A New Normalby William Neale
Former Marine Corps Major Jake Vincenzo had a plan. He was convinced that his son Mark and his long-time best friend Cade were in love but just didn't know it. Forced for years to hide his own gayness, Jake had kept a secret getaway -- a remote mountain cabin -- where he now intended to play matchmaker for the two nineteen year-olds. What he didn't count on was… See more details below
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Former Marine Corps Major Jake Vincenzo had a plan. He was convinced that his son Mark and his long-time best friend Cade were in love but just didn't know it. Forced for years to hide his own gayness, Jake had kept a secret getaway -- a remote mountain cabin -- where he now intended to play matchmaker for the two nineteen year-olds. What he didn't count on was falling in love with Cade. How will the three navigate the minefields of potential hurt, jealousy and even betrayal? How will father and son maintain their close relationship without viewing each other as rivals? And how will Cade reconcile falling in love with the two most important men in his life against the backdrop of a disapproving family? For each, it means redefining normal. It means finding a new normal.
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"A New Normal" is the second novel by newbie writer William Neale. The story begins with Major Jake Vincenzo, newly retired smoking hot Marine, getting ready to go on vacation with his son's BFF, Cade, while leaving his son at home to deal with the consequences of screwing up his high school graduation by failing a class. During the time Jake and Cade are alone in the mountains; they get to know one another on a deeper level while making some hard decisions for the future. Jake is a man of principle and integrity, and is leading by example even if his heart might want something different. As with William Neale's freshman effort "Home", "A New Normal" is first and foremost a romantic story. The author's characters and narrative are all centered on telling an idealistic fictional account of relationships, physical appearances, and love. I bring it up due to some criticism around the first novel being implausible because of its perfect world with perfect protagonists. If you want gritty realistic characters with massive debt and home values that are underwater then these stories are probably not for you. However, if you want to escape into a world of masculine beauty and idealized romance you will not be disappointed. With regard to the story itself, I did feel some initial discomfort when reading the first few chapters because of the age disparity between Jake and Cade. However, the author is adept at setting up the dramatic emotions and inner turmoil of both characters prior to introducing the third character - Jake's son, Mark, into the mix to complicate matters further. So,although I did have some uneasiness at the beginning,the author managed to convey Jake's integrity and developed the character into a sympathetic hero - the author is being a bit daring and bold by testing the boundaries, but managed to the find the delicate balance where you felt you understood the hearts and minds involved. William Neale's writing style is clean and straightforward. He can transport the reader without ornate embellishments - you know you're reading a romance, but it doesn't seem overly operatic. The first chapters probably could have been scaled back a bit, but I think the intent was to help the reader understand the background, and get into the protagonists' state of mind in order to appreciate their subsequent behavior. Still, once the groundwork was in place, and momentum generated you're hooked and wanted to find out how the story played out. The only other fault is a little unevenness with the dialogue - there were a few instances where the levels of sophistication or maturity were overreached by the teenage protagonists. It didn't detract from the overall story, but it was a minor distraction for me. On the whole,I enjoyed "A New Normal", and seem to have developed a real affection for the author's work, although I have tried to offer a balanced opinion. It is pretty evident that the writer is continuing to hone his skills in the art of storytelling and the result is an entertaining sophomore effort.
This was an excellent read that I didn't want to end. Loved the characters but was especially fond of Jake. Recommended reading.
An interesting plot, with ups and downs. But couldn't put it down.
I like William Neale's swriting style. I was looking for an excape read and "A New Normal" delivered. I also like the old-fashioned nobility his characters posses. Well worth it.