had worked on some confidential projects in Serbia that the Serbian government obviously don’t wish the US to get hold of. Although the paperwork for the US is all in order, Luka has the problem that his family sponsor in Josif is now deceased. This puts a big question mark over his right to stay in the states and the worries of facing deportation. Well, I can only too well understand those fears, especially when trying to deal with mountains of bureaucratic paperwork in a foreign language. Ask anyone who done this – a daunting prospect to say the least.
He is infatuated by Peter and although their relationship is mainly driven by Luka, Peter has is issues. Peter refuses to believe he could ever be happy, being in love and in a relationship. He doesn’t consider himself worthy of happiness. This at first I found a little strange, but gradually soon find out that there is a deep rooted sense of regret and when Peter tells Luka what happened to him when he was six years old, his behavior and the way he thinks of himself become totally clear and understandable. That was a real eye-opener and all I could think is how could someone carry so much guilt around with them for so long.
But when you meet Peter’s family especially his mum and sister, then you understand that all his life he has been trying to make amends with no effect. His mother is a real bitch, sorry. I sometimes have a problem with these stereotypical portrayals of bitches for mothers in stories as they can become terribly clichéd, like being the root of all evil for a lot of gay men and their hang-ups. But here it is necessary to the story to understand where Peter is coming from and after learning what happened to him, yes you will have just cause to hate this woman as much as I did.
Bella wakes up from her coma and has to be given the news that her husband is dead and she had missed the funeral. Oh my, what a trauma for anyone to have to go through. However, we realize that when Luka was in Serbia he also lost his partner Misha and could feel exactly for what Bella was going through. Grief is a long process, but we also see Bella trying to fight every day to get back on her feet and Luka remembering his Misha and giving hope and strength to Bella at the same time. In actual fact Luka turns out to be a tower of strength all round. He also helps Peter, by pushing in the direction of a psychologist to come to terms with his past. This is where Peter learns through hypnosis that what he has been blaming himself for all his life wasn’t his fault and his family had been dumping their guilt and grief on him all these years. Even I was absolutely bloody livid at this stage. Peter goes through a whole gamut of emotions, but eventually has to face his family with the newly learned truth.
In the end time heals, all is forgiven, but maybe not forgotten and now it’s time to look forward. The book ends on a wonderful note of happiness and hope for the future. Everyone gets their HEA on this story ~ lovely!
A Word from the Author
One of the questions that I’m asked quite a lot, is where my ideas come from. Quite often I don’t really know and answering from somewhere in my demented brain, just doesn’t cut it. This morning, I was asked to write a guest post for Sinfully Sexy reviews. I do quite a few of these and sometimes, like right now, I have trouble coming up with a topic. My mind is a complete blank. Today is Sunday and it’s the one day of the week when I try to turn things off and just be quiet. I haven’t written a word other than this post all say, which is very unusual for me. As my regular readers will attest, I tend to write a lot. But today everything is quiet. Then it hit me. I’ll explain where an idea came from.
See last night I was up very late. I went to bed at my usual time, but my mind would not focus. That happens sometimes. I had an idea for the next Love Means… story and it would not let me go. Love Means… Patience is going out later this year and I was toying with that being the last one. I was wrong. I’m not sure when I’ll write the story, but I will. I think I have to and I somehow doubt that this idea is going to let go any time soon. It works that way. When I let my mind take a break and allow my thoughts to wander, I get some amazing ideas.
Now in case you’re wondering, I’m not going to tell you what the idea is because that will spoil the surprise. But look for Love Means… Perseverance sometime next year and think back to this particular day because this is when that story was born.
About The Author
Andrew Grey grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived all over the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and now works full time on his writing. Andrew's hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing). He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Contact The Author
…..also by Andrew Grey
Andrew will giving away one ebook copy of One Good Deed to one lucky winner!!
Enter the draw below ~ good luck!!!!