Author: Max MacGowan
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary Polyamorous
Noah Trevelyan has lost his moorings. Disowned over his sexuality as a teenager, he hasn’t been back to his home on the Outer Banks since his fisherman father kicked him out. But when he returns for the Old Man’s funeral, he discovers his father left him the house and boat in his will. Noah must choose whether to stay or go, but he won’t be alone. There’s Ian, working to overcome the emotional scars left by a domineering ex-boyfriend, and Ty, a cheerful housekeeper who’s struggling to take care of his Alzheimer’s-stricken aunt. There’s Joshua too, running from the destruction of his old life, and Gabriel, who was once beaten and left for dead, and doesn’t know how to survive on his own.
Will they find in each other the strength and courage to keep living—and learn, together, how to love again? A polyamorous relationship is the last thing any of them expected to find in the Outer Banks, but it might be what they need most, and it might even be their redemption—if they can keep their group from breaking apart under the pressure.
Five Sided Heart by Max MacGowan is a polyamorous romance set in the Outer Banks. Told from multiple POV, the novel starts off with a funeral of one of the five men’s father, Noah Trevelyan. Noah was kicked out his house for being gay at eighteen, and returned back to his hometown for the first time in years. He is an outcast to a majority of the islanders who view him as the prodigal son (in a way) but just way too late. One local who has no problem telling Noah how he feels about him is Ian, an out gay man and conservationist. He’s been Noah’s father’s neighbor for the last 5 years. Another local doesn’t share Ian’s view due to having more than enough on his plate is young Ty. Ty and Ian get offered a ride on Noah’s boat while trying to escape and Noah just so happens to invite two stranded strangers, Joshua and Gabriel.
What starts a good deed ends in a bit of a disaster. But the disaster is also the foundation of all the troubled men to start a relationship.
Five men in a relationship? You’re probably thinking this was a fantab erotica.
This is more of a romance, I think a little ambitious. But kudos for tackling a poly romance and trying to capture all of the mens’ feelings. The story relies heavily on characters to get the story moving and, for me, it did not scratch enough of the surface for all men equally.
I have the honor of reading all of MacGowan’s work, all of two. And with both books, the author has a way of piecing together the plot: with MacGowan’s debut, the plot was told by different states visited. In this book, it was a different POV.
I would really like to read a simple plot from this author, that just follows the romantic leads (however many make up the partnership) where the characters get a deeper connection and further characterization. I rated both books by this author the same, but character wise, the debut was better. What did Noah do for a living? How could he stay for all those weeks with no cash flow? Gabriel and Joshua, the most damaged of the five, barely touched the surface onto their background. The crux of Ty’s situation gets cutoff and somehow it left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
There were a number of times where that feeling happened- cut off scenes mostly – albeit sex scenes, the insta-connection, the kink of one of the guys. I’ll stretch the rubber band of reality with five men who all just so happen to be gay on dock at the right time, who were open to be in a relationship.
And the last 15-20% was a soft finish. What’s up with Ian’s ex? If there was ever a guy to wish ill on, it’s Ian’s ex. He’s a douche canoe and oddly needed to make the plot move. But the way he entered the book and the way he left, didn’t match to how he was originally portrayed for me.
The men are a good group together – they all have their roles in the group: Noah is the paternal one, Ian is like a hen gathering his chicks and feeding them, Ty is happy-go-lucky and still a young pup, Gabriel is scarred, artistic and listens to what is said and unsaid and Joshua who had a rough patch is very intuitive and lives for the moment.
Good guys, I do think they’ll last.
The sex takes a backseat to the romance, so if you’ve come for erotica, look somewhere else. It’s an interesting read, but not something I’d re-read.
I think this would work best for fans of the Outer Banks and poly romances where the characters are developed just enough to keep the plot moving.
Dreamspinner Press https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/five-sided-heart-by-max-macgowan-6798-b