Crossing the Line: A Novel

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In Philadelphia, two men—one of whom has just been retired from his position at a bank (Owen Gilroy), and the other, Brock Rosenstein, his partner who is a teacher of art at a high school—purchase a townhouse dating from 150 years ago. In one of those quirks of fate, the house turns out to have been the residence of an ancestor of Owen. Wanting to learn more about the acknowledged genius Hiram Milhouse, Owen sets out to trace the history of the man and the house.

As a young man Owen had married, which didn’t work out very well, resulting in a rather quick divorce, but leaving him with a daughter. Now the daughter (Julia) is married (for the second time) and has a son (Samir) by her first husband, an Iraqi. Julia wonders if her son has a ‘crush’ on his science teacher, the gorgeous Gordon Calkins. But Gordon shows himself to be interested in women as well as men, which initially confuses everyone. Samir worries that he may be gay like his grandfather, even while he submerges himself more into the science that so fascinated Hiram. It quickly becomes apparent that the boy may be even more talented than Hiram.

Samir’s father, who has been absent for most of his young life, re-enters the scene, and amidst the disarray of the other relationships in his family, leaves home to travel with his dad. Owen’s aged mother has a stroke and dies, even as Owen and Brock have run into romantic difficulties. Julia and her husband have finally become pregnant, and the political scene in Philadelphia presents other difficulties to overcome.

Mr. Miller has created an amazingly life-like character in Hiram Milhouse, and the use of actual historical documents to illuminate his life is brilliant! He certainly fooled me! I even Googled Milhouse to be sure he wasn’t real! I’m pleased to have made his acquaintance.

For the most part, I found this to be a thoroughly satisfying novel—on every level. At times, I sensed a bit of over-writing, but not enough to throw me out of the event that was happening. Simply put, Crossing the Line: A Novel is, to me—a straight, white, aging woman—a wonderful story of people, some of whom happen to be gay. They’re no better, no worse, than the rest of us, with the same wants and wishes and fears of just every day life. They’re bright and funny, silly at times, talented and hard-working in their chosen endeavor.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 352 pages
Publisher AuthorHouse
Publish Date 02-Jun-2010
ISBN 9781449043681 Buy this Book
Issue February 2011
Category Popular Fiction


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