Buchanan House, by Charley Descoteaux
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (August 19, 2015)
Page Count: 136
Genre: Gay (M/M) Romance
Rating: 1.5 out of 5
* I received an advanced copy of this novel via Pride Promotions in exchange for a fair and honest review. *
In case you couldn’t tell from the rating, I did not enjoy this novel. Honestly, I thought it was a complete mess from start to finish, and I genuinely struggled to finish it; in the end, this 130 page novel took me almost two days to get through because I kept having to put it aside. The characters were inconsistent, the romance unconvincing, and the writing grated like nails on a chalk-board. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh, but literally the only thing I liked about this novel was the summary. It’s a crying shame that the book didn’t live up to the description.
Based on that description, I expected a novel that a) went into detail about Eric growing up with his grandmother; b) had Eric and Nathan talking about owning a B&B together; c) featured a slow-build relationship between Eric and Tate as they worked together on the house; and d) had several interactions with Eric and his family, culminating in a climatic scene of some kind.
What I got was e) none of the above. Instead, the narrative teemed with awkward character interactions and confusing, poorly-worded descriptions. The slow-build relationship that I was hoping for was anything but. And the writing itself was confusing and exhausting, with pacing that careened wildly out of control and with random lines and references that seemed to come out of left field.
One of my greatest pet peeves in romance writing is the “love at first sight” trope, and Descoteaux has Eric going from wondering if he’s asexual to groping Tim with literally zero warning (or consent from Tim) in 30 pages flat. The romance was implausible, and the characters seemed ill-matched, but everyone (including Eric and, eventually, Tim) were convinced without hesitation that the match was one made in heaven.
“I… I crossed the line. With Tim.”
“And it’s about time too.” Nathan held him tight and rubbed his back. “I don’t know who I’m more jealous of–”
“Stop it,” Eric more groaned than said.
“– you, or Tim Tate. He’ll get to bite into a sweet ginger cookie, but you get a superhero. You know, you might have to marry that one.” (PDF pg. 50)
In the end, I just really disliked the characters (especially Nathan, the best friend who honestly came off as a bully at times), found the romance to be incredibly unromantic, and struggled with the poorly-written narrative. I do think the basic plot concept is a good one, but I really wanted to read the novel hinted at by the summary, not the one I actually got.
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