In this 1950s period drama, Junius is a New York City fertility demon with a crush. Ever since falling from heaven he's been alone. Except for the mothers and children he watches over. James Kelly Rosenburg, a black soldier with snowflakes in his hair, walks right into his life with a big problem. James Kelly, turned vampire during the war, is new to New York and its prohibition against vampire killing in city limits. Junius offers to teach him to overcome his bloodthirsty instincts and live a proper Manhattan life. Their growing friendship leaves them both conflicted as they explore a city both welcoming and alienated by their kind.
Dear Dan Ackerman,
I never read your work before, but I was intrigued when I read Ami’s review. I have to say that I have not read such unusual gay romance/gay fiction book in a while.
Ami mentioned in her review that the book felt like gay fiction to her and I have to agree even though it is filled with paranormal creatures. I cannot quite explain why it felt like gay fiction – maybe because people and creatures who filled the pages felt so real despite being demons, vampires and fairies? Junius aka June being a fertility demon and James being a vampire is not just an allegory – Junius’ job as fertility demon is to care for mothers and children and future mothers and he does it with all the kindness and tenderness he is capable with. When he meets James, a newly turned vampire (seven years ago) and his maker, old world vampire Anastasia, June is attracted to James , but first and foremost he wants to teach James how to survive as vampire without killing people. Because James really really does not like killing people, however Anastasia (Annie) feels that this is the only way vampire can survive.
So the readers get to observe June and James Kelly (because he prefers to be called James Kelly, not just James ) meeting during couple of years – the book starts In December 1952 and ends some time in 1954, however the time from one meeting to another is usually couple of months give or take. At first June teaches James Kelly how and when get blood from willing recipients, how to stop on time and why it is necessary to take care of those who gave you blood afterwards. Then they start meeting for other reasons. June is the kindest, sweetest soul and I really liked him. He wants somebody to take care of - he has a cat named Gordon, but he wants a partner since before his ex, a demon of sex broke up with him. They are on completely friendly terms though.
James is clearly appreciating what June is doing for him and enjoying his friendship more and more, but he is not gay, see? And thank goodness he did not say that – he just seems sure that he does not want whatever June wants from him (and trust me, think of it June may, he is not loudly asking for anything and does his very best to be a good friend for James).
Over the course of couple of years or so James is finally acknowledging that he is in love with Junius. I was convinced – opinions may differ of course, but I thought it was clear that James Kelly was attracted but was scared to acknowledge it. I just really liked how it was written – with restraint, not over the top. Maybe this is another reason why the book felt more like paranormal gay fiction with romantic elements rather than just straight romance – it did not feel melodramatic and over the top. Believe me, I have nothing against melodrama – but somehow paranormal or not, I thought author achieved the level of realism or at least believability that I do not often to see in many contemporary m/m romances.
James’ not being happy in the partnership with his maker, blond Anastasia was second underlying source of conflict in the story and it made sense to me – vampires clashing over whether to kill humans or not seems like the most obvious reasons vampires would clash. However, even that storyline did not feel over the top to me and I think this was a good thing.
The story takes place in New York in early 1950s and while I am not really sure whether the settings were well researched, what I learned of New York while living here made me think that yes, settings were very well researched. Also, while once again I am not sure if the dialogue was exactly 1950s, I thought the attempt at least was made.
And I was so very pleased with the ending.