Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Jon Wilson - A Shiny Tin Star

On a scorching summer’s day in 1903 the sheriff of Creek County, Eugene Grey, unexpectedly finds himself partnered with feisty young Federal Marshal Forest O'Rourke. The marshal is hell-bent on capturing a wanted man—a man Eugene knows as nothing but an amiable old geezer living quietly in the hills.
But, of course, all is not as it seems. As the manhunt progresses, Eugene slowly works out the true nature of the marshal’s relationship to the old man. And something Eugene has long kept hidden begins to stir inside him. He finds it impossible to deny the desire he feels toward the determined young marshal.
Death and fiery destruction follow, but also passion and stolen moments of joy. Eugene’s journey takes him from his small town of Canyon Creek, Colorado, to the stately homes of Atlanta and Philadelphia. But it also pits him against the very laws he has sworn to uphold. He finds himself risking prison or even death—all in the name of love.

Comment: I got this book after seeing a review for it on Hilcia's blog and reading her words about it. So, I wrote down the title to buy one day and this year, my first purchase was actually the ebook edition of this story. I was so very curious because I still remembered how Hilcia seemed to have liked it and I wanted to spend a good time with it too.

This is the story of Gene Grey, he's a young sheriff in a Colorado small town and his life is pretty much easy until the day Marshal Forest O'Rourke shows up saying he has a warrant for an old man who lives close. The old man ends up being the marshal's father and after a fight where the two of them meet for the first time, Gene takes O'Rourke to his house to settle down. The next day, the old man is dead and things start to change for both the sheriff and the marshal because after some conversations and interactions they find out they have plenty in common...

This book is divided into three parts, always narrated by Gene. There's also an increase in intensity as the story moves along. It starts so easy and simple, like a light summer breeze, and things never seem to be able to change because as love shows up and starts developing, the two guys fall so steadily and so easily that to be honest I never thought anything wrong would ever happen.
Then the first part ends and not to forget this is set in 1903 where gay parades weren't even a thought, of course society wouldn't welcome their relationship and things end up really troublesome. But even then I never thought it couldn't go more wrong.

In fact, this is probably the best feature in this narrative. How things just can't seem to be able to change from what we see to something different but they always do. There's always something to dread. I mean, there are funny moments, joyous moments silly moments, but as the story moves along, those start to be harder to find and to breathe in...

The writing is really special, I think. Gene has a great voice and what goes in his head is both sweet and easy, and hard and depressing. But deep down he's strong and only adversities he can't control bring him down. I liked him a lot. I liked his character, his practical manners and his hopeless dreams, something he never thinks about too much, but we can feel it's there. I only wished love didn't blind him so much but, I guess that was inevitable.

Forest O'Rourke is described as not always bright but I just thought he was only careless, because he preferred to focus on what mattered to the moment. I think he should have been more careful, but, again, he was in love... 
I've cried reading this book and Forest was probably the author of the reason why I've cried the most, at some point he makes a decision without telling Gene and writes him a letter. That letter really got to me, it was very emotional.

The end is full of emotions, to be honest. So many things happen like a snowball, it keeps rolling and gaining strength and momentum and we just know it can't all be easy to solve.
In the end, the two guys talk about their lives and we know the HEA is on the path but I felt we should have seen it more, because I like to see things happen instead of just imagining. I mean, this is for all books with rushed ends, after (often) long and difficult journeys to the HEA, suddenly, all is easy and finished and we can't see it. In this book, that happened. But no worries, we know they'll be happy.

So, I thought I'd get an easy romance but instead I got a fantastic narrated story with a lot more emotion and heartbreaking feelings than I bargained for. Not that this is bad, but the author really accomplished his mission of surprising me. How simple things can be changed when other powers are in the mix...we just have to try to do our best but that's not always easy, is it?
I'll try to read more by the author someday.
Grade: 8/10


  1. Sonia, I agree. This was an emotional read! I love the contrasts between those first joyful sections when this couple falls in love, the carelessness that comes from all that love, and the resulting events that bring them crashing back to the reality of their situation. Gene broke my heart with all that love and sacrifice. Forest broke my heart, period. But I love the hopeful end -- those tin stars and that great line by Forest.

    I also love that Wilson captures time, place, cultural attitudes toward homosexuality and homosexual relationships during those historical times, and still delivers a great western historical romance read.

    I am so glad you enjoyed this book too!

    1. Yes, the narration by Gene and all the atmosphere surrounding the plot was amazing. I was really disappointed Gene's friends and town were so quick to put him aside. That's sad too, I mean, of course times were like that, but after years knowing his character and sad it is to think so many people out there with a difference are being - and were - cast aside so viciously....
      But, a great story yes!