Date of Publication: June 3, 2016
Genre and Themes: LGBTQ, Bullying, Suicide, Alcoholism, Addiction, Abuse
Format: 260 pages, ebook
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht
Characters: Jeremy Cox, Qayin Hill
Last year, Kim Fielding released what I considered her best work to date – Rattlesnake. My review of that book already established that she’s a genius storyteller. In Love Can’t Conquer, she yet again transported me to a place full of sadness, hurt, love, and a place so full of hope.
It’s a story of two men who’ve known each other from a very young age.
Both eager to escape from their oppressive hometown.
Both kids carrying the hurt of their own little world.
Nerdy and pudgy Jeremy Cox was bullied a lot growing up and couldn’t wait to escape his small town. He did. He got a scholarship in Oregon and forgot all about his past. He became a self-made man, came out of the closet and like anybody else – he fell in love, was hurt, and got back up. It feels to me that Jeremy has a hero complex. I am not taking that against him. I loved that he’s got a very soft heart exhibiting the same little boy from his past inside his very formidable exterior.
Then there’s Qay Hill – an alcoholic and a drug addict trying to turn things around. He doesn’t need much. He’s trying to survive despite thoughts clinging to him that he’s beyond salvation. I really feel so bad for him. His voice is just too heartbreaking at times. Sometimes, no matter how strong a person is – there’ll come a time that he/she will succumb to his inner demons. Qay couldn’t handle it.
Serendipitously, both Jeremy and Qay found they have something in common from their past and try to create something between them. Love took over…
But what if love isn’t enough?
There is so much goodness in this book. There’s Jeremy and Qay’s relationship. It was sweet, tender, and thoughtful. There really is something to say about mature men venturing into a relationship. There’s the immediate chemistry and there’s the understanding between them right off the bat that this would either be just a quick shag or something that is for keeps. And for Jeremy, it is the latter. Qay however needs more convincing. Confidence is not his good friend.
Jeremy’s in a good place now. He’s healthy and financially secure but he isn’t happy. So ‘a good place’ doesn’t necessarily equate happiness. He doesn’t even know what he needs to not feel that void inside of him. So, there is that struggle inside of him.
Qay is altogether a different case, obviously. There’s just so much hurt that I had to wipe a tear or two because his voice affected me so much. Those are things no kid has got to endure – ever. His past was his struggle.
It’s a good thing that Jeremy has got a bunch of really good friends who took Qay in their fold without question. Rhoda and Nevin are both wonderful and I’d love to see them in the future installment (yes! I just found out that this would be a start of a new series!!!! *Happy dance* I am guessing that Parker will make an appearance in the series as well. A possible MC?).
The story as a whole is like a really beautiful, mellow country song. The words were melodious, there’s vibrancy in the characters and that heartwarming epilogue was just the right way to end it.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
About The Author
Kim Fielding lives in California and travels as often as she can manage. A professor by day, at night she rushes into a phonebooth to change into her author costume (which involves comfy clothes instead of Spandex and is, sadly, lacking a cape). Her superpowers include the ability to write nearly anywhere, often while simultaneously doling out homework assistance to her children. Her favorite word to describe herself is “eclectic” and she finally got that third tattoo.
All royalties from her novels Stasis, Flux and Equipoise are donated to Doctors Without Borders.