I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.His Convenient Husband by Robin Covington
Published by Entangled Publishing, LLC on October 9th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Barnes & Noble
NFL football player Isaiah Blackwell lost his husband three years ago and is raising their teen son alone. He lives his life as quietly as his job allows, playing ball to support his family but trying not to draw unwanted attention. His quiet life is shaken up when a mutual friend introduces him to Victor, a visiting principal ballet dancer who is everything Isaiah is not.
Brash and loud, Victor Aleksandrov has applied for political asylum to avoid returning to Russia, where gay men are targeted and persecuted. He’s been outspoken about gay rights in his home country, and if he doesn’t get asylum, going back to Russia is a death sentence.
Their one-night stand turns into a tentative friendship, a relationship they both agree is temporary... until Victor’s denied asylum. Isaiah can’t offer Victor a happily ever after, but he can propose something that’ll keep Victor in the US and safe... marriage He just doesn’t expect his new husband to dance away with his heart.
There’s a lot of confusion and a little disappointment around this book, and I think the majority of it comes from a badly-written blurb that has since been changed. Do NOT let that stop you from reading it, though. I don’t think Robin Covington, or authors in general, have much to do with the blurbs that are written, so don’t hold it against her. Victor is not genderfluid, and he should never have been referred to as such in the original blurb.
Now that that’s out of the way, let me heartily recommend that you read this book immediately. Victor and Isiah are… hot. And sweet. And charming. And just so, so lovely. And hot. Did I mention the hotness? I loved Victor. I loved his relationship with Isiah’s son Evan. I liked Isiah. I didn’t love him.
Why didn’t I love Isiah as much as I loved Victor? Isiah was… complicated. He’s still in mourning for his late husband, Stephen, who died three years ago. He’s not quite ready to move on, and he treats Victor pretty terribly because of it. He says a lot of really hurtful things to Victor, not just once so that they can break up and he can give the requisite grovel. But over and over. His son Evan is genderfluid, and bisexual, and somehow Isiah, while being completely aware of this, also manages to completely miss how this means Evan’s life will be different for him that Isiah’s own life is for him. (Did that make sense? I keep staring at that sentence trying to figure out if it says what I want it to say). When Evan is put into a nasty situation at school because of it, Isiah immediately blames Victor, despite the fact that this has been an ongoing issue in Evan’s life since long before Victor ever entered the picture.
And Victor… Victor isn’t here for any of it. He doesn’t put up with Isiah’s shit, and I applaud him for it. Isiah always stopped short of actually asking Victor to give up his very vocal exposure of how his home country of Russia treats its gay community. He stops short of asking, but he really wishes Victor would stop and, again, he treats Victor pretty badly because of it. Isiah understands why Victor is as loud and vocal as he is, but that doesn’t stop him from wishing for a return to his more quiet life. Also, and I think this is another issue people had with the blurb, Victor is not “loud and brash”. The press asks him questions and he answers honestly. He’s not quiet about the fact that he needs asylum to stay in the US or he’ll very likely be killed immediately upon his return to Russia. He’s honest and eloquent, but never once would I categorize his behavior as brash.)
I think this is another issue people had with the blurb, Victor is not “loud and brash”. The press asks him questions and he answers honestly. He’s not quiet about the fact that he needs asylum to stay in the US or he’ll very likely be killed immediately upon his return to Russia. He’s honest and eloquent, but never once would I categorize his behavior as brash.
There was an interesting, very small, look in this book at how the NFL treats its gay players. On the one hand, his coach really couldn’t care less who his players are married to. On the other hand, that same coach found it necessary to gently suggest to Isiah that he rein in Victor’s outspoken ways. The players allegedly don’t care, but get them in a room together, and there are muttered “jokes” and outright homophobic comments. I wish Robin Covington had explored this more. There’s also nothing to indicate Isiah plays football except us being told about it, and a few references to what he does and doesn’t drink and eat during training. But he never actually does any training. Or plays any football. This could be the off-season, but Evan is in school, which tells me it’s at least fall or winter. Isiah never does so much as a single pushup through the entire book.
Overall, I loved this book, I would recommend it to anyone, but I also had issues with it. Hence the middle-of-the-road rating despite my love for the characters. For example, the actual marriage between Victor and Isiah. The only reason it comes about is that Victor is denied asylum, and everyone knows what will happen if he goes back to Russia. But I find it difficult to believe that he would be denied asylum, turn around and get married less than a week later, and no one, not a single government representative would ever show up to challenge the claim or even do a cursory examination of the situation. And they didn’t hide it. Literally every character in the book knew the marriage was to keep Victor in the country. Isiah also announced it to an auditorium full of people toward the end of the book. This piece of it just wasn’t handled very well. But – I really hope Covington revisits Evan as he gets a little older. I really want to see the amazing person that kid on his way to becoming.