Well, I have to say I was rather blown away by this one. Now I will confess, I first saw the posting for this ARC in Brandon Witt’s group and was so excited to see a new Witt that I immediately went to obtain my copy. Well…it took actually getting the file for me to realize that this was actually a Rosalind Abel book and not a Brandon Witt. Yeah yeah…I know they are the same person but…I will get back to that later. Nowhere in the FB post or in the ARC Instafeebie posting did it tell me this and clearly if I had read the other books I would probably have known this. But I had not. So it wasn’t a new Witt after all. *tears up* But I was committed and I needed up uphold my end of the agreement. So I proceeded. And…
I absolutely loved this.
I commented only a week ago how very few “boyfriend for hires” I have read and how much I had wanted one...so clearly someone was looking out for me. This was the perfect “boyfriend for hire” book. And while I expected fluffy romance based on the cover and author, I was greeted with some absolutely beautifully written scenes. From the scene at the cliff to the shipwreck to the photography aspects to some of the most amazing and quite intimate sex scenes I have read in a while. The characters had so much depth and were developed just beautifully with their backgrounds unfolding in a way that had me tearing up many times. And how these characters become so open so quickly with each other is another level of brilliance. I mean I think we all can more easily open up to someone you don’t really know, or have no expectation of trying to impress. In these situations you are just more free to be yourself. And this was captured quite well.
As with other books by this author, the family dynamics were also so perfectly portrayed and I found myself chuckling out loud many times. Now as for Lavender Shores, the quaint gay loving community that acts as the backdrop for this series, it actually worked for me. Now could I read numerous books set in this, I am honestly not sure. But I think if I was going to have one land in my lap, this was the perfect one for me.
Even more than losing you, that’s what I hate the most. That I hurt you. I’ve never met another man like you. Never met one who I’ve admired as much as you. Nor one who seems to be incapable of seeing how truly wonderful he is. If there’s any reason I should feel shame, it’s that. I added to your inability to see your worth. And I do. That is my shame. And you are my loss.
Gaaahhh…I mean this was beautiful. And don’t even get me started on the jar of snow. *cries*
Now, as I mentioned above, I have not read any of the Abel books. And like with several others I know, the whole Abel/Witt author name change just honestly turned me off. I am a huge fan of Brandon Witt’s work. He has written several of my all time favorite books and when I pick one up I know I am in for an emotional journey into the love between two men. Authors write different types of books all the time. They may go from comedy to romance to paranormal to horror, lots of sex to minimal sex. Honestly it matters not to me, as there are some authors that become an auto buy for me. The name change here felt like catering to a reader group or a type of romance that wasn’t something I wanted or liked. I personally love reading MM Romance written by a gay man. Not to say that a woman can’t do it and do very well, but there is something about having an author who is actually a gay man that I like. So to see someone who I see as a well established author in the MM genre change direction to utilize a woman’s name just bothered me. So yeah, I had no desire really to read these.
Imagine my continued surprise when I found out that the main MC in this book is a male author of MF romance who goes by a female name. Sorry, but I eyerolled at the name…I mean "Ginger Peach". Seriously? Do women really pay more attention to a book with a name like this than one with a man’s name? I mean is Nicholas Sparks a woman? No. I just don’t understand this aspect (both from a character perspective and from an author perspective) and honestly this was really my only issue with the book.
For me I just found myself rather sad not to have Brandon Witt’s name on the cover. To not have the cover image be that described as part of the story. The “authenticity of the author” is something that as male or female I respect and I was extremely happy to ultimately see Lamont embrace this aspect in the book, especially in regards to him finally writing a MM Romance.
And I know I will likely be in the minority on my feelings regarding this but oh well…it would not be the first time. And as an author has every right to do what they chose with their books, I don’t necessarily need to agree.
The bottom line is that this book was absolutely lovely and I fell in love with the characters, the story and the writing. So if you are wanting a beautiful MM Romance then this certainly fits the bill and does so with the “Witt” I have grown to love.
*Highly Recommended* as part of the series or as a Standalone (as I read it).
**Note: An ARC was obtained in exchange for an honest review.