Reviewed by Susan65
Title: The Tin Box
Author: Kim Fielding
Heroes: William Lyon/Colby Anderson
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 210 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 20, 2013
Available at: Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance Ebooks
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: William Lyon’s past forced him to become someone he isn’t. Conflicted and unable to maintain the charade, he separates from his wife and takes a job as caretaker at a former mental hospital. Jelley’s Valley State Insane Asylum was the largest mental hospital in California for well over a century, but it now stands empty. William thinks the decrepit institution is the perfect place to finish his dissertation and wait for his divorce to become final. In town, William meets Colby Anderson, who minds the local store and post office. Unlike William, Colby is cute, upbeat, and flamboyantly out. Although initially put off by Colby’s mannerisms, William comes to value their new friendship, and even accepts Colby’s offer to ease him into the world of gay sex.
William’s self-image begins to change when he discovers a tin box, hidden in an asylum wall since the 1940s. It contains letters secretly written by Bill, a patient who was sent to the asylum for being homosexual. The letters hit close to home, and William comes to care about Bill and his fate. With Colby’s help, he hopes the words written seventy years ago will give him courage to be his true self.
This was really freaking depressing. The letters in the tin box were just so completely heartbreaking that I struggled to really reconcile that shit like that actually happened. How incredibly inhumane were these people, these so called doctors? Those locked up were not the mental ones in this story, but the “doctors” who were treating them, and the family that had them committed. It will take me a long time to get over Bill. I just wish we knew what happened to Johnny.
But the letters were only a side plot in this story. The main characters, Colby and William are the two stars. They are two lonely men living in a little Podunk town, which has absolutely no gay scene but is, incredibly, really accepting of our bedazzled Colby. Colby is like a unicorn…beautiful and rare with a sprinkle of shiny colors. In others words, he is perfect.
William, the geek, is recently separated and in the process of getting a divorce. He was raised by extremely religious parents who believed that enough prayer and penance would cure him of his sickness; of being attracted to men. They won’t accept that he is gay, and like many blind parents who have a special place in hell, they won’t accept him as he is unless he chooses not to be a deviant. So incredibly sad that parents put conditions on their love, and care more for the opinions of others than their own flesh and blood. But their form of love caused this man to try to be something he wasn’t, something he could no longer hide from, and so he chooses to tell his wife the truth and they split. She, at least, was not a bitch about it.
This is not an erotic romance. This is more the story of two men learning about each other, learning about themselves, and learning to believe that what they have together could be permanent. It is also about righting the wrongs of the past. It’s about bringing the letters in that tin box out in the open and giving Bill the audience he didn’t have while locked up. Locked up for being gay. Locked up and tortured in the name of a cure that doesn’t exist. But in the end, William and Colby give that voice to Bill and its beautiful and sad, but incredibly moving and a story that I will remember for a long time.
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*I purchased my own, personal copy of this book for review.*