First instalment in the “Little Boy Lost” series
Blurb: Little Boy Lost is the story of Brian McAllister, the boy next door.
Brian goes to school, he does his homework, and he helps his foster parents around the house. Brian also has a secret. He is in love with his best friend. In Crayford, Alabama being in love with another boy is the worst kind of sin.
In this first book, Enlightened, Brian and his best friend Jamie discover just how deep their emotional bond runs, and at what cost. From fumbling through their first sexual experiences to shrouding every aspect of their relationship from everyone in their lives, Brian and Jamie battle for the one thing that is truly theirs – love.
What will they do if their secret is discovered?
My thoughts: OK, from the blurb this story had so many things going against it that I’m amazed at myself that I even started it. I don’t particularly like stories with two teenage boys discovering their sexuality, I don’t particularly like 1st person POV and I definitely dislike reading about religious zealots and fervent preachers who condemn everybody who doesn’t fit into their small little Bible Belt world. But I read the excerpt on JP Barnaby’s site and that made me curious because I really liked the writing style and the scene.
Maybe it is because I live in Europe and views over here often tend to be more liberal than in many parts of the US, it seems, that I always have trouble believing in the existence of those religious, self-righteous parents and overzealous preachers, but I must assume they do exist somewhere. To my great relief their personal appearance in the story were kept to a minimum, even though they were always present in the minds of the two boys and they had a great impact on the course of their story.
Anyway, before I digress even more, I couldn’t have been more wrong with my apprehension. I totally loved this story. Looking at some of the sub-standard stuff that is sometimes being sold by the known publishers I’m at a loss as to why this story is self-published and didn’t get picked up by a publisher. Unless, of course, J.P. Barnaby chose to self-publish for other reasons. Maybe it’s the age of the two boys who are both under 18, but I have read other romance fiction with at least one partner underage, so it doesn’t seem to be a total taboo.
Brian and Jamie are very lovable boys, insecure at first, but extremely mature and grow into their relationship in a very believable way. They are ready to face the world when it comes to that and won’t be swerved by superior behaviour or irrelevant prayers, whether they come from a preacher or a parent.
The love scenes ARE love scenes. Not simply some quick, inexperienced, uninspired fumbling either, but loving, tender and perfect. Brian and Jamie go through various stages in their physical relationship and each one of them is described in such a beautiful way, I was so enthralled I couldn’t stop reading. At 216 pages I was expecting to take a few days to finish the book, since my reading time is limited, but I just couldn’t stop and finished it in one day.
The story goes more or less medias in res with Brian’s and Jamie’s visit to church where the pastor goes on about homosexuality is a sin yadda yadda. At first I didn’t know when the story is set and thought that it must be in the forties maybe. It definitely had that feel to it for me, with the Sunday church clothes, the boys in suits and ties, the girls in neat dresses…until it turned out that it must be set now. I was dumbstruck. Can it be that the Bible Belt is being stuck in the 40s or 50s in more ways than one?
At the cliff hanger end of the book there is a preview on the next instalment “Abandoned”. It seems Brian is in for a rough time for the next year (which was to be expected). I can’t wait to read more about those two boys. In the meantime I might have a look at “The Forbidden Room”, another first book in a series by J. P. Barnaby dealing with BDSM. Again not my first choice as far as topics are concerned, but after reading “Enlightened” I’m afraid I can’t trust my own preferences anymore.
Available as .pdf at J.P. Barnaby’s site, or as paperback and kindle on amazon.com