Review: Ocean of Secrets by Jerry Sacher

Andrew Elliot, the son of a Scottish nobleman, is being sent to America, accompanied by his fiancée and her brother. But Andrew’s engagement is not a love match. His family insists that he marries to “cure” him of his feelings for the son of the caretaker on his father’s estate.

Matthew Ahearn leaves Ireland to pursue his dream of becoming a Texas cowboy. In London, a brush with the law almost derails his plans, but Matthew perseveres and lands a job as a third-class steward on a ship bound for America.

Andrew’s and Matthew’s worlds collide as they—and their secrets—are brought together in the magic of an ocean voyage, one that will never be forgotten.

The year is 1912, and they are about to board RMS Titanic….

This was a boat wreck and I’m not talking about the Titanic.

I haven’t seen the Titanic movie. Ever. I can’t explain why, I guess because all that swooning and crying of my friends at school didn’t exactly invite me to join the gang. I guess because it’s so long that every time it was on TV I never arrived soon enough to watch it since the very beginning and simply gave up. I guess because I had more interesting movies to see.

So I don’t know if this is the gay version of Titanic. I’m sorry I cannot help here.

I’ve been to Southampton, though, and I was at the Titanic exhibition (where I of course played with the kids’ devices and touched every button available). I walked along the docks and ate fish & chips. So it’s not as if I were an ignorant.

I’m talking about the fish & chips. Obviously.

If I have to begin with something, I’d say insta-love is not my thing. But still, the problem here was more profound than that. The characters are bidimensional and their evolution is in fits and starts, if not totally absent. They both had affairs in the near past, then suddenly they leave or are forced to leave them, and they turn the page very easily at that! Ugh? Why? Weren’t they so comfortable, so invested, so in love? They overcome it with no effort and no second thoughts. Bombproof emotions, maybe? Or none at all?

There is no real depth to them, one second they are thinking about their future and the next they see a pair of green eyes and fall in love without even speaking with each other. And they basically don’t speak with each other, only daydream about how handsome that guy is and how is it possible that such a handsome man had looked at me twice! I’m so flattered!

But there is no chemistry, no thrill. I can compare them with bad actors who have forgotten the script.

There is a HEA but I wouldn’t have minded if there wasn’t one. Because I simply didn’t care for the characters. That is self-explanatory.

The MCs are apparently so different. Andrew in first class with his fiancée and her brother, Matthew working in third class in order to pay his trip towards his dream of becoming a Texan cowboy. Still, they are so full of emptiness they are automatic robots. There is no real life in them. No fire. Nada.

The chain of scenes is confusing. Their separate paths are a series of unfortunate events, some of them really serious, and still they seem unaffected. WTH? When they meet it keeps being that way. Andrew slips into the third class deck to be with Matthew, then he comes back to the first class quarters, then he changes his mind in the process before reaching his destination and talks to Matthew again, then he leaves until dinner, then he returns, then he goes to sleep, then he decides to go for a walk again. Every trip is so similar to the one before, and all the encounters are so alike I was never sure if Andrew ever left and did something apart from walking mindlessly back and forth. He was a yo-yo, no brain involved. Sometimes he reminded me of a stalker. He spends so much time with his changes of heart and walking that it was getting on my nerves. Above all because every conversation in between is so meaningless and nonsensical they don’t serve to develop their relationship further.

But what relationship, you moron?

They are infatuated with each other even before the relationship begins. They see each other casually, and they think, “you are so handsome I love you, I won’t leave you here because I love you, I've only known you for 4 days but I want to be with you forever. Blablabla”.

The baddies are embarrassing. I have no idea how many “elbowings” and “grabbing arms” and “rubbing hands” there were but it’s irritating seeing how childish and obvious these characters were. It would take no effort to shrug them off, above all when everybody gets to see through them, their shady intentions and blatant lies. Yet they call the shots here. Bullshit! Claire, the fiancée, needs to be slapped in the face more than once. I volunteer. And William is the typical resentful man who wants the MC (Andrew) all for himself but when he refuses, he tries to hurt the MC’s loved one (Matthew) with his words or with his acts. It’s all so cartoonish I won’t even comment what I think of all of this.

The author even got confused with himself. In the beginning Andrew/Matthew think they haven’t had the chance to said to the other one they love him, but they indeed did! They said their words and then they forget they have said them. WTF? You only have to look for “love” in the kindle to find it.

Also, we are talking about 1912. The society has changed but not that much. Andrew says several times they are in the second decade of the twentieth century, as if that meant people are so open-minded they wouldn’t cause him harm because of his homosexuality. WTH? Have you heard about what had happened to Oscar Wilde barely 10 years before? And maybe this is too soon for you, but Alan Turing in the 50s wasn’t so lucky, you know? It’s ridiculous how all the MCs who get in their paths are so respectful and accepting. There are only two characters that don’t accept this reality, and that’s Andrew’s father and uncle. The rest of the family is ok with it. All the celebrities and important personalities in the Titanic (the author demonstrated he had indeed made a great research showing off name after name after name) who discover the truth are ok with it. Their saviors are ok with it. Really! Everybody is so perfect and happy with it. It’s absurd! Everybody on the Titanic is so gay-friendly, I expected some mention of the rainbow flag dancing in the wind next to the Union Jack and the American one. I can’t even!

There are only a few things I consider positive from this book. One of them is the cover. Not the best, but it’s what drew my attention at first. The second one is that I learnt about the Titanic disaster in real motion, every chapter displaying the date and hour. The third aspect is that it’s easy to read. I guess. Or maybe having a 8-hour drive round trip kind of helped me to concentrate.

I’m not sure anymore.

A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads & Dreamspinner Press.

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