Monday, June 6, 2011

Four Umbrellas: Love Means No Shame by Andrew Grey

Yay! When Adam Met Tony (my Saturday review) officially releases today! If you were tempted by my review, go and buy it! (Suz is donating the proceeds to gay rights causes). Like When Adam Met Tony, my pick today offer a great introduction to the m/m romance genre. It's sweet and sexy without being explicit, so newbies can dive into without fear of having their eyeballs singed off halfway through (I happen to love a good eyeball singeing every now and again). Enjoy!

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dreamspinner Press's anniversary freebies yielded me a lot of free and ultra-cheap reads, but this offering from Andrew Grey stood as being worth the cover price, even if one didn't happen to snag a free copy. Grey gives readers one of the most accessible entries into the world of M/M romance with a story that's both super sweet and sexy, without being explicit. Amish m/m romance set in the Heartland may seem like a punchline rather than a tag line, but it really works here.

Our two heroes are young: Eli is almost 20 and Geoff is like 23 or 24. Eli is on his "break" year from his Amish community when Geoff discovers him sleeping in his barn. Geoff has just returned from the big city after inheriting his father's farm. Geoff has one of the most unique backstories I've encountered in any type of genre fiction: his father had a male partner following the death of Geoff's mother. Thus, despite being in a very rural area, Geoff has a number of supportive people in his life. I liked this because it gave Eli more structure to cling to as he came to terms with his own sexuality and feelings for Geoff.

The romance develops slowly with a sweet, halting courtship as Eli slowly adjusts to life in the "English" world, and Geoff gets over the fact that Eli is younger, inexperienced, and technically an employee. If Eli were female, this would fit right into the Harlequin American line and the sensuality never edges much beyond a Blaze level. If you've read Linda Lael Miller or Sandra Hill (she's got a couple of Romantic Suspense novels set in an Amish community), the sensuality level is similar. It's sweet, not explicit. The c-word is absent, and while they do engage in all the activities two men are likely to get up to behind closed doors, it's all described in euphemisms that have a lot more to do with emotion and less to do with tab A into slot B. If you're interested in m/m romance, but don't read erotica and don't want to be shocked, this is a perfect choice as it's all about the journey of discovery the characters are on and their quest to be authentic. The sensuality level only enhances this journey. This is also a quick read (about as long as most category books or a long novella), which also makes a great way to try on the m/m genre. The lively cast of secondary characters also made this a fun read--Geoff's second "dad" is a key character as well as Geoff's other relatives and other farm employees. Despite the relatively young age of the heroes, I didn't doubt in their HEA at all.

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