Monday, April 4, 2011

Chasing Butterflies by Cat Kane

TITLE: Chasing Butterflies
AUTHOR: Cat Kane
PUBLISHER: Liquid Silver Books
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 36k)
GENRE: Gay contemporary erotic romance
COST: $5.50

When his car breaks down on his way to Savannah, Nolan finds himself stuck in a small town with little else to do but spend time with a friendly local. Gray has been kicked out of his house, and in desperate need of a room, convinces Nolan to share. When Gray makes his attraction clear, Nolan tries to resist, but some things are just out of his control…

I love the title of this novella. It was one of the reasons why I decided to give it a whirl when the blurb didn’t necessarily scream buy me. But unfortunately, my reservations from the blurb ended up prevailing.

Nolan is on his way to Savannah, to help out an ex with his bar. He’s trying to re-imagine his life and identity after his most recent boyfriend kicked him out because he thought Nolan needed to learn some responsibility. Nolan’s good intentions get ground to a halt when his car rental breaks down outside a tiny Tennessee town. He’s forced to find a room, but lucky for him, he’s arrived just before most people are expected to come for the town’s annual butterfly festival. He meets Gray, a local who seems as much as a free spirit as he’s always been. Gray’s personal life seems to be in turmoil, but when he makes it known he’s attracted to Nolan, Nolan eventually gives in.

Nolan is presented as charming but irresponsible. This promise to help his ex is his first planned step in refocusing his life. Something has to be better than renting out the living room walls to art students and getting dumped. It’s entertaining at first, but Nolan’s reactions to Gray begin to grate fairly early. Gray has been kicked out of his house by a woman named Maddy, but rather than get the whole story from Gray or anybody else in town, Nolan creates his own version of events.

Therein lies my problem.

Absolutely all of the conflict stems from this Big Misunderstanding. Gray does it, too, which only compounds my frustration. All of the angst, all of the emotional drama, comes from assumptions made by both men, assumptions that could have been cleared up if they ever bothered to actually finish a conversation. It’s so blatant from such an early point in the story that I spent more time wanting to shake some sense into them than getting invested in their romance.

The writing itself is not to blame. It’s clean and unassuming, rarely getting in its own way. That lapses toward the end of the story when the butterfly metaphor gets heavy-handed. Any delicacy it might have had throughout the duration of the story – and it was there, I noted more than one the similarities between Nolan and the butterflies – was turned into a sledgehammer.

None of this has soured me on this author, though. There’s a terrific sense of place and small town charm surrounding the leads, and Nolan, outside of his rather annoying assumptions, was really quite adorable. I just had no tolerance for the misunderstanding that fueled this contemporary, proving that this particular romance wasn’t for me.


8/10 – Clean and unassuming, though the butterfly metaphor gets way too heavy-handed as the story progresses

Hero #1

6/10 – His refusal to actually get clarification on everything really annoyed me

Hero #2

5/10 – Seems too mercurial throughout most of the story, though that’s largely because it remains rooted firmly in Nolan’s POV

Entertainment value

5/10 – I got too annoyed with the Big Misunderstanding to really enjoy the romance

World building

8/10 – The small town charm was probably the best part of this



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