Marc reviews ‘We are Fallingwater’ by Xavier Mayne. This book was published on November 25th, 2016 by Xavier Mayne and is about 329 pages long.
RGR received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book:
When we received this review request, the book called to me before I even saw the cover or read the blurb. I am not really that interested in architecture, but when I discovered the Fallingwater house by Frank Lloyd Wright I fell in love. The house we moved into had a huge drawing of Fallingwater in the living room and it fascinated me so much that I even visited the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibition in the Guggenheim museum in NYC years later. For a house like that, you need a strong foundation and every part of the house has to be well balanced. When I started the book, I hoped the relationship between the three main characters would be just as well-balanced 🙂
Trent Jackson is a single dad, doing the best he can to raise his son Oscar. He hadn’t realized how lonely he’d become until Arlo Wheeler strolls into his life. A devoted househusband, Arlo becomes the friend Trent didn’t know he needed.
The two become fast friends, getting closer than either of them ever expected. So close, in fact, that Arlo’s wife Cara grows concerned; several of her friends consider Trent and Arlo the cutest gay couple in town.
Their new friendship doesn’t seem to have boundaries—finally they admit their attraction for each other, but then they must figure out how to preserve their relationship and Arlo and Cara’s marriage.
Trapped between their love for each other and their devotion to their families, their happiness depends on Cara’s willingness to redefine the very nature of her marriage to Arlo. Is their bond strong enough to welcome Trent to share it with them? Read an Excerpt
I love menage stories when they are well done, but the balance of a relationship between more than two partners is a difficult balancing act. They all have to be interesting characters in their own right and each partner needs to have chemistry with the other partners. I’m so glad the reference to the Fallingwater house (which I love) made me interested in reading this book. Arlo and Cara’s marriage has such a strong foundation of trust and love that it doesn’t fall apart even when all boundaries fall between Arlo and his new friend Trent.
Previous works of this author were fun and at times unexpectedly insightful, but I am glad Xavier Mayne decided on a more serious approach with this book. That does not mean it is not fun. I had a blast reading this book. It had me smiling, chuckling and laughing out loud. There are wonderful humorous moments and a lot of light-hearted fun, especially in the banter between Arlo and Trent. However, this book is not just a fun fantasy, but takes the exploration of sexuality and gender norms and the relationship between these three well-crafted characters very serious.
The book takes a lot of time to develop the relationships, especially between Arlo and Trent. I would have loved for Cara to have been part of this dynamic earlier, because she is such a fantastic character, but I think every reader will appreciate how open-minded, understanding and all-around wonderful she is and how important her role is in making this whole thing work. Still, I would have enjoyed if the author had spent more time exploring the connection between Cara and Trent, before it became vital for them to hit it off in a big way.
In the beginning we see the budding bromance between Arlo, a stay-at-home dad and Trent, a single dad slowly being crushed by the responsibilities of his fatherhood, even as he tries to do everything right for his son. Both men love their kids and the friendship they form is beautiful and pure. We also see Arlo with his wife and the beautiful trust and love between them. They are perfect for each other and belong together, even if Cara is often gone.
I have to admit that some of the situations in this book made me feel a bit uncomfortable, because the boundaries between these two men really are pushed and broken between these men in a way that takes the term ‘bromance’ to a whole other level. It is the innocence of their affection and the open and fearless way all three characters respond to it that made it work for me.
So often there are books filled with idiotic and unnecessary misunderstandings that artificially drive a wedge between characters. It was really refreshing to have characters communicate openly with each other. I enjoyed it so much! In the end, given how much certain boundaries are pushed and how complicated everything is, the events of this book almost seem too easy and angst-free and the characters too ‘good’. On the other hand, we live in times where honest communication, respect and understanding no longer seem as important to many people. Seeing these characters embrace those values and navigating a very difficult situation in such a graceful way gives me hope.
These characters may not be real, but they feel real and what they stand for is beautiful. I want to aspire to be as open-minded and fearless in my love. This story has touched me deeply and I can strongly recommend reading it.
8.5/10 Pots of Gold (85% Recommended)
Compares to 4.25/5 Stars
Xavier Mayne is the pen name of a writer who has been both a university professor of English and a marketing professional for software companies. He currently manages a team of writers for a large technology company based in the US Pacific Northwest. Versed in academic theories of sexual identity, he is passionate about writing stories in which men experience a love that pushes them beyond the boundaries they thought defined their sexuality. He believes that romance can be hot, funny, and sweet in equal measure.
The name Xavier Mayne is a tribute to the pioneering gay author Edward Prime-Stevenson, who also used it as a pen name. He wrote the first openly gay novel by an American, 1906’s Imre: A Memorandum, which depicts two masculine men falling in love despite social pressures that attempt to keep them apart.