Book Reviews

What Can Be by Mary Calmes at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance / Holiday / Drama
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 07-December-2011

Book Blurb

Thirteen years ago, Eli went on a summer trip with his mother and never came back. Now, existing in a new life as Jacob Somerville, he’s again running from fear and memories, only to end up where he started. As Jacob struggles to reconnect with his father and brothers, he realizes that his lover, Craig Zhao, was the only thing filling his empty heart and standing between him and ghosts of the past. It will take the power of love—from his family, from Craig, and from himself—for Jacob to see that his life truly is filled with the promise of what can be.


Book Review

This story blew me away. I wasn’t really sure what was going on for a while, but had a feeling the mystery about to unravel was going to be devastating, interesting, or both. It ended up being utterly emotional on top. Not only was I totally invested in the main character who tells the story in first person, I was also fascinated by the psychology of what was going on, the slow reveal of the reasons behind his behavior and the final revelations and solution had me tearing up. A truly amazing story, firmly settled in real-life psychology with love playing the central part in solving the issues.

Jake/Eli is clearly a troubled soul. He has a past, and as he meets the family he has been separated from, we learn more about him and what happened in small steps. It kept up the tension for me, and the love and acceptance Jake/Eli finds from his two elder brothers, his father and even his father’s new wife was touching. Whether it was the Christmas spirit that was upon them or whether they were just nice people, the situation, as grim as it was, became a lot more bearable through their support. And not just for Jake/Eli!

Craig, the boyfriend Jake/Eli ran away from, is an absolutely amazing guy. He doesn’t seem so at first, because we see him through Jake/Eli’s eyes and he isn’t too sure what to think or how to deal with everything. As Jake/Eli realizes what is going on and how he really feels, my impression of Craig improved. That and the fact that Craig’s actions speak a lot louder than words ever could.

On the whole, this is one amazing book. If you like psychological insights, deep emotional drama and families finding each other again, you will probably like this story as much as I did. And while the story is set at Christmas time, and there is lots of Christmas spirit (if that is what you want to call it), this is a positive, uplifting story that is good to read at any time of the year. Just be ready for quite an emotional roller coaster ride before you get to the very rewarding ending.

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 and audio
Length Novella, 124 pages/24863 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-December-2011
Price $3.99 ebook, $6.95 audiobook
Buy Link