Series: Pride and Joy: Book Two
Author: Robert Winter
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 344 Pages
At a Glance: Asylum is an emotional journey that tugs at the heartstrings and explores the real, human cost of a topic that is often overlooked when discussed.
Reviewed By: Jovan
Blurb: An unplanned fall into a harbor brings together two men from different worlds
Colin, an activist on immigration issues, is in Provincetown for the wedding of his best friend—a man he’d once loved. So he does what anyone in that situation would do. He gets blind drunk. Later, after Colin tumbles into the harbor, he’s rescued by a gorgeous, kind man who makes sure he gets safely back to his hotel room. Colin feels he owes the man a debt and wants to repay it as soon as possible, while also getting to know his handsome savior better.
Hernán had family, college, and a future in El Salvador until a vicious gang targeted him as gay. Threatened with murder if he stayed, he braved a nightmare journey toward a new life. Now, haunted by his trek, he hides from immigration enforcement and prays to pass in Provincetown unnoticed. When Hernán is exploited due to his immigration status, Colin has to battle Hernán at every step to give his assistance and to earn his trust.
As they grow closer, Colin finds his own strength and learns how far he will go to keep Hernán safe. But will Hernán’s demons destroy their chance at a future together?
Asylum is a standalone gay romance novel but contains spoilers for the prior novel September. Trigger warnings for brief references to off-page sexual abuse of a child and adult.
Review: Asylum is a beautifully written story that manages to craft the narrative around a “hot button issue” without losing the integrity of the characters and their journey. Hernán is a kind, intelligent man whose life in El Salvador is destroyed when he is targeted as a gay man and almost killed by a powerful gang. Fearing for his life, he seeks safety in America with family.
Colin, though unassuming and unsure of himself, has a core of strength and a protective “warrior” inside, and is furious when he witnesses someone attempt to prey on Hernán’s undocumented status. Colin is passionate about immigration reform, and through his work at a nonprofit that provides immigration services, has access to resources that can help Hernán. However, Hernán is wary and mistrustful because his journey to America and his time there has taught him that people with power over him take what they want, no matter what. Moreover, from childhood his grandmother told him that being gay was shameful and disgusting, a belief reinforced by the mistreatment and targeting of LGBT people in his community.
“Nothing floated on his mind but a dark slick of shame. He tried to keep it at bay but it was always there, giving every good moment a bitter aftertaste.”
Not only does Hernán have to overcome his disbelief that Colin is willing to help him—simply because it is the right thing to do—and his discomfort with the disparity in their positions, he must also overcome his shame and the belief that as a gay man he can never have love. The friendship and progression of Colin and Hernán’s relationship is sweet, complex and believably fraught given Hernán’s experiences and Colin coming from a position of privilege as a wealthy American. Asylum is an emotional journey that tugs at the heartstrings and explores the real, human cost of a topic that is often overlooked when discussed.
You can buy Asylum here:
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