Title: Springtime in Hades
Author: Henry Romel Guy
Released: 23rd April 2015
Genre: M/M (contemporary)
Gloucester, Virginia, was much like other small towns in 1984: it collectively lived life the way it felt permitted. As with any era or place, a handful of its young longed for an outward way of life reflective of their inner longings. All they were really guilty of was experiencing another kind of innocence - an innocence that they instinctively knew came with an inherent set of dangers.
Timmy Sawyer looks back on that time, 30 years hence, taking into account more loss and regret than he can bear any longer. Before he can close the chapter, he has to open old wounds full of sorrows and secrets that have possessed his heart since it was broken all those years ago.
Told by Timmy Sawyer, Springtime In Hades is a love story like no other. After all, Timmy knows that the greatest commonality of all love, is its potential to unfold, shape and then devastate everything it touches - yet, in the end, be all we truly want.
There is a definite formula to writing a short story and Springtime in Hades definitely has the hallmark of a good story. I loved the idea of the the MC, Timmy Sawyer, recording his story on tape and thus giving the reader a first-hand account of the MCs thoughts and feelings. Also the fact that he records his memoirs on cassettes, reflecting on his youth in the 80s gives the reader a feeling for his current age without having to mention it at the beginning. I mean, who uses cassettes these days? I’m sure some do but personally I can’t remember the last time I saw one although when I was a teenager in the eighties I had stockpiles of them.
This story is tragic. Timmy has endured more pain and suffering than anyone could be expected to bear and he can only see one way out. He has been carrying the burden of his youth around with him for far too long now. His innocence robbed from him at a very early age and OMG what he experienced had me wanting to console him, put my arms around him, try to make the past go away and show him a better, brighter future than the one he can only see for himself currently. Reflecting on his experiences of the eighties he goes from youthful teen to tragic adult. He had but only one dream and that was a HEA with the one person he loved. However, even though it’s the 80s, bigotry, hate and double standards were all too prevalent and a chain of unfortunate incidents are triggered, things go totally beyond his control. A real victim of circumstance. Timmy’s suffering, his pain, above all his anger, when all he wanted was to be happy with the one person he cared for and loved, was all to be found in Timmy's story. A real Greek tragedy in many respects.
I really liked the way this whole tragic story is told from Timmy's point of view by recording things on cassettes before doing what he has to do. However, it just didn't tug at my heartstrings the way it needed to for me to be totally invested in the character. As I said there is definitely an art in writing a short story, 60 pages is not long, so I need to connect with the MC immediately, he needs to take up residence in my heart from the get go, but this aspect just fell a little short of the mark for me personally.
Yes it was sad, yes it was most definitely harrowing, but I felt the whole thing was probably just a little too rushed in order for me to get to the real feeling of tragedy that is most obviously in this story. It has some very intriguing twists and turns which show the evil, bigoted nature and double standards of people. However, I just felt if these things were expanded on more, pulling out the events to get some real depth of feeling, showing us how Timmy’s terrible fate was in so many respects unfair and not his fault, then this book could be so much more than the sum of its parts.
The author definitely has a lot of raw talent and potential but I'm afraid the English teacher, occupational hazard that is unfortunately, had to break out of the closet on a number of occasions. This book would have benefitted so much from some serious editing as the syntax, sentence structure and grammar were a little clumsy at times. Nothing too serious, but if these things were taken care of then I'm sure that this story could easily have been a 4 going on a 5 star read for me. A really tragic story that would have had me weeping all over the place.
After all is said and done I really enjoyed the book and feel that there is great potential in Henry's writing so I will be following this author with interest and will definitely give his next book a go.
Meet Henry Romel Guy
Henry Romel Guy was born and raised in Virginia, USA, where he still resides in Mathews County. A civil process server, this is the author's second published story.