TITLE: You Had Me At Hero
Author: Michael P. Thomas
Publisher: JMS Books
Characters: Mark Potts/Starr Bradford
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Interracial
When seventeen-year-old Mark Potts fell from a balcony, he lost both the use of his legs and any faith in heroes. Now twenty-nine, he’s long-since come to terms with his injury. His job provides more opportunities for eye-rolling than for riding to anybody’s rescue, but with two kids to bring up, he barely has time for his husband, much less for heroics. Besides, Starr Bradford is a policeman — how many heroes does one family need?
Mark and Starr love each other madly, but stress management is a load-bearing pillar of their happiness. When Mark’s coping skills fail him at exactly the wrong moment, he’s left hanging by a thread of words he should’ve kept in his mouth. He has the power to repair their relationship, but when Starr’s workday suddenly goes south, will he get to wield it? Keeping it together long enough to find out is a job worthy of any superhero!
I got sucked into this story on the first page and stayed up late devouring the book in one sitting. The story is narrated in third person from Mark’s perspective, and I really liked him as a character. Despite an accident in his teens putting him in a wheelchair, he has moved forward and made a life for himself. Although in a wheelchair, that is not what defines him and nor does it stop him from living his life to the fullest.
His relationship with his husband, Starr, is very sweet, and it’s obvious that the two men are very much in love. I enjoyed their interactions, and their family life with their two boys Jory and Jarrett. It felt very realistic, and made me smile. The supporting cast of friends and family added to the storyline and gave the impression of the story being a slice of a complete world.
However, as with life, this story is not all sweetness and light. I really liked the way in which Mark—who is married to an African American and is raising African American sons—realises that being black brings with it bigotry that he hasn’t experienced before, despite being in a wheelchair and being gay. With his job as a 911 call centre operative, he listens to a lot of people at the other end of his phone, not all of whom share his perspective of the world. Heroes don’t all fight crime out in the field wearing a cape.
Mark and Starr also do fight on occasion, and like with most couples, the reason behind it is not always totally rational. This also added realism to the story, and when Starr is involved in a callout which goes quickly south I was on the edge of my seat needing to know that he would be okay.
The author’s writing style makes for a very easy read, and I’d been reading for some time, needing to see what happens next, without realising how late it was. It’s not the first novella I’ve read of Michael P. Thomas’s and hopefully it won’t be the last.
I’d recommend You Had Me At Hero to readers who enjoy a contemporary romance with interesting likeable characters which tackles some big issues but without shoving it in the reader’s face.
Reviewed By: Anne
Click HERE to purchase You Had Me at Hero