Summer Stock, by Vanessa North
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: May 15, 2017
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Tabloid scandals have driven TV star Ryan Hertzog to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where he’s hiding out doing summer stock at his cousin’s seaside theater. When a hookup with local handyman Trey Donovan results in Ryan being photographed butt naked, he vows to keep his pants on and his hands off Trey. How was he supposed to know Trey would turn out to be the summer stock set builder?
Trey isn’t looking for a relationship; he’s still recovering from the emotional fallout of an abusive marriage. But Ryan’s laughter draws him in again and again, and he’s not about to say no to fooling around.
As the summer heats up, the paparazzi catch Ryan in increasingly compromising situations. Ryan might be too much drama for a summer fling—and Trey might be just an intermission from Ryan’s Hollywood life. But if they take their cues from Shakespeare, all’s well that ends well.
Gay and Bisexual Characters
Asexual, Bisexual, and Gay Supporting Cast
Ferdinand the Best Dog Ever
Abuse/Domestic Violence Off Page
My feelings while reading Summer Stock were pure joy. My feelings at the end… what’s beyond pure joy? Elation? Extreme Happiness? Forever love? I’m not sure there are words that accurately describe what I felt. What I’m still feeling, or how this book came to be at a time when I was having the worst week ever.
Summer Stock is all about these two guys who fall in love, right? But it is so much more than that. I have some favorite passages and quotes highlighted that I keep looking at and going over. Moments in the book where words of wisdom are subtle, yet so very important and relevant.
“What you did for me, with my garage – I can’t even explain what it means to me. You blanket-forted me.”
This book did that for me. It blanket-forted me.
“I think it’s okay if you and Trey don’t always understand each other. There is no script. You don’t get to rehearse being in love.”
That’s so true, right? Falling in love can be easy as pie… but staying there takes work. Communication. Being willing to understanding when you don’t really understand at all.
“Love isn’t very nice, is it?” She sat up straight and grasped his chin in her palm, turning him to face her. “Love is wonderful and terrible, and no, it isn’t very nice. But you get to choose whether it’s the best part of your life, or the worst.”
That’s the one that had me in tears. Big ugly tears. It’s all truth. And the relationship between Trey and Ryan has had a huge impact on how I look at love. I’ve had one of those moments when my attitude has adjusted, more for the positive. It feels really good.
There are other things that should be known about this book. Trey has PTSD, is still recovering from an abusive marriage, and it’s hard. Moments of abuse are all off page and only remembered and discussed, but they still carry the impact. It’s heartbreaking and feels to real that I felt it to my bones. Vanessa’s writing style brings these very real issues right to heart and I never let go. There is compassion and beauty in the way everything is dealt with, the way these men go about getting to know each other, how they strive to make things work. When everything becomes more difficult for so many reasons, the whole story just becomes that more beautiful. Summer Stock also gets bonus points for Ferdinand, the best dog ever.
I can’t recommend Summer Stock enough. I hope everyone who reads it gets as much from it as I have.
Author of over a dozen novels, novellas, and short stories, Vanessa North delights in giving happy-ever-afters to characters who don’t think they deserve them. Relentless curiosity led her to take up knitting and run a few marathons “just to see if she could.” She started writing for the same reason. Her very patient husband pretends not to notice when her hobbies take over the house. Living and writing in Northwest Georgia, she finds her attempts to keep a quiet home are frequently thwarted by twin boy-children and a very, very large dog.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.