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The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made
Greg Sestero, Tom Bissell
Progress: 27/268 pages
Pompeii
Robert Harris
Awakening of the Heart: Essential Buddhist Sutras and Commentaries
Thich Nhat Hanh

A Midwinter Prince

A Midwinter Prince - Harper Fox Holy crap this is a good novel.

Laurie is an upper-class young man, his mother comes from a noble family in France, and his father is filthy rich. One night while waiting for his chauffeur he meets Sasha, a homeless boy who is homeless for spoilery reasons. The connection between them is instantaneous and palpable, Laurie finds himself stepping outside his world of operas and cramming to help Sasha, and Sasha finds himself trusting Laurie, perhaps the first person he's trusted since he was a child. It all comes to a head when Laurie's sister disappears and Sasha's past catches up to him.

In particular I like the love scenes, it's very hard to write sex scenes that are beautiful and detailed without being overly flowery or gross, but Fox manages to carry it off. We get a strong sense of two young men, both damaged in their own ways, learning how to love and protect one another, just as they learn how to protect, or not protect, their families.

Another thing I liked were Laurie's parents. At no point is Laurie's father stereotypically evil, he had his good points as well, and we can really understand and sympathize with Laurie's dilemma as he tries to balance the memories of the father he loves with the reality of what Sir William actually is. You can see why it's hard for a person to leave an abusive relationship, Laurie fears his father, but he also loves him and he doesn't want to hurt his sister or mother. It takes some pushing from Sasha and a confrontation with Sir William to show Laurie that he wasn't protecting anyone by staying at home. Laurie's mother initially comes off as very weak, almost consumed by her husband and addicted to prescription medication but she takes the drastic measure of kidnapping her own daughter and sending Clara to her sister in France after William beats Laurie nearly to death. In order to do this she frames Sasha. While it might be easy to hate her for that, both Laurie and Sasha realize that she is simply doing what any mother would do to protect her child--even if she couldn't protect Laurie at least Clara would be safe. They make for interesting antagonists, not one-sided McEvil villains by any means, even if William is throughly detestable.

The one thing that I felt was slightly false was Laurie's acting ability. While I do buy him being a talented actor, he still had very little experience actually acting on stage, besides the seasonal pantomime, even if he did have a lot of experience working behind the scenes. I can see him being good, but not an immediate genius. It did get his character out of a sticky situation financially, and makes for better drama then him, say, getting a job as part of the stage crew (which he had a lot more experience doing), but getting the lead role in Hamlet, even for community theater, and then a full time gig on Le Miz (even if it was a bit role in the chorus) as his first and second jobs? I really don't buy it. Still, that was the only off-note for me, and I could easily ignore it in favor of everything else that was going on.

This is truly an outstanding novel. After reading this book and Scrap Metal I am now a huge fan of this author.