Reviewed by Morgan
Author: JL Merrow
Narrator: Mark Steadman
Series: The Shamwell Tales #2
Heroes: Tristan & Con
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 6 hrs and 58 mins
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: September 15, 2017
Available at: Amazon, Audible and iTunes
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: All the world’s a stage…but life doesn’t come with a script.
Posh boy Tristan Goldsmith has one last summer of freedom before he joins the family firm in New York – no more farting around on stage, as his father puts it. But the classically trained actor can’t resist when the Shamwell Amateur Dramatics Society begs him to take a leading role in their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As an added incentive, he’ll be giving private acting lessons to a gorgeous local handyman who’s been curiously resistant to Tristan’s advances.
As a late-diagnosed dyslexic still struggling with literacy, Con Izzard’s never dared to act before. With arrogant yet charming Tristan helping him with his lines, he finally has his chance to shine. But Con’s determined not to start a romance with a man he’s convinced only wants a casual fling.
Tristan’s never been one to back down from a challenge, especially when he realizes his attraction to the tall, muscular handyman isn’t just physical. Just as he thinks he’s finally won Con’s heart – and given his own in return – disaster strikes with a slip of the tongue that shatters Con’s trust and sends him running for cover. This show may be over before the curtains even opened.
I have to start off by saying that I’m a JL Merrow fan. Most of her stories really work for me because she’s an amazing writer who is gifted at creating real characters, writing humor and helping readers to feel immersed in the locales she describes. She’s also VERY BRITISH in her writing and I love that!
I’m NOT a fan of actors or stories about actors – in general – though I can’t say that I really avoid them, but I don’t seek them out, either. I’m also not a fan of Shakespeare – gasp! – I know, I know – but it’s just never been my thing – so…
On the one hand, if I separate out my own personal preferences – there is definitely some parts of this story that are good. Much of this is quite funny, very British, and the reader does get a great glimpse at village life in the UK.
However, I never got into this as a romance, because – quite honestly – Tristan made me absolutely crazy! I just never liked him and I never saw his appeal. I also didn’t really see how Con and he made it work as a couple and why Con would put up with Tristan at all.
I really wanted to spend more time with Con and much, much, much less time with Tristan. I thought he was a great character and I was bummed we didn’t get to see him in a better place by the end of the story.
I think fans of the author might still find this appealing, and perhaps if you’re looking more for a British comedy with a hint of romance rather than a romance with some humor – this will appeal as well.
2.75 of 5 stars
Mark Steadman does another fantastic job with this and (as I’ve said before) he really helps the reader to feel even more immersed in the locale. He handles all the quotes well and did a nice job with the various characters – of which there were many – in giving them a distinct voice.
He’s one of my favorite “British” narrators and I know when I see his name as the narrator that I’m going to (at least) enjoy the narration.
5 of 5 stars
Overall Impression: I liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*