Book Reviews

Blue Umbrella Sky by Rick R. Reed at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Mature Lovers / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 19-March-2019

Book Blurb

Milt Grabaur has left his life, home, and teaching career in Ohio to start anew. The Summer Winds trailer park in Palm Springs, butted up against the San Jacinto mountain range, seems the perfect place to forget the pain of nursing his beloved husband through Alzheimer's and seeing him off on his final passage.


Billy Blue is a sexy California surfer type who once dreamed of being a singer but now works at Trader Joe’s and lives in his own trailer at Summer Winds. He’s focused on recovery from the alcoholism that put his dreams on hold.


When his new neighbor moves in, Billy falls for the gray-eyed man. His sadness and loneliness awaken something Billy’s never felt before—real love.


When a summer storm and flash flood jeopardize Milt's home, Billy comes to the rescue, hoping the two men might get better acquainted… and maybe begin a new romance.


But Milt's devotion to his late husband is strong, and he worries that acting on his attraction will be a betrayal.


Can they lay down their baggage and find out how redemptive love can be?


Book Review

“It's a wise man who understands that every day is a new beginning, because boy, how many mistakes do you make in a day? I don't know about you, but I make plenty. You can't turn the clock back, so you have to look ahead.” — Mel Gibson

New beginnings often sound better than they turn out to be, usually take longer than expected, and can require a lot more hard work than advertised. This novel tells the story of two very different men who are trying to start over but encounter lots of obstacles, both of the expected and of the unexpected kind. Set in a trailer park with the inspiring name “Summer Winds” southwest of Palm Springs, California, their struggle for happiness touched me deeply. There are a fair number of flashbacks to fill in the gaps of the past, and even though I normally don’t like them, they gave me more details about the characters while keeping the story going and since each was set in a separate chapter, they were well enough placed not to interrupt too much.

Milt has lost his husband to Alzheimer’s nine months earlier and moved from Ohio to California for the sunshine, to get away from an environment where everything reminds him about the loss he suffered, and while he has no intention of forgetting how much he loved his husband, he needs to find a way to live without being depressed all the time. It’s ironic that an unexpected thunderstorm rains him out of his trailer and makes him meet his neighbor, but it goes to show that good things can come from bad situations. Not that Milt is looking for something good, he is much too hesitant and feels as though he’d betray his husband if he allowed himself to so much as think about another man.

Billy is a talented singer, but he is also an alcoholic and veered far off anything you could call a career in his search for the bottom of the bottle. He moved to “Summer Winds” for a new place to support his recovery. He has had a crush on Milt from the moment the older man became his neighbor, but the better he gets to know Milt, the less he believes his dreams of a romance can come true. But they are becoming friends as they spend time together, so Billy tells himself that maybe that’s all they’re meant to be.

Between Milt dealing with his grief, finding closure for the feelings he still has for his husband, and slowly returning to the land of the living on one hand, and the back story of Billy fighting alcoholism and trying to figure out what to do with his future on the other, there is quite a lot of character change and growth in this story. Nothing is rushed and that made what ultimately happens between Milt and Billy all the more plausible. There is no insta-love in these pages, and with everything hanging in the balance for quite some time, my relief when Milt and Billy do figure out their relationship was significant.

If you like character-driven romances, if you think even the loneliest people can find a partner to share their life with, and if you’re looking for a read with depth and realism, you will probably like this novel as much as I do. It’s not a lighthearted book by any means, but so emotionally gripping that I couldn’t put it down.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 200 pages/60402 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 19-March-2019
Price $6.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback, $14.99 bundle
Buy Link