I’m pretty sure I must have been a gay man in a past life. I love gay men. No one else understands a woman or what she’s looking for in romance quite like a gay man. My first boyfriend in public school turned out to be gay, a major high school crush was gay; my first lover was bisexual and I spent the entire year from the summers of 1994 to 1995 in Vancouver hanging out with gay men. Man, do they know how to party! Up until October 2003, I always had a gay man for a close friend, but my dear friend Don died of HIV-complicated issues that month and there really hasn’t been anyone like him since. There’s definitely a pattern there and of course there’s the fact that I’m still single at 47. Yes, I’m quite sure I was a gay man in a past life.
I have never read a gay romantic fantasy before but The Rest Of Our Lives by Dan Stone is exactly that. It’s utterly delightful in a Bewitched kind of way and I would love to see John Waters direct the movie version. If you love The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Priscilla Queen of The Desert, or To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar (as I do), you’re going to enjoy The Rest Of Our Lives like Divine loved her Marilyn Monroe-blonde wigs. However, The Rest Of Our Lives isn’t raunchy like a John Waters film, it’s incredibly sweet, enchanting, sexy, thoughtful and romantic, as well as unabashedly gay. There are even a few chapters set in Provincetown!
Colm and Aidan are two passionate, beautiful souls who have been linked together lifetime after lifetime: one fire and the other ice – unable to exist without the other.
Colm McKenna has spent his whole life feeling like an outsider and a freak. A natural blonde elemental witch who has the ability to control water & ice, freeze everything around him and literally stop time, he was raised by his Aunt Belle in St. Clair, North Carolina and never felt as if she or anyone else in his family truly understood him. When we join him in the present chapter of his life, Colm is a quiet, shy, isolated assistant manager (clueless about his own beauty) of a rare bookstore/photographer in Washington, DC whose ice-blue eyes spot the dark and dangerously handsome Aidan Gallagher for the first time at the annual Pridefest parade. Aidan just happens to be an elemental witch as well, only his element is fire and where Colm “creates stillness, he creates motion and the warming of the South Wind.”
Colm’s boss and good friend Kermit later introduces them at a house party but Colm doesn’t trust that his dreams might come true and that a man who is perfect for him not only actually exists, but truly wants to love him forever. (I suffer from the same stultifying fear.) It takes a cast of colourful characters including Aidan’s psychic Aunt Lu and Colm’s dying Aunt Belle to ultimately convince Colm that in this lifetime, his and Aidan’s destiny will be different from that of their past lives, and they will get to live happily ever after.
Even against a fairy tale backdrop, Dan Stone knows how to write compelling characters and great chapter titles too. Some of my favourites in this book are “Cool, Colm and Collaborated”, “Humping Through The Ages”, “Hex Upon The Beach” and “For Whom The Belle Told.” He obviously has a wonderful sense of humour. For every moment of humour there is also one of poignancy, so by the time I read the final chapter and Colm’s mother’s letter to him, I had tears in my eyes. This is a charming paranormal love story that will burn bright in your imagination long after you read the last page!
I want to live in the world that Dan Stone created in this novel and I want to spend the rest of my life with the Aidan that I hope is out there for me. Sigh…