To Love a Stranger

Reviewed by Melanie on June 30, 2017


Very rarely will I not finish a book, and this makes three this year. During the first chapter, the setting seemed so familiar, then it clicked “This sounds like Philadelphia with Tom Hanks. I’ve already seen this movie.” While there are definite similarities between the movie and this book, I decided to give the book a try.

Sam, the main character is so secretive he’s unlikable. He hides and lies, and this not only makes him untrustworthy, but makes me hate him before I even really get into the story. Starting in chapter one you figure out that Sam has secrets, an entirely secret side of him. While I understand the stigma about his secret, especially in 1986, I find it really difficult to read about.

Jeanette is a weak woman, terrified of her own shadow. She only cares about what every one else thinks about her. She has a “scandalous secret” that I really doubt any one in the 80s, or even in the 70s when she was young would care about. As usual, I’m not big on spoiling the book, but every time she discussed her “secret” I rolled my eyes.

With both main characters being so unlikable, I just have no love for the book. I decided to quit torturing myself with a book I couldn’t get behind at 35%.

To Love a Stranger Book Cover To Love a Stranger
Kris Faatz
GLBT, Suspense
Blue Moon Publishers
May 23, 2017
Kindle eBook

Sam and Jeannette have two things in common: a passion for music and a need to escape from themselves. In the fall of 1986, when President Reagan is in his second term, Elton John plays on the radio, and Spike Lee is conquering the box office, Sam and Jeannette meet in Virginia. Both of them have landed their first jobs with the Richmond Symphonic Artists, a small orchestra that’s fighting to survive.

Jeannette, fragile and shadowed by demons from her past, quickly falls in love with the charismatic and brilliant Sam. She thinks he will bring her stability and redemption. But she doesn't know that he has secrets of his own: especially that the mystery disease AIDS, the so-called "gay plague" that fills the news and terrifies the American public, could possibly touch his life.

As Sam and Jeannette struggle to save their orchestra, they look for deliverance in each other. But their past secrets - especially Sam's - threaten to destroy the future they're trying to build.

A beautiful debut novel filled with human emotion and an undeniable passion for music, To Love A Stranger explores a story of love and personal redemption that is impossible to forget.

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