Review of “The Boy Who Came In From the Cold” from Gay List Book Reviews
This book was not the story I thought it would be from the blurb and this trope. I was expecting a huddled, feeble man-child found half hidden in a snow drift and rescued by a rough, emotionally damaged, stoic barbarian. If that is what you are expecting too, let me be the first to say, wrong book.
And thank goodness.
Todd Burton is young and freezing, but his pride and closet keep him warm enough that he almost doesn’t get to be a part of this story. Until he realizes the one person who has shown him kindness, an openly gay man, is his only hope.
Todd is not comfortable with himself. He fears the desires he feels building inside, to touch and be touched, by men. He has dreams that he sees shatter into bits. His pride burns. He is desperate for a chance to make it on his own in Kansas City, but nothing seems to be working for him. He lacks the street smarts to go with his ambition and he knows it. And now he’s stuck. Does he dare ask for help from someone that confuses him, scares him, sees him? Can he allow himself to get close to a man who openly expresses the feelings and desires that he tries so hard to ignore?
Gabe is perfect. An out and proud man, he sees a younger version of himself in this scared and desperate man and knows he can help. Just for a night, maybe two. Or at least until he gets on his feet. I adored Gabe. His compassion for Todd, despite a past that would put anyone on edge, made me cheer that all would go well.
One of my favorite parts is near the beginning of the story, and shows these two men well. Gabe has to go to work the morning after bringing in Todd from the cold and he leaves a frozen chicken ready to be stuck in the crock-pot to cook. First, Gabe left Todd, knowing only what Todd had told him, alone in his apartment. He showed him great trust. Todd recognized that and wanting to prove to Gabe that he is worthy of the trust, he prepares a nice chicken dinner, much better than what Gabe had expected. Todd wanted to earn that trust and Gabe gave it without strings. It might sound funny, the beginnings of love over a chicken dinner, but I saw two men who were trying.
Although Todd may start all alone that quickly changes as he is welcomed into Gabe’s life. Gabe’s friends are amazing. Tracy, the sceptic and cornerstone of this little family of friends. She is wary of Todd, but her loyalty and love for Gabe make her an ally in their lives. Peter is Gabe’s boss and mentor, but he is also his closest friend. Peter hears about Todd and pushes himself into Todd’s life. He sees a beautiful, broken yet determined man and knows that Gabe and Todd can be healing for each other. I love how they all build each other up. Peter is a joy. I loved his influence on both of these men, showing them another example of what love looks like. His approval and help move these men in the right direction.
I enjoyed the pace of this book. I loved the strength and pride these men had. And I loved the sweetness and joy that would pop up throughout the story. There was also pain and growth and wounds that had to heal. All were written seamlessly. Well done, Mr. Thomas, for giving us a great story. I enjoyed it greatly.