Review: Joy by C.S. Poe

joyRating: 3.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novella

Gideon Joy has the worst luck. After quitting his latest job, he decides to take a trip cross country and back to clear his head and experience some things. But on a back road in rural New Hampshire, Gideon hits a moose and then careens into another car. Both his car and the other is damaged, and so Gideon offers to stay in town, get a job, and pay for the repairs. Silas, the man whose car he hit, is silent and stoic, but he drives Gideon back into town so he can find a place to stay and a job.

Gideon keeps running into Silas everywhere, and when he has the opportunity, tries to broaden Silas’s world with new food. Their constant encounters show Gideon that perhaps Silas’s silence is more than what it seems. Gideon’s bad luck keeps rearing its head as the two men begin to date, but Silas isn’t going to be run off. And Gideon might have just found his home.

Joy was a sweet, cute novella in the States of Love collection, and it had a lot going for it. Gideon was an adorable guy, and he really did have the worst luck. I loved the way Poe worked that into each part of the story. Gideon himself was a great narrator, self-deprecating and amusing, with an endearing earnestness. He was the kind of character you like to root for, and hope everything works out okay in the end.

I really enjoyed the premise of the story, and I loved the chemistry between the characters. I would have liked to see it more developed though, as it felt a little rushed to me. There was no doubt that Gideon and Silas had a connection, and I enjoyed watching it play out. But I would have liked more here, to really see it flourish instead of it just moving at fast forward. Silas wasn’t as well developed as Gideon, and I felt that was missing a bit. What we did get to see was sweet and endearing, his shy and quiet nature a wonderful contrast to Gideon’s brasher ways. The author was great at showing us Silas’s motivation, but I wanted to see a bit more of him and his thoughts.

Being part of this particular collection, I would have expected more of New Hampshire to be involved in the book. There was some great stuff about a covered bridge in the area, the aforementioned moose, and some wonderful description of the scenery. But other than that, it felt like it could have taken place in any small town across the country. So this part was missing a bit for me.

So I liked this one, particularly the characters. But it was a little rushed for me, and I wished things had been more developed and drawn out. But it’s a sweet, quick read, and definitely worth a look if you’re in the mood for exactly that.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

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  1. Thank you for the honest review. I looked into the States of Love books on the Dreamspinner website out of curiosity, because this book was the first I’d heard of it. Sadly (for me), they are all very short novellas, nothing over 175 pages that I saw, yet they range in price from $3.99-$5.99. Too expensive for me to pay for a short story.

    I also would have expected more of a state-specific focus considering the collection. I really like Ms. Poe’s work, but also need a bit of steam in my books. States of Love sounds like a great idea that got sidetracked by page count limitations put upon the authors perhaps. Surely more character development, state-specific information, and love scenes would have been included otherwise.

    I will have to wait until the book is offered directly from the author as a free read, or becomes available for 99¢ to justify a 69-page read, and I definitely won’t be buying any of the States of Love collection at those prices. Hopefully this current trend of short-stories-as-books will soon end because they aren’t benefiting anyone other than the publisher that I can see. Readers, and reviewers, are left wanting more, and the authors risk losing fans when expectations aren’t met. It’d be different if this was a story included within an anthology, but as a standalone, I need more than 100 pages.

    I also wanted to point out another little opposite in Joy. The usual expectations of the characters’ personalities based on looks is played on: the big, burly-looking Silas is quiet and subdued; the geeky-sweet- looking (my made-up term) Gideon is brash and bold. Bravo to Ms. Poe! She writes awesome characters. Maybe she will release an expanded version of Joy once her contract with Dreamspinner is up? Another example of why I don’t favor going with contracts and encourage self-publishing.

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