We read and review for the love and joy of books.
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Toby Prentiss, manager of the Duck and Drake Hotel in a small village in England, is pleasantly surprised when the carpenter he’s hired to custom design the new bar for the hotel turns out to be a sexy, sassy South African native who returns Toby’s hot looks eye to eye. Rain Engel doesn’t expect to like the stuffy manager-type he usually finds in these out-of-the-way towns, but he’s extremely attracted to Toby’s tough attitude in combination with his optimistic outlook on life. As their attraction heats up and the two spend some fun times in the old garden shed, it becomes apparent to their friends that being in their presence kicks up the heat in the room a notch.
Unknown to Rain, Toby’s past includes fights and arrests while growing up in foster care homes and finally hitting the streets as a teen. Toby has worked hard to get past that time and isn’t interested in sharing it, until circumstances combine to bring the details out. Rain has also hidden facets of his past from Toby, including a breakup with the man he loved and was planning to marry. Fortunately, when things get tough for both of them, their friends encourage their support for each other, and they’re able to reconcile the past with the present.
There are many humorous scenes and events throughout this story, including scenes of Rain facing his phobia of sheep, Toby learning that the sex he and Rain had on top of a haystack was observed, and Rain showing off his pole dancing skills to a slack-jawed Toby. Since this is an audiobook review, I can’t go back and cite detail, however, I can say that I appreciated the humorous moments mixed in with the serious, and there were serious events as well, including gay-bashing and stories of past abuse.
There were times, however, when the story felt as if it was floundering with no end point in sight. It is a very long audiobook. About halfway through, I honestly thought it was just about over, and that’s when a new element was introduced that tied the idea of a fundraiser in with Rain’s hobby of pole dancing. In hindsight, it was a bit of a stretch to have so many subplots in one story, however, as previously stated, when one doesn’t have a book to go back through for detail, it’s difficult to summarize why it felt that way.
As much as I liked the author’s humorous view of some of the embarrassing situations in which straitlaced Toby found himself, I truly enjoyed the narration the most. Matthew Lloyd Davis delivered a flawless English accent for Toby and South African accent for Rain, making it easy to follow the character switches. His British-style and pronunciation greatly enhanced the story, lending authenticity and flavor to the tale. I would definitely recommend this book in audio format.
If you enjoy M/M romance set in the UK, two confirmed bachelors finally ready to let go of their single life, and rich detailed description, you should like this book.