Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
When restauranteur Gabriel Meyer needs several cases of wine for an event, William Thomas, owner of Rolling Hills Winery comes to his rescue with the necessary vintage and the offer of a date. One magical date later leads to others with Gabriel and William find themselves falling hard for the other. One night, on their way home, the two men come across a young man desperate to end his life. Ben Stewart has been bullied over his sexuality until one incident at school pushed him over the edge. William and Gabriel vow to help Ben and stop the bullying. But as Gabriel and William discover love on the east end of Long Island, a larger threat looms. Hatred and bigotry personified visits the island and targets Ben. Can the men rescue Ben and find the love they have always wanted with each other?
Love on The East End is an interesting romance with a lot of heart but not the same amount of depth. Lily Sawyer has created some lovely men for her story. Both Gabriel Meyer and William Thomas have followed their dreams and chosen careers to Long Island where one has established a restaurant and the other a winery. Both are well educated gay men, content in their lives and missing only love and romance. They meet in a realistic fashion and fall in love. It’s all very sweet, containing little drama or suspense. We know how this is going to end from the moment they meet. They go on walks and romantic getaways but it’s all sort of bland. There is nothing about the descriptions or dialog to bring us intimately into their lives or spice up things and unfortunately, this includes the sex scenes. True, Gabriel has an ex-wife, but she’s lovely and a friend to them both, which I have to admit is refreshing. I liked her.
The only aspect of this story that brings an element of angst is the story of Ben Stewart, a young gay teenager being bullied to the point of suicide. This was my favorite section of this book. Ben is heartbreaking and realistically characterized. I wish Sawyer would have concentrated more on Ben and the men’s relationship to him as friends and mentors. It is also where I found my most frustrations. The bullies hurting Ben are at school but Sawyer brings in an outside threat that takes away focus from the school and Ben’s problems there. Had the focus remained on Ben and the high school situation, so often in the news these days, then this story would have come across as more timely and relevant. As it is, the attack that did occur struck me as less than realistic, considering the time and venue. Still, Ben, Gabriel, William and Ben’s mother’s handling of the situation is well done and satisfying to the reader.
Love On the East End is a short story at 96 pages and a sweet one. It is a quick read and a lovely way to spend the time. I think you all would enjoy it
The cover for this book is gorgeous. Absolutely one of my favorites but my copy of the book did not include the name of the cover artist who definitely deserves recognition for this lovely cover.