Title: Admit One
Author: Jenna Hilary Sinclair
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 350 pages
Rating: 4 Quills
Tags: teacher, theater, banker, angst, contemporary
When high school teacher Tom Smith meets Kevin Bannerman at a gay club, he violates his own rule: one-night stands only. But when the weekend is over, he walks away, reminding himself that he lives a deeply closeted life for painful, compelling reasons. He keeps his secrets, his heart, and the cause of his crippled arm to himself, but almost immediately he bitterly regrets leaving Kevin. Months later, while Tom serves as reluctant assistant director for his school's production of Rent, he fears that the show's same-sex love angle will somehow out him. Protests against the play begin, one of the student actors is harassed, and during a parents' meeting, Tom encounters Kevin again. This time Tom can't fight the attraction between them, and he and Kevin begin a tentative relationship. Within Rent's message of acceptance and support, and as local churches oppose the play, Tom struggles to find the strength to admit one man into his heart.
"Give in to love or live in fear. No other path. No other way." This is the story about a man who has been hiding in fear for almost 15 years. He was hurt and betrayed by the one person he thought he could count on. He has been living half a life making due with a highly satisfying job and no personal connections. Until one night he meets someone he can't get out of his head. He runs away time after time until somehow this man crawls under his skin and won't leave.
This is a story about the healing power of love, the strength we often can't see in ourselves and how it is never too late to overcome our fears. I fell in love with the two main characters in this story but this story would not have been what it is without it's spectacular cast of side characters. The students in the play, the director, Kevin's daughter were all well written, engaging characters who added immeasurably to this story.
While I did love this story, it had a few pacing issues. It is quite a long story (459 pdf pages) and I think that some of the back and forth at the beginning could have been cut. I did like the slow reveal of what happened with Tom and Sean in the past. I also would have loved to see more of Tom's brother, Grant. He had such a pivotal role in Tom's life but we barely got to know him at all.
So, overall, I give this story 4 Quills. It was an amazing read but had just a few places where it dragged and a few places where it was a little thin. But do not let this turn you away because if you do, you will miss a story well worth the reading.