The Whit & Eddie series breaks the fourth wall created in the vast Nick & Carter series. Frank Butterfield has a quirky, artless kind of writing style – unpretentious, readable, and somehow realistic in an oddly intimate way. There are interesting ticks in his prose – the way he describes every person his characters encounter, as well as clothing and food. Before long, this becomes a kind of comforting rhythm, part of what draws you into stories that are just as odd as Nick and Carter’s adventures, which in fact they seem to parallel, or echo.
Whit Hall is a huge, handsome retired pro-football player. Eddie Smith is an older, shorter, bear of a guy, who happens to have the ability to channel Nick Williams, Carter Jones, and even great-uncle Paul Williams. You’d think this “paranormal” skill would make this series strange, but (at least for people like me) it doesn’t at all. Even as I continue to read my way through Nick and Carter’s story (up to book 32 now), I embrace Whit and Eddie’s stories as contemporary avatars of the earlier generation.
A lot happens in the space of a short amount of time in “S’Wonderful,” and I admit to feeling that the ending was rather abrupt and slightly random. Not that it was bad, just sort of “I think I’ll end it here.” That in no way lessened my enjoyment of this high-speed romance. The parallel plot arcs of this story are the aftermath of Whit’s coming out, and the development of their relationship. The former parallels Nick Williams’ historical altercation with George Hearst back in the ‘fifties. The relationship stuff is unique to this series and deals with issues recognizable to many gay men today.
Unlike Nick and Carter, who are fictional pioneers whose job it is to reveal to us the bad old days, Whit and Eddie are a modern couple under somewhat peculiar circumstances. OK, really peculiar circumstances. Their age difference, their physical differences, their different life experiences – these are the challenges they face. Yes, homophobia, evangelical Christianity, international politics, are all things that they need to deal with, but it is a modern world, and thus easier to negotiate. The gentle pleasure of Butterfield’s storytelling is the little things that Whit and Eddie find out about each other every day, and the self-understanding that each of these two men must achieve to keep moving forward.
Whit is someone I can understand; having made his decision (thanks to nudging from Nick’s heirs, Mario and Bob) he is moving ahead at full speed. Having struggled in vain for his whole life, he knows what he needs and wants to do. Eddie, on the other hand, has led a calmer life, even if it has been full of travel and a certain amount of emotional trauma. He is older and more experienced than Whit, but at the same time unsure of himself in ways that Whit is not. It is fascinating to see this story unfold through Eddie’s eyes.
I have the next installment on my Kindle already. It’s such fun to see these two live their lives as I do my best to live my own.
- Paperback: 338 pages
- Publisher: Independently Published (6 June 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1072395568
- ISBN-13: 978-1072395560
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.2 x 20.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 440 g
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