Del Randolph knows he isn’t the smartest fellow on the force, but his recent promotion to motor cop is a dream come true. He’s no longer stuck directing traffic and it finally feels like he’s making something of himself. During an evening out, Del meets Ev and overnight his world is turned upside down. Ev is feminine and beautiful and everything Del wants in a partner. Their relationship doesn’t exactly get off to a perfect start, but love seems determined to bring the two men together.
But life is never easy and both Del and Ev find themselves constantly faced by challenges. The world demands people fit into neat, well-ordered molds and it tends to fear the non-conformers. And that forces Del and Ev to decide if they’re supposed to live for everyone else or for themselves.
My Baby Chased Away the Blues had some issues, but on the whole it was a strong book with two main characters that really made an impression. The book takes place during Prohibition and deals with everything from job loss and bootlegging, to the struggle of being gay in historical LA. There are some pacing problems, especially during the middle of the book, but for the most part the plot feels fluid and fleshed out. The relationship between Del and Ev is well done and it grows and evolves with a realism that I loved. They struggle with communicating, managing their expectations, and accepting their realities the same as any other couple. Neither of them are perfect and I appreciated that their arguments ranged from the petty to the serious and all very human.
Ev is one of those complex characters that grabbed me as a reader. He’s gender non-conforming and struggles with being himself and being what the outside world demands. He’s an emotional rollercoaster and has a history of being badly abused, so his initial gun-shy response to Del makes absolute sense. As a reader, I just hated that he couldn’t be himself all the time. So many in the LGBTQ community continue to struggle for equality and in Ev we see that being different has never been very easy. Del is a bit of an idiot and at times he does things that are so dumb it’s hard to believe. Some of this seemed a bit exaggerated, though I’m willing to concede there’s plenty of stupid out there. Still, his loyalty and love for Ev is endearing and tend to distract from some of his ridiculous decisions.
There are times when My Baby Chased Away the Blues gets a little bogged down by filler. It doesn’t happen much, but the story will be rolling along and then it starts to drift away from the plot at hand. This ties into the mild pacing issues I mentioned earlier and while it’s a bit distracting, it doesn’t disrupt the book for long.
My Baby Chased Away the Blues is a fairly strong historical romance between two characters that tug at the heartstrings. Del and Ev are a sweet couple whose trials are relatable and rooted in reality. They’re a well-developed couple and I found them pretty endearing. There are some pacing issues and some spots where the story could have used trimming down, but these were smaller problems. Consider this one recommended.