Love on the Jersey Shore, by Richard Natale
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Release Date: February 1, 2016
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Sexual chemistry and the search for real love can be a combustible mixture.
When the hunky young Anthony Ragucci falls for his dream man, a handsome attorney named Hunter Reese, his happily ever after fantasies are threatened by the meddling of the dashing and haughty Robert Burke. His loyal cousin Frank quickly rushes to Anthony’s defense, only to find his efforts hampered by a growing attraction to the inscrutable Robert.
Ultimately, the two cousins discover that Love on the Jersey Shore is a sink or swim proposition. Watch out for the undertow!
Love on the Jersey Shore reminds me a bit of a storybook for adults. The writing is very much a tell-don’t-show style, and the narrative moves very quickly, lightly stopping every so often to check in with the reader before continuing on. And while that style would normally bother me, it actually worked pretty well for Frank and Anthony’s story, especially since there were two overlapping stories being told at once.
This is a romance in two parts: Anthony’s whirlwind romance with Hunter, and his cousin Frank’s much slower, enemies-to-lover relationship with Robert. Both boys are gay, openly so, and I love that there’s no angst surrounding their coming out… a rarity in gay romances!
“It’s who we are, Frankie, plain and simple,” he argued. “Just because some people might get bent out of shape when we tell them, don’t mean I should have to sneak around like I’m doing something wrong. That don’t feel right.”
But of course, the downside to Richard’s writing style is the lack of detail, and the sometimes austere feeling that you get while reading. Richard does a great job of conveying the emotions between each of the boys and their love interests, but the background often feels bleak and empty, because there are none of the little details to add richness to the narrative.
I also wish we’d gotten more of the boys background and distinct personalities. They’re very interesting characters, and I loved the scenes with their family, but the story felt more plot-oriented than character-oriented to me.
Very enjoyable read, and I’d definitely check out more books by this author!
I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.