By R.A. Padmos
We like money. O rather, we like the positive effect of having enough money to not needing to worry about our next meal, the roof over our head, the cost of accident or illness. A bit more money to be able to have some fun in life is something that most of us wouldn’t say no to either, but knowing that we have at least enough to get through life without big worries about our basic needs is a huge factor in human happiness. It scores high on deciding factors for happiness in a relationship. Money can’t buy love, but a severe and chronic lack of it sure can break a marriage.
Can this be one of the reasons why romance novels, be they gay or straight, are not very often about characters in a (near) permanent situation of poverty? Of course, a temporary inconvenience that ends with the right kind of millionaire falling for our hero of heroine makes for a great story. And if not that, then a rags to riches story by sheer talent is equally fine. It gives the reader hope, even if for most it’s a fantasy that lasts a couple of hours before reality strikes with its lack of available men/women with big money and equal lack of insane talent combined with an even more insane amount of luck.
In Unspoken, money, or rather lack of it, is one of the big deciders for how Stefan, the main character, interprets the choices he has when it comes to his romantic and sexual feelings for another man. Of course he and his lover have their fantasies of getting away from it all, but they are brave and decent enough to face the reality of the situation. Stefan has the responsibility for his wife and their four children in a time of economic crisis followed by war and occupation. He also has found the love of his life, and he’s not planning on giving that up either.
Not a story to forget reality, I give you that. But perhaps it can be an inspiration to say in difficult times, “I’m not sure how I’ll manage to deal with this, but I’m giving it my best try.”
What’s it about?
When Stefan meets Adri, it is love at first sight. It does, however, take some time before he recognizes his own feelings. He’s a married man—a family man—with a strong sense of responsibility. In Dutch society of 1935, sex between men over the age of twenty-one might be legal, but acceptance is still a long way off.
As a working-class man without a steady job, he doesn’t have the means to ignore society’s rules and create his own little paradise in which both he and his lover can be together, without his family having to suffer poverty and shame. Despite all this, the lovers find a way to carve out moments of intimacy and happiness.
Then the Germans march into Holland and nothing will ever be the same again. The occupation, which will last five long years, offers both danger and chances, but choices have to be made—choices of the head and choices of the heart.
Readers might be interested to know that Stefan, Adri and others also play a role in The Bookshop, the story of bookseller Jakoba.
A small taste?
This scene takes place when Stefan and Adri visit Jo Swart, an old friend of Adri’s.
He recognized the avenue where Johannes Swart lived from work—a place with nothing but big, stately homes owned by families who had been rich enough for long enough to have lost all memory of ever having to do a manual job to get by.
“You never told me your friend had that kind of money.”
“Why should I have? He helped me to find my way in life, recommended me for a room, work, paid for evening classes but most of all he helped me to become an independent adult. And that can’t be bought with money. I have no idea about his fortune, but it must be huge since he hasn’t worked for his living for a single day in his life. Can you imagine that, trading in art just for fun? I bet it’s made him even richer than he already was. He could afford to be a patron for young artists and poets. He wouldn’t miss the couple of hundreds a year anyway.” There wasn’t even a hint of jealousy in Adri’s voice, not even when he said, “With his money, I could settle your family in a nice little cottage close to my own villa, make sure your kids went to proper schools and your wife never wanted for anything, and have you almost entirely to myself.”
“You were saying something about being an independent adult? Doesn’t that count for me too?” teased Stefan.
“Then we do it the other way around, with you being filthy rich, living in the big house with your family and me in the servants’ house. You can visit me any time you like.”
“And any time just happens to be every night?”
“Something like that.”
Where can I buy this book?
A few words about me?
In no particular order: woman, writer, in a relationship with my wife since 1981 (though we had to wait until 2001 until we could actually get married), mother of two grown sons, owner of cats (I can pretend, can’t I?), reader and a lot more.
I write in different genres under different names. I’m also S.Dora for my M/M erotica and Ella Laurance for my M/F erotica.
Where can you find me?
My blog: https://rapadmos.wordpress.com/
My Twitter: https://twitter.com/RAPadmos
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