Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 1-60504-058-4
Fantasy Romance, 2008
A gay romance revolving around the fairy ball? Hmm, that’s rather… obvious, if you ask me. Hey, I am talking about the kind of ball where folks get together and dance. What kind of “ball” do you think I was talking about? We also have a female character who plays the matchmaker for two male, er, fairies to get together. I believe Lily is supposed to be a representation of every straight woman who reads gay romance hoping to revel in the delicious fantasy of two naked hunks doing it doggy style. Does this mean that If Wishes Were Horses count as a deep kind of short story?
Lily knows that Lord Valerian loves Alaric. But Alaric would rather brood and work in his garden. What’s a gay romance without an emo pretty boy or two, after all? Alaric is scarred in the face, so that grants him double the usual emo quotient of a typical emo gay pretty boy in such a story. You may be wondering what happened between Valerian and Alaric, but because all is revealed slowly in a series of flashbacks that are interspersed with scenes taking place in the present, I believe I’d let the reader find out for herself instead of inadvertently spoiling the story. Let’s just say that this gay soap opera is predictably filled to the brim with emo pretty boy antics that culminate with a happy reconciliatory shag pile.
I can’t really say that Sarah Leslie has offered anything new or even a little groundbreaking here as, as far as gay romances go, she adheres pretty faithfully to some of the tropes are becoming increasingly clichéd in gay romances. On the bright side, the author has a lively voice and as silly/emo as the pretty boys can get here, their antics are made so much more tolerable by some knowing humor on the author’s part to let me know that she is not taking her characters too seriously and therefore neither should I.
For a short story, this one is therefore a most readable one. Come to think of it, the polished prose and effective humor easily make this one of the better gay short romances that I’ve read in a while.