Nate Kingsley is a master at messing up. Out of jealousy, he outed his best friend in a public and embarrassing way. Now he’s doing his best to make up for his crimes, but it’s left him empty and frustrated, unfulfilled even by his career as an opera singer and creative director. He enters an unsatisfying relationship he keeps hidden from his closest friends. When that ends on a disappointing note, he seeks solace in his crush on one of the drag queens performing at his favorite club.
Izzy Kaplan is an EMT by day, a drag queen named TaTa Latke by night. He hasn’t been in a relationship since his divorce from his wife, despite the best efforts of his mothers and his work partner. He avoids their suggestions in favor of attending the opera alone to see the gorgeous baritone who’s caught his eye. He knows it’s just a fantasy, but it’s easier than starting over.
A charity performance to benefit a local youth shelter and clinic puts them in each other’s lives in an unexpected way. They begin to emerge from their relationship disasters, slowly building trust. But unknown to themselves or each other, they are facing separate health crises that might be enough to send them both running the opposite way. It will take drawing on the love and strength of their friends and families to bring them back together again.
Notes from Boston is a series about four friends navigating the ups and downs of life, relationships, and their music careers in the historic city. Book Two follows Nate in the aftermath of Trevor Davidson’s messy coming out as a bisexual Christian singer in Notes From Boston #1: Anthem.
I truly enjoyed this story. I didn’t read the first book in this series and was never confused or lost. I did feel like I was thrown in the deep end at first because of the amount of friends involved in the story and I had to play catch up to learn who was who and dating who else. That initial learning curve was quick though and I enjoyed seeing all of the friends involved in the story. The journey Nate and Izzy go on to be together was lovely. Many of Ms. Leibowitz’s books have a relationship in the story that isn’t the end couple. However the relationship always has a purpose for the story and the character. Here, Nate’s short lived fling before getting together with Izzy has him learning how own self value and some other lessons along the way.
Nate struggled with himself. He had to overcome his own inner demons before he could be ready for a relationship. Watching him work through the issue with his friend Trevor was so emotional. Nate felt with his whole self. He cared for his friends and wanted everyone around him to be happy and succeed. He also wanted to take relationships slowly. The scene where Nate finally felt comfortable enough to share his desires with Izzy was wonderful. Seeing him let go and enjoy was beautiful.
Izzy was a complex character. He has a full history that was completely fascinating. I loved all of his many facets. His drag persona was so much fun. He owned the stage when he was singing. His bouts of insecurities were different than Nate’s. His fears were just as vivid as Nate’s but came from a completely different place. Watching Izzy fall for Nate and then realize their road was decidedly more curved than they originally thought was amazing. I adored seeing Izzy fall for Nate.
Nate and Izzy were so good together. They had a bumpy road but they weathered it together. Both Nate and Izzy were surrounded by supportive friends and family. They leaned on each other when they needed it and enjoyed the times they had to themselves. Nate’s friends were amazing. I would love to know more about Jamie and to see him get a happy ending. There’s more going on there than we learn in this story. I liked how Nate and Trevor are able to move past their issues and rekindle their tight friendship. I adored Izzy’s friend Val. She didn’t take crap from anyone and had Izzy’s back unconditionally. There were a few times I didn’t think Nate and Izzy would get it together enough to become a couple. But they definitely got there and wound up so happy. They will continue to have a long road ahead of them. But they’re so in love and will work to keep each other happy as log as they live.
Four and a half
A.M. Leibowitz is a queer spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. They keep warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing about life, relationships, hope, and happy-for-now endings. In between noveling and editing, they blog coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, writing, books, and their family.