There’s always an intriguing story and interesting characters to look forward to when reading something new from Gabriella West. Her latest, Elsie Street, is no different. I pre-ordered it and enjoyed reading it over the long Labor Day weekend. In it we meet Dave, a young Bostonian who is now enjoying California with his girlfriend Janine.
But when Dave loses his bar tending job, his entire world changes. Luckily, Janine helps get him a job as a security guard at a local museum. There, Dave meets a young man named Aaron and his sexual identity is reawakened, stemming from a brief affair he had with his college roommate long ago. What follows is the tensions that sexuality often causes when we are young and figuring out our place in this world, often riddled with guilt while figuring out what our true heart desires.
West embraces location. You’ll find yourself loving San Francisco just as much as her characters and wanting to visit there if you haven’t already. This being an M/M romance, she also writes romantic scenes quite beautifully and leaves just enough of the detail’s up to the reader’s imagination.
Most of the conflict plays out within her characters, especially as Dave questions his happiness with Janine and longs to be with Aaron. Her minor characters are also just as interesting. There’s Mike, Dave’s new tough-minded boss a supervisor named Vic, and Aaron’s sister Tessa. Ultimately, West pushes her story forward by giving her characters what they want, and what the reader wants them to have, often avoiding those real-life consequences that we face.
And that’s the beauty of a great story. We can separate ourselves from woes of the real world and just get lost in the world the author has given us.
Fortunately, I happen to know the author is considering a sequel, possibly even a third book where she’ll explore more of Dave and Aaron’s budding relationship, possibly involving some of the other characters’ story lines as well. I look forward to that!
Gabriella West has called San Francisco home since the late 80’s. She is the author of Time of Grace and The Leaving, both great books that I enjoyed. She’s written several fictional and nonfictional short ebooks that are also quite good. She’s also a professional editor for hire if you are in need.