Better With Bacon, by Matthew Lang
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 22, 2017
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
When Patrick’s long-term girlfriend Li Ling dumps him just as he’s working up the nerve to propose, he ends up drunk on David’s couch—and later in David’s bed. Although initially reluctant to pursue anything beyond a one-time drunken tryst, David throws caution to the wind during an intimate dinner, where the two men also discuss Patrick’s dream of entering the food industry. Just as the friends-turned-lovers are settling into their new romance, Li Ling calls Patrick—she’s pregnant.
Convinced the announcement spells the end of their love affair and a return to their platonic friendship, David flees to Sydney to escape his heartbreak. But upon his return to Melbourne, David discovers the situation hasn’t gone the way he’d expected. There might still be a chance for David and Patrick’s dreams to come true if they can forgive each other’s mistakes and move forward.
Friends to Lovers
Set in Melbourne, and with a brief sojourn to Sydney, Better With Bacon is a short and sweet friends to lovers story with sizzling scenes between the two men, as well as a sane and not angsty story.
Patrick has just broken up with his long term girlfriend when this story starts. He comes to his best friend’s house in the direct aftermath and the two of them finally voice what has been between them but never spoken in the time they’ve known each other.
What I really loved about this novel is that there is absolutely no bi-erasure. Patrick has been in a relationship with a woman the whole time he’s known David. He also ends up managing to get her pregnant on his way out the door. There is no avoiding that he’s not gay. But the author also doesn’t try to closet Patrick when the character answers all the questions David has.
Unlike a lot of romance writers, Matthew doesn’t shy away from introducing other characters in this story that’s predominantly between Patrick and David. It’s clear right from the start that there’s a very close friendship between Patrick, David and Li Ling (although Li Ling gets no actual page time). Some of my favourite points of the book were when Patrick was talking to David about having shared their new sex life with her and getting her feedback on the whole thing, and David doing the same where George was concerned.
I loved that, because people talk. A romantic relationship is not a vacuum in which other people do not exist. I also liked that there wasn’t an undue amount of angst with the fact that David sucks at communication and also tries to order other peoples’ lives for them in what is essentially a bleed over from his work. David and Patrick talk about these problems, are aware of them, and then they get worked through without anyone throwing plates or experiencing large rages. It’s completely reasonable, through Matthew’s writing, that these guys have just known each other for far too long to have any illusions about how the other one is likely to behave.
Actually, the fact that the only time the ‘walking away from the relationship’ romance trope is used is when David is trying to do best by Patrick rather than a fight that they have had. That was incredibly novel.
Because of these things, and the amount of description that went into writing both locations that are prominent in this novella, the story had a real sense of place within a real world setting.
Matthew Lang writes behind a desk, in the park, on the tram and sometimes backstage at amateur theatre productions. He has been known to sing and dance in public, analyse the plots of movies and TV shows, and is a confessed Masterchef addict. Over the years he has dabbled in marketing, advertising, event management and the sale of light fittings, but his first love is and has always been that of the written word and is rarely too far from a good book. He likes his men hot and spunky, his mysteries fantastical, his fantasies real and his vampires to combust when exposed to sunlight. Other than that he’s pretty normal. One day we may even take him out of the straight jacket.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.