Book Reviews

Northern Star by Ethan Day

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 12-July-2018

Book Blurb

Deacon Miller never had it all—he never really believed he could. Growing up in a broken home with an alcoholic mother and a revolving door of truly pathetic father figures taught him to keep his expectations low. Now at twenty-seven, on the night before Christmas Eve, his life is turned upside down yet again; his boyfriend has dumped him, he just fled the holiday family reunion from hell, and now to top it all off, a blizzard has left him stranded in an airport hotel.

Steve Steele has spent the better part of his forty-four years living a lie, ignoring his attraction to other men in an attempt to fit into the mold of the man he thought he should be, instead of living life as the man he knew himself to be. Recently divorced after coming home from work one day and coming out to his wife, Steve has floundered over the past year, desperately attempting to wade through the guilt and find the courage to start again.

That’s when a chance meeting in a hotel bar brings two lonely men together… and what should’ve been a one night stand turns into something much more than either one ever expected.



First edition published by Wilde City Press, September 2013.


Book Review

It seems like forever since I had a new release of Ethan Day's to devour. I so love his writing and have adored everything I've read so I was fairly confident that 'Northern Star' wouldn't be any different. Besides, who doesn't love a Christmas romance? Or, really hot sex, at least. *grins* Plus, I thought my husband was going to be a one-nighter (after a really long drought) and he's still here so I get the warm fuzzies for those kind of stories.

Deacon has had better days. His boyfriend of a year and a half just broke up with him via e-mail, for crying out loud, and, it was pretty hateful. He had a screaming fight with his mother and now he's stuck in a bad Detroit airport hotel bar on the night before Christmas Eve. Why not get drunk? That's where he meets Steve, owner of a car dealership, and, as usual, the author's incredible sense of humor shines through. "Deacon faced Steve, propping up his elbow on the bar for support. 'Say, you can't be too much of a dick, you at least asked how I'm doing, right?' 'Well, you did mention doing me before. I became infinitely more invested at that point.'" Fabulous chemistry with verbal wit ensues beautifully. Which leads to Deacon's hotel room and really hot sex. Told ya it was hot!

Steve came to the bar to celebrate, sort of, or perhaps commiserate, that it was one year ago he went home after work and told his wife he liked men. He ends up telling Deacon his story of how he was always too scared to come out, the auto business is pretty masculine, he grew up with a lot of those guys, he played it straight, and when the rumors started flying because he was still a bachelor, he married a woman. Steve is pretty ashamed of his behavior and the resulting mess he made of other people's lives just because he was a coward.

When they wake up the next morning, a blizzard is coming down, the airport is closed, and Deacon gets a call from his sister that his mom was drinking and driving, again, and wrapped her car around a tree. Steve is kind and offers to drop Deacon at the hospital, which just makes Deacon start to wonder why a near perfect stranger has been nicer to him that the people who were supposed to love him. Deacon remembers how alone he was before Seth, and he knows it's because he has a huge issue with trust, having grown up with a severely alcoholic mother, and the price he paid getting away from her all those years before left him cold and standoffish.

In an ironic twist, Deacon moves home to Detroit to care for his sister, Ashley, in her last year and a half of high school since this was their mom's fourth DUI and she went to jail. Luckily for Deacon, or his sister, he is a retail cashier and can get a job pretty much anywhere, and the apartment he and Seth shared in Chicago belongs to Seth. Steve is shocked when he turns down an aisle in a gourmet grocery store to see Deacon stocking shelves. Shock turns to dismay and anger when he realizes Deacon must have moved back but never called Steve. Steve hasn't been able to get Deacon out of his mind as he really felt that there was a connection between them that went beyond the physical, but obviously Deacon didn't feel that way, or maybe he did? "Sex would certainly go a long way to easing the blow that you never called."

Deacon and Steve enter into a new relationship and things are going very well until fate throws another jab into Deacon's life. As if he needs another one when pretty much nothing up until now has ever gone right. This issue means he has to confront his mother in jail. Yep. Just one more crappy happenstance for Deacon. The scene where Deacon visits his mom in prison is just sad. For him, not her. I can't imagine being raised with that kind of a parent. On the other hand, the conversation Steve has with his closest guy friends around the grill at the company barbecue almost made me pee my pants I was laughing so hard. But, Deacon struggles hard with his depression and not wanting to drag Steve down and mire him in the darkness where Deacon spends so much time.

Deacon broke my heart over and over again as he constantly dealt with the fact that no one had ever loved him his entire life and all the things his mother and many stepdads had said was probably true. Deacon was worthless and didn't deserve to be loved. It never ceases to amaze me how careless people can be with words, not realizing the devastating effect they can have, especially on children. Deacon was a good man who cared about others and he could have turned out so different growing up in another household. Steve really was a knight in shining armor and I loved the man he was. Everyone deserves a Steve in their life. And, thank the gods for Ashley and her wisdom, it was just what these two needed to find their way together.

Thank you, Ethan, for another book I love and can read over and over again. There wasn't anything that I didn't like about it. This is a beautiful story and you've outdone yourself this time combining wonderful humor with very touching emotional drama that made me cry. Read it. You'll love it.





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Additional Information

Format ebook, print and audio
Length Novel, 267 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 07-April-2017
Price $5.99 ebook, $13.99 paperback, $17.95 audiobook
Buy Link