View the full post plus giveaway on my blog:
by Elle Christensen
"We don't feel like a couple. It's like we're running in the same direction, but we're not on the same team."
I've had this song [Charlie Puth - "We Don't Talk Anymore"] stuck on my brain the entire time while reading Take Two by Shira Anthony. This awesome song and a fave couple from Sense8 (fans of the show should figure out which closeted couple) on my brain I should say.
Why? This story is about how non-communication can break down a relationship. A couple who suffers from "right person, wrong time." Love, sex and compatibility are definitely big key factors to have a great relationship, but the biggest is communication. Without it, the strongest can even fail. As what happened in Take Two.
Thirty nine year old NY history professor Wesley Coolidge is finally getting his life back on track. Work's great, he has a new academic boyfriend and...he's weeks away from having his divorce finalized. His soon to be ex-husband is famous actor thirty five year old Sander Carson aka Sam Carr. With a marriage of ten years and a separation of three years, it's time for them to move on.
Even though Wesley loves Sam just as much as Sam loves Wesley.
Even though their spark never faded.
The problem is the lines of communications faltered as Sam made it in Hollywood and hid their marriage in the closet. (The closet isn't to blame for the divorce)
The author bills the story as funny, and it might have had a moment or two that made me smile...I don't think it was funny. It's more fluffy and cute. It could have easily been another addition to the Dreamspun line, if you squinted just right.
Second romance, established couple, big grand gestures and sneaky machinations to make your lover realize the spark is still there...all key elements for a light second chance romance. Sam is very stubborn and charming. He tricks Wesley to North Carolina to his pirate set for a job and goes out the way to make sure Wesley know he doesn't want the divorce. (There's no cheating & low angst)
There is something about Shira Anthony's writing that is infectious for me. I get swept away in her characters. They're not outrageous or OTT, simple men who have real life problems and don't mind a little romance.
I do have quibbles. My main one being Wesley realizes why he needs to divorce Sam. At least, I think he did. Wesley is shy, doesn't seem to like grand, dramatic gestures (which after a decade....Sam should have known) and he didn't want to fall under the charismatic Sam spell. He admits it's hard to resist but seems to be on the same communication wavelength that Sam wasn't trying to find. Sam was more of a talk at Wesley than listen and talk to him type of man. I wanted more from Sam. I needed more from Sam. I could see the new boyfriend plot device. from a mile away. I could see the natrual disaster plot device from ten feet away.
What I wanted to see was Sam finally get the light bulb upstairs and quit the personal 'CGI' and get real with his man. Wesley held strong...mostly. It might come off as wishy-washy, but I think Wesley explains his reactions.
I did wish the boyfriend angle was non existent. I don't think it really added to the story. The entire HEA seemed like a rebound which defeats the purpose of reconciliation for me, if they're trying to avoid making the same mistakes again.
But it's light and happy. And I shouldn't go looking for depth and maturity. That's not this book.
It's a good read. Sweet love scenes (minimal sex scenes, it's more about reconnection) Not my favorite Shira Anthony, that of course being the deceptively angsty ones like Prelude.
Sweet, light, big romantic gestures, established couple yum yum (not my kink, tbh), pirate actors (definitely my kink), geeks and hunky actors can all be found in Shira Anthony's Take Two.
A copy provided for an honest review.
A Hearts On Fire Review
3.5 HEARTS--"Sweet William" by Dianne Hartsock does just as the blurb promises: former tutor/pupil lovers reunite in this erotic historical romance. Set in the late 1800's in Boston and told in alternating POV, "Sweet William" is a 19 year old shipping business heir who is very wealthy, a twink and also very popular among the men. We're talking a lot of erections in tight grips.Plan to stretch the reality rubber band a little with this story. Every guy pretty much had a stiff one between their legs. Good old PWP ;D
This sort story had a plot in between the horniness of all the male characters. The tutor, Frederick is only 22, an orphan and getting shafted (ha!) by life. He's broke and still carries a torch for his first and only (?) male lover, William. (That was the impression) In a day, they reunite,
everyone still wants a piece of William and his hot ass. All systems seem to be on board for massive shagging between the main players because of their reunion.
This is where the story isn't as tight as it could be - length. We go back and forth through rash decisions, a weird plot twist that mostly works itself out in the end and violence. Triggers: on page violence, attempted sexual assault and off page sexual assault. This is my second story in short period of time that had a rapey villain of sorts. It fit the plot device but I know if I look at this plot long enough I'll find holes and bumps.
A bump was the possibility a man can be captured twice by the same people, while on the run in a big town like Boston. Granted, the setting isn't in modern times, but I think maybe hiding in a bush in the dark or maybe not going to the scene of the crime again might have stopped the whole concern I had with that particular plot twist. I know it's just to move the plot along but it kept irking me. Also, what is up with authors using sexy times while critically ill? Why can't there be a healing period and then worrying about boners. This isn't the first author to do so and I'm sure it won't be the last. *squints*
The biggest issue with "Sweet William" was the length & the underplayed suspense angle. The story is short but it ends at a good enough spot. We get reunited lovers and drama thrown in. However, there is a kidnapping angle that is too subtle. It could have been mentioned earlier with more clues to let the reader get why certain 'clues' were important. And I wish I got to learn more about the main characters, they were interesting.
The story is quick. Sometimes a short story that gives just enough can work. I do think this would work for a reader who like hot reads, not too much time spent on world building and something that can be read in an hour or two.
Overall, porn with plot. And good plot too. It could be extended and it'd totally be stronger read.
As is, I liked it but with the issues I couldn't rate higher. I'll definitely check out more from this author though; the ideas were good.