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When Everett Coleman’s longtime enemy JB Sanderson dies, Everett’s nephew Blake comes to visit his uncle. He worries JB’s death might have a negative effect on the old man, despite Everett and JB’s very public hatred for each other. When Everett passes away and Blake begins going through his things, he finds his uncle’s diaries. To his surprise, the infamous feud between Everett and JB was a gigantic cover-up for a gay relationship that lasted for decades.
Blake decides to write the real story of the legendary grudge and let the world know the great lengths the two men had to go to in the 1930s and 1940s to hide their love from their conservative small town in Texas.
How important is the blurb to you? For me, it depends. If a friend recommends a book, I might not even look at the blurb. If it’s an all-time favorite author of mine, I may skim the blurb but it doesn’t truly matter, I’ll read it regardless. If it’s a new author for me, I tend to look at little closer. This blurb snagged my attention. I was intrigued. It appeared to pack a powerful punch of potential. After completing the story, I wondered what I missed. It was not what I was expecting, which can be a lovely surprise or a bummer. I regret to say, it was the more the latter.
Two grumpy old men pass away and leave their true story behind, hidden in diaries. Everett and JB are the worst of enemies or so everyone thinks. We revisit the past, flying back fifty years to when their story began. The boys graduate from high school and begin to plan their future. A trip to nearby college opens some doors as well as some secrets. JB and Everett tip-toe with trepidation and experiment desires both men held deep inside. A secret love affair is born and they go to great costs to love one another.
Great plot, nice characters, but the execution floundered. Things didn’t add up for me. Blake narrates and he recounts the cover-up story and then his version of the behind closed-doors story of his great Uncle and his secret lover. However, the story that we hear feels like a rehash from Everett or JB with a twist of breaking the fourth wall. (why do I keep blindly walking into these books?)
Precise details piece together the quick recap of JB and Everett’s more than half century love story. I heard Everett tell the tale, not Blake. I assumed we would read snippets of the diary or letters passed between the two lovers.
One page included a letter. That was it. I’m not certain exactly what these diaries entailed. But for Blake to come up with the front page story he tells, they must have been elaborate. I guess what I’m saying is, it felt like story-time with the elderly couple themselves, not a personal memoir told by another family member.
The romance was challenging to grip. Spanning over many decades with only brief interactions did not allow for an easy enchantment. The ‘tool’ used for their cover up bothered me. All of these in combination with the doubtful prologue….well, I struggled to stay engaged.
The writing was not amiss, but I believe things could have been substantially stronger if maneuvered differently.
Title: The Legend of Uncle Everett
Author: Gene Taylor
Release Date: May 2014
Purchase Links: Dreamspinner