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on June 24, 2010
I greatly enjoyed this new novel by Ford. It is good to have a novel with a gay main character where there is decent plot and character development, without the story being another coming out saga. This book is for those of us that have a few years under our belts and is not a part of the new "Romance" genre that seems to be dominate with gay novels these days. Also sex is not the driving force of this novel but father/son relationship. I would recommend this book along with most of Ford's novels.
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on May 26, 2010
The term "coming-of-age novel" is usually used to describe a story in which a youthful character develops morally, emotionally and/or intellectually, in making the transition to maturity. Some of us "late bloomers" may not actually take that step until later in life, as is the case with Michael Thomas Ford's 40 years old protagonist in "The Road Home."

Professional photographer Burke Crenshaw is living the gay single life in Boston, until a broken leg and arm in an auto accident force him to convalesce at his boyhood home, a sheep farm in rural Vermont. Having been estranged from his father for many years, and having that silence magnified by the subsequent death of his mother, Burke feels like a stranger with his uncommunicative father, although his new girlfriend, Lucy, does her best to make him feel welcome. A bittersweet memory from his teen years surfaces, when Burke sees his first crush, Mars Janks. Mars's 20 year old son Will, who works with his dad in his veterinary practice, is also the spitting image of his dad at that age, and life gets suddenly more complicated for Burke when Will makes a pass at him. Burke also gets involved in researching what may have been a local gay couple who fought in the Civil War, and meets an interesting local librarian whose varied interests include attending gay pagan festivals. Ultimately, Burke must face the reality of his relationship with his father, and how it has affected his ability to maintain other relationships and choices made in his life.

Ford is a master at creating relatable, full-nuanced and emotionally- realistic characters and this is no exception to his track record. The story guides the reader to examine his own relationships and choices in life, and reassess priorities in life. Enthusiastically recommended read, which I give five bright stars in a clear Vermont night sky!

- Bob Lind, Echo Magazine
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on June 23, 2010
The at-times great writing by Michael Thomas Ford in this new novel is somewhat negated by some credibility issues. Apparently, nearly everyone in Vermont is gay: the doctor, the librarian, the gallery owner (OK, maybe this one is plausible), the girlfriend of the main character's father (who has had lesbian fantasies), the vet (who had a gay experience earlier in life), the vet's son (20 year-old Will), and the main character himself, Burke. Plus assorted others. But, hey, gay fiction is Ford's genre so we get beyond this. Will comes on to Burke despite the fact that Burke is twice his age and in not one but two casts. This attraction is not explained nor is why Will thought Burke would be receptive. (Gaydar? Not mentioned.) Then there are the Civil War characters Burke discovers in some old photographs. Guess what? A number of them turn out to be gay! Then there are the ghosts which, absent any resolution prior to the end of the story, we are left to believe are that: ghosts spooking rural New England. The whole description of Destiny, a gay version of the Bohemian Grove or Burning Man festival, is over-the-top. The place evidently really exists but not in the way reported here. I get the impression that Mr. Ford had a concept for a story about a man going home to be with his estranged father. He then seems to have run out of steam and had to layer in the Civil War angle to bulk it up to something more than a novella. This was still not enough so he added the Destiny chapter to barely make it to 250 pages. Still, there are redeeming, enjoyable features. The love scenes between Will and Burke are hot! Some of the dialogue is funny and some of the character descriptions are colorful. Lay back and read this with a soupcon of skepticism.
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on September 3, 2010
I was struck by the realism of Burke's struggle with his sexuality. Even though he had lived a gay life for many years, he still had not come to terms with himself when he went back home. His involvement with the young man and finally with the librarian and finding himself is a universal struggle we all have. The confrontation with his father struck home for me. I really enjoyed this book.
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on May 28, 2011
I have read most of Ford's previous novels and have enjoyed his well- developed, likeable characters. Although his main players here are the kind of people you wouldn't mind spending time with, I feel the novel is sidetracked by the underdevelopment of those characters and by subplots that seem to go nowhere. The Civil War multi-generational "mystery-ghost story" is complex, hard to follow, and, for me, just plain boring. Way too much type is devoted to this when, in my opinion, an in-depth exploration of interactions among the characters would be more interesting. Why not build and explore tensions among Will(closeted 20 year old who pursues Burke), Burke (city slicker photographer, age 40) and Sam (the local librarian who seems to have his act together)? We are teased into investing time in the Will/Burke relationship and all of a sudden Will is history. Both Will and Sam don't seem fully realized. Had Ford trusted his characters more and given us less "plot," I feel the novel would have been much better.
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on August 23, 2011
First let me say that the book is no "Last Summer" or "Looking For It". And that's just fine. MTF is my favourite author, and I picked up this volume at my local library. Managed to read through it in a couple of days. It was good and hard to put down. The characters are few, and easy to understand, but the plot is very linear. There's a good deal of ink on the subject of a Civil War romance, and while that may bore some enough to skip over it, it will enlighten others.

Having read Ford's earliest novels and this one, I can tell there's definite growth as a writer. The style here is not overwhelmed with an avalanche of minor detail, and it's easy to remember who is who. It makes perfect sense that coming out and raunchy sex and finding your place is not the focus of this novel - there are plenty of those about, and thus Ford distinguishes himself as an author.

In his next book, I hope Ford negotiates the balance between the former and the latter styles, and gets them both into one.
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on June 14, 2010
Michael Thomas Ford has always been able to tell a good story--I've always enjoyed his books. But with "The Road Home" he has hit his stride. The story begins with a runaway toboggan that leaves young Burke Crenshaw unconscious, coming to in a hospital as a forty year old Bostonian photographer with both a broken leg and arm. As he was coming out of anesthesia, his childhood memories of the sled accident were triggered, leaving him confused as to just where he was and what had happened. With a long convalescence ahead of him, he ends up back at his childhood home in Vermont and with his father whom he has drawn away from over the years. He sees change in his father as reflected in his dad's live-in girlfriend who often surprises Burke with her openness and friendship. I found the characters vivid and the story solid and personal.

The novel reads with an ease that reflects its rural country setting and I'm sure that's no accident.
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on January 12, 2011
This talented gay writer has done it again. He has created another story about interesting and realistic gay and straight characters that are entertaining and emotionally on target. Forty-year-old Burke is forced by an injury to return to his childhood home. Much to his surprise, he makes special new friends and encounters an unusual mystery from the past. Small town life turns out to have some advantages. I found this to be a quick and easy read, mostly free of the bitterness and sarcasm that sometimes fill books about contemporary gay life. Some insight is provided regarding personal relationships of all kinds, and the always hoped for happy ending is in place.
Michael Travis Jasper, Author of the Novel, "To Be Chosen"
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on December 6, 2011
This is by no means a boring book. It is a look at a mans life when he has to go home to his childhood home to be cared for by his estranged father after an accident. While there the main character, Burke, works through what is essentailly his mid-life chrisis. He ends up reading a book that was wrritten by the late of husband of his fathers girlfriend about the history of the area in the Civil War and finds one of the letters fascinating enough to research it. Along the way he meets new friends and lovers who help him get to his happy place.
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on August 14, 2010
I have read every novel Michael Thomas Ford has written. This was one of my favorites. Although the majority of the plot deals with the day-to-day lives of his gay characters, every so often, there will be a steamy sexually charged chapter that is quite erotic. He is so articulate with his feelings and his readings are easy to follow. I usually save his readings for airline travel, as his books grant me the opportunity to read and not have mindless banter with the passenger sitting next to me. I eagerly await his next publication.
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