Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Helix by Anna Martin - Review Tour

Length: 61,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press


When high school student James has trouble with his truck, Dylan, who is studying to be a mechanic, comes to the rescue. James thinks he hides his immediate attraction well, but is happy to be wrong when Dylan asks for his number. Since James is new to romance, they take things slowly, and because Dylan is in college, James keeps the budding relationship secret from his overprotective dad.

Across town, Mark, a teacher and single father to James and his sister, Frankie, meets Steve at a bar for what both believe will be a quick hookup. Mark doesn’t see any reason to tell his kids about Steve or press Steve for details about Steve’s adopted son…. It’s just sex between them. Isn’t it?

Two very different love stories grow side by side, each hidden from the other. But all of that changes at a family barbecue, when Mark decides it’s time for his kids to meet Steve and for him to meet James’s boyfriend, who none of them realize is Steve’s son, Dylan. The inevitable explosion means the two couples have some explaining to do to soothe the hurt feelings of their families—and lovers.


Reading Helix was a pure joy, and very happy surprise. I have to say I had one or two concerns when I read the blurb, but all of them turned out to be unwarranted. Where I feared the set-up of two youngsters starting to date each other at the same time their dads are doing the same might make this story contrived, it was anything but. In fact, for the first two-thirds of this story, things moved along so smoothly, it lulled me into a false sense of security. I actually thought that maybe the blurb had made the book sound more explosive than it would actually turn out to be.

I shouldn’t have worried.

There was so much to love about this story. The two developing relationships. The near misses when it came to the men and ‘boys’ figuring out that they were both dating something from the same household, and simply how fascinating yet recognisable and ‘normal’ each of the men were. But, I guess what I loved most was the unexpected developments—such as James and Dylan being the more grown-up about sorting out issues between them— or the different approach both couples had to getting together and developing their relationship.

You might expect the two young men to be in a desperate haste to get naked and dirty together and the older generation taking their time, but in this story the truth is exactly the opposite. James and Dylan’s coming together was just sweet and borderline innocent for quite some time, whereas Mark and Steve’s relationship starts with a hot and dirty hook-up in a rest room.

I liked how, for the most part, this story was drama and shock free. The first two thirds of the story are basically the two couples getting to know each other, exploring what they are together, and figuring out what each partner expects and wants from the developing relationships. And, when shit does hit the fan, it wasn’t over the top. Everything that happened when Steve and Mark realize their sons are also dating, made perfect sense to me. Furthermore, as much as I didn’t enjoy reading the subsequent struggles each of them faced, they too were totally realistic. And, what’s more, the drama wasn’t dragged out. And, once again, here especially, James and Dylan proved that being young doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of common sense, just as Mark and Steve showed us that being older and having a bit more experience doesn’t automatically lead to a more measured response to conflict.

Anna Martin’s Helix is a wonderful, uplifting, and charming story of learning to love and coping with complicated relationships. It is also beautifully written, smoothly told, captivating and memorable. I didn’t expect to take a few hours out of my sight-seeing schedule in Haarlem, but I can’t say I regret taking the time to finish this story. In fact, I’m pretty sure the beauty of this story at the very least equals any fascinating sights I might have found outside.

Author Bio

Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the southwest of England and now lives in the Bristol, a city that embraces her love for the arts. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.

Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theater (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), going to visit friends in other countries, and reading anything thatís put under her nose.

Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, prereading, and creative ass kicking provided by her best friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept responsibility for anything Anna has written.

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