We Could Be So Good

We Could Be So Good

by Cat Sebastian
Genres: Fiction / Historical / General, Fiction / LGBTQ+ / General
Published on June 6, 2023
Pages: 384
Format: eBook Source: Library

Nick Russo has worked his way from a rough Brooklyn neighborhood to a reporting job at one of the city’s biggest newspapers. But the late 1950s are a hostile time for gay men, and Nick knows that he can’t let anyone into his life. He just never counted on meeting someone as impossible to say no to as Andy.

Andy Fleming’s newspaper-tycoon father wants him to take over the family business. Andy, though, has no intention of running the paper. He’s barely able to run his life—he’s never paid a bill on time, routinely gets lost on the way to work, and would rather gouge out his own eyes than deal with office politics. Andy agrees to work for a year in the newsroom, knowing he’ll make an ass of himself and hate every second of it.

Except, Nick Russo keeps rescuing Andy: showing him the ropes, tracking down his keys, freeing his tie when it gets stuck in the ancient filing cabinets. Their unlikely friendship soon sharpens into feelings they can’t deny. But what feels possible in secret—this fragile, tender thing between them—seems doomed in the light of day. Now Nick and Andy have to decide if, for the first time, they’re willing to fight.

I love Cat Sebastian books. This is a historical romance set in a time period that I don’t often see – 1950s.

Nick is a gay man who has never known an out and happy gay relationship. He doesn’t think that that is a possibility for him. When he is drawn to Andy, he doesn’t want to acknowledge it because he doesn’t see a future. Andy also gets engaged to a mutual friend who then breaks up with him.

He’s so wrapped up in Nick that he almost forgets his own troubles, until one of Nick’s aunts points a fork at him and turns to the man sitting beside her. “His girlfriend left him for a heart doctor.” So now she speaks English?

The man looks appraisingly at Andy and shrugs. “A heart doctor, though,” he says in a tone that suggests that getting jilted in favor of cardiologists is all anyone can expect. That maybe Andy should have considered medical school if he didn’t want to get jilted. That Emily did what she had to do, because who could turn down a heart doctor?

Nick and Andy get closer as Andy deals with the fallout of the breakup. Gradually they find other gay men and lesbians around them to serve as models for what a happy life can look like.

The book does a good job of depicting the fear of being found to be gay in the 1950s. Jobs weren’t safe. Violence and police harassment were the norm. How do you build a life in that environment?

I love this author’s dialogue.

“There now,” Andy says, smoothing a Band-Aid across Nick’s temple, the pads of his fingers gentle. “Good as new.”

“Thanks,” Nick says, his voice a little rough. “Jorgensen would have let me bleed out.”

“Who gave you the first aid kit, you pair of ingrates?” the editor shouts.

“Back in his day they didn’t have Band-Aids,” Nick continues. “They just slapped mud on their wounds and went back to drawing the news on the walls of their caves.”

“I can still hear you,” Jorgensen says.

“It’s nice when the elderly keep their hearing,” Andy observes.

One of the recurring themes in the book is that in the media of the time, there were no happy endings for gay people. Nick has never read a book where the gay person didn’t die. He is given a book by a gay editor but he refuses to read another depressing book. Everyone tries to convince him that it isn’t like that.

Anyway, the book ends up with one couple happily together. Not ecstatically happy, mind you, but England’s being blitzed, so that’s a factor.

This is a great love story with amazing period details. I rated this at 5 stars which I don’t do often. Definitely read this one.