Book Reviews

The Fight Within (The Good Fight 2) by Andrew Grey at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 10-March-2013

Book Blurb

Bryce Morton needs a change of scenery. Since his partner’s death a year ago, he’s become withdrawn and quiet, so his friends, Jerry Lincoln and Akecheta (John) Black Raven, convince him to go camping with them on a Sioux reservation. Though he’s not immediately sure he’s done the right thing, Bryce becomes more interested when he meets Paytah, the man who owns the reservation's trading post.

Paytah Stillwater's life is filled with hurt, and sometimes the only thing he has left is pride. After being abused as a child and disbelieved when he spoke up, he has withdrawn into himself—but he can never truly put his past behind him, because the source of his pain still lives on the reservation. Paytah is proud of his heritage and careful with his heart, but when Bryce commits a selfless act of kindness for one of the reservation’s children, the walls around Paytah’s heart begin to melt.

Bryce and Paytah each fight the pain within them. When Paytah's abuser sets his sights on one of the reservation youngsters, Bryce and Paytah must set their individual fights aside. Finding a way to stop the abuser unites them to fight their way forward—together.

Book Review

In my experience, it is fairly rare that a sequel is as good as the first book, if not better, and touches me in the same way and to the same degree. 'The Good Fight' and 'The Fight Within' are both amazing books, with a message of justice needing to be told that is as emotional as it is important. The characters in this second book, Bryce and Paytah, have each suffered, but soldiered on and tried to make the best of their lives under difficult circumstances. Only when they meet can they fulfill their true potential, and as tough as it is for each of them to let the other get close, as rewarding does it become when they succeed.

As in the first book, the characters' story is central to the plot, but the harsh reality of life on a Native American reservation, even in the twenty-first century, is never far away. The way Andrew addresses poverty and some of the exploitation that goes on was sensitive, but made very clear how wrong it is. There are people who will use their power over grants, their money and influence to take advantage of children in the worst way, and thankfully they get their just rewards in this book. Unfortunately, reality isn’t always so ideal, and this book is a good reminder of some of the emotional fallout when things don’t go as they morally should.

Bryce has suffered an awful loss, and it takes him a long time to start getting over it. His friends John (who is also his boss in the IT business he works in) and Jerry, John's partner, almost have to force Bryce to go camping with them. But taking Bryce to the reservation where John grew up is exactly what Bryce needs. When he meets Paytah, who runs the tribe's trading post, it isn’t love at first sight by any stretch of the imagination. They have some prejudices to overcome and then personal issues to work out that would have lesser men give up. But not these two. They are well suited for each other and I loved how supportive Bryce is of Paytah. It gives the stubborn Native American a reason to rethink his attitude and learn how to stand up for himself.

I also enjoyed seeing Jerry and John again, and finding out how they and the kids have been faring since the end of book one. The other characters were wonderful additions, and each member of the tribe who gets involved in Bryce's scheme had a special contribution to make. The message of hope for everyone was amazing and very uplifting.

As in the first book, Andrew Grey has taken on the telling of a socially important story with "The Fight Within". He makes the issue clear, treats the implications with care and sensitivity, and, hopefully, will make every reader realize that even in the early twenty-first century blatant mismanagement of an entire people's interests is still happening. It infuriates and saddens me in equal measure. Thank you, Andrew, for taking on this subject, and for giving this issue your time, and these people a voice. Like after reading the first book, I find myself hoping that you will continue adding stories, making this a truly meaningful series about justice long overdue.

Suppression and exploitation is never right, and if you want to find out more, handed to you in the form of an interesting story full of amazing characters, please buy and read this book. I can only repeat what I said about the first book: I think it is well worth every cent you spend on it, and every minute of your reading time will be well invested!




DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook, print and audio
Length Novel, 206 pages/69992 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 04-March-2013
Price $6.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback, $14.99 bundle, $19.95 audiobook
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