Book Reviews

To Touch the Stars by Jeremy Pack at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 14-September-2012

Book Blurb

For happenstance news correspondent Tait Williams and newly minted astronaut Nicholas Sullivan, 1966 is a year of beginnings. Idealistic Tait dreams of changing the world with his pen, and Nick has his sights set on the moon. With the Apollo program in full swing, Nick is on the fast track to his dreams—even as Tait’s hopes of covering the Vietnam war are sidelined by a cause he doesn't believe in: a correspondent assignment with NASA. It is here, in the golden age of the US space program, that the hearts of two men collide, setting them on a path of discovery spanning two decades.

From war-torn Cambodia to the decadence and heartbreak of the early 1980s, Nick and Tait come together time and again only to be ripped apart by social conventions and their own ambitions. As they strive to realize dreams that remain elusively beyond their grasp, through each other and the extraordinary people that touch their lives, they will come to understand that the things that matter most—the brightest stars of all—have been within their reach all along.


Book Review

This is an amazing story set at the beginning of the space age in the US, but at the same time, it is so much more. Outwardly, it spans about thirty years of US history, but the way we get to experience it is through the eyes of two extraordinary men. Their ambitions, emotions, dreams and failings are what make this story so special. It may be a slightly romanticized version of the truth in places, but it's written so engagingly that it is almost like a history lesson made fun.


Nick only wants one thing: to fly airplanes like his dad and, once President Kennedy kicks off the space program, to make it to the moon. He sacrifices everything in the hope of getting there: who he really is, his personal life, and the man he loves from the first time he meets him, even if he never admits that out loud. He gets married to please his bosses, suffers through the machinations and manipulations of a truly evil woman (I am sorry, but I couldn’t even forgive her once she repented, what she did was beyond unforgiveable in my opinion), and still does not get what he wants most. Accepting that, and still managing to find some happiness, years and years later, is a truly great achievement and shows how much he has grown.


Tait is obsessed with contributing to making the world a better place, and he too, sacrifices everything. As a journalist, he has his sights set on reporting "important" events, but doesn’t quite know how to get there. He doesn’t start out as very courageous, and I wanted to kick him a few times as he hemmed and hawed over what to do. But over the years he learns to stand up for himself and what he wants. Reporting on the space program was not his choice, but he has a knack for "the human angle" and, in the end, the fame he achieves covering the astronauts' lives lands him the job as a war correspondent and opens doors for him to make some real changes. He risks his life to rescue others and his suffering, both physically and mentally, affected me deeply. And he, too, manages to make peace with a life that would have many in despair.


Underneath the almost-tragic story about two men's lives, there is a heart-wrenching love story made up of "just misses". In a society where Nick and Tait's love was close to impossible (at least if you wanted the type of career Nick was after) and coming out would have likely ended Tait's career as well, they did not have a choice but to hide who they were, and what they meant to each other. This book is a great reminder of what men and women like them had to go through, and, let's be honest, still have to go through.


If you want an honest look at history and what it was like to live through the final decades of the last century as a career-oriented gay man, if you like reading about characters who are real and complex, and if the idea of an astronaut and a journalist discovering they are more alike than they'd like to think sounds interesting, give this book a go. I totally loved it and can only recommend you read it. But let me give you fair warning: this is a gut-wrenching story that will more than likely make you angry and make you cry in turn. If you think you’re ready for an emotional roller coaster ride, go for it. This book is well worth reading!




DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 350 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 24-August-2012
Price $6.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback, $17.99 bundle
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