A London Lads Story
Newly single in his late twenties and bored with his quiet life in a London suburb, Daniel Cross soon discovers the lure of social media. Excited at the chance of tracking down his old mates from a schooldays sports club, he launches a personal quest to find out what kind of man each boy has become.
Dan’s first mistake is chatting online to a complete stranger—friending the wrong Carson brother on Facebook. But Nick Carson isn’t offended and offers to accompany Dan on the trip to find the others. It’s the first step to friendship and something more for both of them.
For Dan, the reunions with the “Gang of Four” range from startling and heartening to disturbing. Nick’s company is a constant support, though neither of them are prepared for the exposure of personal secrets they’d thought long hidden. Dan begins to suspect he’s really looking for a direction in his own life—and the excitement and purpose he craves may be closer to home than a quest with its roots in a boyhood dream.
First Edition published by Amber Quill Press/Amber Allure, 2012.
Strangely, I’ve read three of the five books in the series, and only just now read this one – the first! I’ve been really enjoying the others in the series, and they don’t seem to rely upon any prior knowledge from other books – though some of the MCs do meander through now and again.
I was really, really surprised by this story, for more than one reason.
First, the other books focused primarily on one set of MCs and – though there are others involved – the stories don’t tend to really include them beyond their immediate interactions with the MCs. In this story we have the main story of Nick and Dan and their slow burn love story – but we also get three other stories – all very different – of the guys Dan had known as a boy. (More on this later.)
Second, the other stories are really funny and light hearted and though this started out as a “meet/cute” wrong guy/right place kind of story – it ended up feeling quite somber and heavy than it began or how the others in the series felt.
Third, I’d thought that this book would hold maybe a beginning account of some of the other MCs in the future books of the series, but it doesn’t. Dan’s boyhood friends aren’t the other MCs despite their very interesting stories to tell.
I have to admit that if I’d been reading this, I might have been tempted to either skim or not finish it. I’d also have been reluctant to look at others in the series because this one didn’t really keep my attention very well. (I’m really glad I read these out of order!)
The romance between Nick and Dan was slow building then quickly took a left into dark and domineering and then swerved again into weirdly secret and kind of bizarre. I won’t give any spoilers but I was constantly surprised by how their relationship developed and not always pleasantly so.
The original “quest” – Dan’s desire to meet with a group of boys he knew one summer – felt odd to me right from the start. I wasn’t sure that having known these guys for one summer would leave such a lasting impression. We get a bit more explanation as the story winds up but I’m still not sure why Dan felt so strongly about taking this trip.
The nature of the quest – stopping to meet these men – helped to give the story a rather disjointed and bumpy feel – we meet – briefly – three other men – hear their unique stories – and then move on. It was disconcerting. If they’d continued in their own stories it might have made sense, but since they don’t it felt kind of strange. I get that the “growth” Dan experiences as he sees three very different ways of being 30 and being gay is the point – but I’m not sure I really felt like it all came together into one cohesive story by the end.
The narrator, Seb Yarrick, did an amazing job of giving all these unique characters a voice and he absolutely helped keep my attention throughout. I really enjoyed his performance and most of the stars I give this are due to his contribution.
I’m not sure why this story felt so different to me than the others, but it did and though I really enjoyed the other books in the series – this one didn’t have the same appeal.
I’d give 2.5 of 5 stars for the story and 5 of 5 for the narration, so overall 3.5 stars out of 5 (rounded up).
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review