Out! by J.L. Merrow
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: January 19, 2015
Series: The Shamwell Tales, Book 3 (stand alone)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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.
JL Merrow writes hilarious novels with brilliant phrases and one-liners that leave me laughing and craving more. I thoroughly enjoyed Out!, a stand-alone novel in the Shamwell Tales universe. I love novels with an age difference that is not only addressed, but which also factors strongly into the characters’ actions and the overall plot, and the relationship between Mark and Patrick was fantastic.
This is a lighthearted romance with a very English feel. JL writes in her characters’ accents, but in such a way that the writer can hear the different voices clearly without being confused by unfamiliar slang. A lot of authors go overboard when writing accents, making it difficult to read the dialogue, but I think JL really nails it!
Mark is a really interesting character, and his personal revelations were really fun to read. He’s the rare character that honestly wants to do what’s best for others, even though it means sacrificing his own happiness.
Nevertheless, it had been David’s arrival as his PA two years ago that had first prompted a no doubt long-overdue self-examination on Mark’s part and led, finally, to the breakup of his marriage. Which, come to think of it, had probably also been long overdue, given that the results of Mark’s soul-searching had been the ninety-nine percent certainty that he was queer as a three-pound note.
And while I loved the relationship between Mark and Patrick, explored at a perfect pace, it was Fen, Mark’s daughter, who stole the show. She alternates between being a sullen, moody teenager, and being an enthusiastic yenta, and I loved her to pieces!
If you want a fun novel with a well-paced romance, then you should absolutely check this out. And kudos to JL for writing the age difference so well!
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Out! is out now, and is currently on sale through the Samhain Publishing website.