Author: J.L. Merrow
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Rating: 3.5 stars
Type: Novel in a Series
Received from Publisher
Blurb: When the costs are added up, will love land in the black?
The Shamwell Tales, Book 3
Mark Nugent has spent his life in the closet—at least, the small part of it he hasn’t spent in the office. Divorced when he could no longer deny his sexuality, he’s sworn off his workaholic ways and moved to Shamwell with his headstrong teen daughter to give her a stable home environment.
His resolve to put his love life on hold is severely tested when he joins a local organization and meets a lively yet intense young man who tempts him closer to the closet threshold.
Patrick Owen is an out-and-proud charity worker with strong principles—and a newly discovered weakness for an older man. One snag: Mark is adamant he’s not coming out to his daughter, and Patrick will be damned if he’s going to start a relationship with a lie.
Between Mark’s old-fashioned attitudes and a camp, flirtatious ex-colleague who wants Mark for himself, Patrick wonders if they’ll ever be on the same romantic page. And when Mark’s former career as a tax advisor clashes with Patrick’s social conscience, it could be the one stumbling block they can’t get past.
Review: Mark Nugent is going to be the best single parent a man can be. That means no more neglecting his daughter via his job and not being gay. Mark’s daughter needs a fresh start and a present parent. Mark plans to provide her with everything wholesome. A nice new school and a country life in Shamwell. Unfortunately Mark meets Patrick Owen when he joins a local charitable organization. Patrick is a funny and attractive younger man. Mark can’t go there. Mark really wants to go there, as does Patrick. Mark fails to realize his daughter has wishes and dreams of her own that don’t necessarily coincide with what Mark thinks is best. Fen has plans within plans that make life rough for Mark until he realizes it’s actually made things a lot better. And of course when things get better Mark and Patrick find themselves in a very public disagreement.
I didn’t love this book. There, I said it. There were things in it I did love, but as a whole this book just didn’t do much for me. I loved that Mark’s ex-wife was an angry and bitter woman who wasn’t redeemed. Too frequently characters are made to be likable despite the events going on in their lives. Give me your angry and bitter characters! And I loved Fen, who showed the world all her black clothes and inhuman hair color but still wore her favorite jammies she had obviously outgrown and just wanted her dad to make things better. Sadly, these great characters were in a book where the two main characters didn’t appear on page together for almost a quarter of the book after meeting each other.
I had issues with the character of Lex. I wanted to see them as a well rounded character, but I couldn’t really see them as more than a token or device to cause a dialogue about rights. It was like one of those trick images and I really wanted to see two people about to kiss but I couldn’t see anything but the cup. There is nothing wrong with Lex (I mean that in any possible way it can be taken.), they are a great character, but without Lex there would have been a need for different strife and problems to be created. Patrick needed to be upset. Consequently, I was unable to just relax and enjoy the friendships Patrick and Fen had with Lex.
Despite not loving this book I do think it’s expertly crafted. It’s an appropriate addition to the Shamwell series. If you love books that are inherently British this one certainly is. I’m certainly not going to stop hogging all the Merrow books I come across for review.