Title: Long the Mile by Ally Blue
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Romance, M/M
Length: 144 pages/Word Count: 38,000
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher
Sometimes it takes losing everything to find what you really need.
When Judah went to prison for insider trading, he lost everything he thought was important: his business, his money, his power. But when he gets out, homelessness strips him of the one thing he has left: his self-respect. When another homeless man saves him from a beating, he begins to learn to rely on the goodness of those around him.
For Toby, life on the streets has become familiar. Comfortable. So comfortable he wonders if he’s given up on changing his life for the better. Then comes Judah. Formerly rich, newly homeless, all his pride and attitude gone along with his material possessions. Helping Judah feels good. Their unexpected connection—physical and beyond—feels even better.
Their shared situation nurtures a growing closeness that blossoms into something deeper. But when change comes knocking, it will take all their strength to keep fear and insecurity from tearing them apart.
Note: 20% of all proceeds from this title are donated to the Ali Forney Center in New York, whose mission “is to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) youth from the harm of homelessness, and to support them in becoming safe and independent as they move from adolescence to adulthood.” To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit http://www.aliforneycenter.org/.
More than a romance, Ally Blue’s Long the Mile is a beautiful journey of self discovery. While this holiday-themed romance is not a light-hearted read, it is not bleak or depressing. It is a realistic and thought-provoking story that is ultimately hopeful and uplifting as Judah Jackson and Toby Simonsen find love despite their rather dire circumstances.
Although Judah is no stranger to hardship, he is ill-prepared for the difficulties he encounters following his release from prison. Unable to find a job and evicted from his apartment, Judah’s salvation comes from an unlikely source: Toby, the homeless man he briefly encountered and easily dismissed months earlier. With Toby’s assistance, Judah is soon safely navigating the homeless world he now inhabits and their friendship unexpectedly takes a romantic turn. But when one of the men finally finds employment the future of their relationship is in jeopardy.
Long the Mile is told from both Judah and Toby’s perspectives and this helps to provide incredible insight into both characters and their current situations. They are a fascinating study in contrasts with vastly different personalities and diverse backgrounds. Despite his difficulties, Toby remains outgoing, optimistic and compassionate. Judah is a loner and at first, he is quite wary and distrustful. Toby is pretty much an open book but Judah is reluctant to reveal any of his past.
Firmly based in reality, Long the Mile is a well-written novella that has a great deal of depth and substance. Ally Blue deftly handles sensitive topics with ease and the resulting story is incredibly poignant. An enlightening and refreshingly honest read that I highly recommend.