Title: The Man on the Third Floor
Author: Anne Bernays
Publication Date: November 16, 2012
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review: In the post-World War II era of McCarthyism, Walter Samson, a very successful editor with a picture-perfect family (loving wife, adoring son and daughter) has little worry in the world. Until one day Barry Rogers shows up in his office and awakens a whole part of Walter he never knew existed. Spurred by his passion, he not only takes up a clandestine relationship with Barry, he goes so far as to move him into the servants’ quarters of his home so they can be closer together. While constantly at risk of being found out, Walter tries to juggle his double life at home with his career.
I really enjoyed this book. The writing flows rather well – it’s written in a first-person narrative style and it’s easy to feel like Walter is right there telling you his story. There are some interesting twists and turns in the path the story takes and I think it’s easy for the reader to find themselves conflicted between frowning on Walter’s duplicity and truly feeling for the circumstances of the era in which he lived. Bernays has created a very believable world that makes the characters – to use her own words about one of the authors Walter discovered – “not so much realistic as real.”
I would have personally liked to see more of the private moments in Barry and Walter’s relationship, but what it lacks in that area doesn’t detract from the story or what I see as the primary purpose of the narrative, so I can’t fault the book at all on that front. Recommended for those interested in historical fiction, m/m romance, and stories focusing on LGBT issues.