We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Genre: MM Contemporary
Review: Told in first person point of view, this is the story of Daniel, a city boy fresh from graduate school who arrives in Holiday, Michigan to interview for his first teaching position as an English professor. He’s spent eight years in graduate school aiming for this very moment but now that it’s here, he’s very unsure. Sleeping Bear College is very small but it’s the only interview Daniel has. He knows that he’s lucky to have it, but really, Holiday, Michigan? His best friend, Ginger, (who I loved) can’t even remember it’s Michigan. Daniel has some issues in self-esteem, “I’m not an English professor. I’m just some queer punk from Philadelphia who the smart kids slummed with. Just ask my ex. Just ask my father. Ask my brothers, especially.” Daniel’s family definitely treat him poorly. It’s funny that Daniel has such issues because he portrays an outward sense of confidence and sarcasm. Since the story is told from his point of view, we do get all his inner thoughts and he’s funny. “I even bought apples because it seemed like something someone who got asked on a date might do.”
When Daniel accidentally hits a dog, it brings him into contact with Rex, a handyman and furniture maker who lives in Holiday. Where Daniel is snarky and “whatever”, Rex is a big, quiet, shy bear of a man. He doesn’t connect with people easily and he’s a bit of a hermit. Rex brings Daniel back to his cabin to help the dog and this is their beginning, of sorts. There is a kiss that ends up being all there is, and Rex has some hot and cold moments. The two accidentally bump into each other in town and again, some hot and cold but they start to get to know each other better. Rex shows some insecure moments right away, “I don’t mean to be a pig,” he says, pausing, and it has the ring of someone else’s words being repeated.” Rex is worth 4 hearts by himself, lover of old movies and incredibly hot sex, respectful of Daniel's friendship with Ginger (awesome in her own right).
There are some serious family issues to deal with. Personally, I loved that Daniel’s father, who treated him sort of “less” than the other brothers because he wasn’t interested in what they were, showed a little love a bit with gas money and checking out the car. But my god, the beast that is brother Colin just made me want to join in with Daniel and punch him. And even at that lowest point, at the grave site, Rex is there and Rex is lovely and wonderful.
I admit, I first rated this a little lower because of the parts that just seemed to go on much too long, but then after rereading it I felt I had to give Daniel and Rex their due. They are wonderfully written and they made me care about them. So, while I felt the book could have definitely benefited from some cutting, as sometimes the dragging bits made me want to put the book down, I enjoyed it. I do wish I could have gotten some of Rex’s point of view, because he’s so much quieter outwardly I would have liked to know what he was thinking. Daniel’s POV is very entertaining and made me smile. “Me (determined to use any word but “great”): Great! That works.” He’s not perfect, our Daniel. But who is? Recommended for those who love fluff and seriously likeable characters.