A Stella Review: Caught! (The Shamwell Tales #1) by J.L. Merrow


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

You can run from the past…but the past runs faster.

Shamwell Tales, Book 1

Caught coverBehind Robert’s cheerfully eccentric exterior lies a young heart battered and bruised by his past. He’s taken a job teaching in a village primary school to make a fresh start, and love isn’t part of his plans. But he’s knocked for six—literally—by a chance encounter with the uncle of two of his pupils.

Sean works in pest control, rides a motorbike, and lives on a council estate. On the face of it, he shouldn’t have anything in common with Robert’s bow-tie, classic-car style and posh family background. Yet Robert is helpless to resist Sean’s roguish grin, and a rocky, excruciatingly embarrassing start doesn’t keep the sparks between them from flaring.

Despite Robert’s increasingly ludicrous attempts to keep his past where it belongs, his past hasn’t read the memo. And soon his secrets could be the very things that drive Sean away for good…

Warning: Contains the alarming misadventures of a pest control technician, a stepsister with a truly unfortunate name, and a young man who may have more bow ties than sense.

Okay, confession time for me: I had with JL Merrow a love/hate relationship until last month (of course she didn’t know about it LOL). This amazing author wrote one of the first mm books I read back when I became obsessed with men loving men. The book is called Muscling Through and it still is one of my fave re-read. I fell in love with it and with the great way JL have to put words together. This love brought me to Hard Tail and there, it started my hate. I realized she was too “British” to my poor English. Sure it was my fault but I had to leave it behind and hated it. Three years later here I am, I came back to her, cause I honestly couldn’t resist The Shamwell Tales series anymore. I read it out of order, first Played! and then this one, Caught!

So far I read four of her books and I don’t want to stop! We can discuss about plots, characters, etc, but the feeling I have is the same in every book: satisfaction. That’s the word I have in mind when I think of her works.

Caught! was another winner to me. The story was definitely light, with a lot of humor and some incredible second characters, especially I’m thinking about Rob’s best friend, Rose, who was my favourite one, sometimes I liked her more that Robert himself. She acted exactly as I hope my friend should be: true in her harsh words, cheering and so much funny.

You know, I’m not usually a huge fan of stories based on misunderstanding and miscommunication, but in this case the story flowed so well I wasn’t bothered from the lacking of clarity, most of all because I really couldn’t blame Robert for being scared to share his past. It was so destructive enough for him to bring him to transfer in the new village of Shamwell. It made him more insecure in his love life and when he meets Sean, he is soon worried to not be enough for the bisexual man.

What about the pest control technician? Well first of all I have a thing for red hair, so I was a goner for Sean from the start. And for the little twins too, cute as much as trouble makers. Sean is a really good person, loyal in his love and so caring versus his sick sister, he lives with her to helping with his twin nephews. I loved how he was with Robert, so open and understanding with the formal teacher and so in love with his bow ties.

“I haven’t got any condoms!” I blurted out. Mortified, I clapped a hand over my mouth. I could almost feel the breeze of the stable door slamming shut as the horse flicked its tail in contempt and cantered merrily down the street.

Sean was laughing at me. “Okay, unexpected but to the point. I like that in a bloke.”

Oh God. “I mean, I thought… Just in case we… Not that I was making any presumptions, that would be, um, presumptuous. And I wouldn’t want to, well, presume…”

A rough-skinned hand stroked my face. It was blessedly cool against my heated skin. “Got it. No presuming. Wouldn’t dream of it. You know. Presuming you’d presumed.”

“You must think I’m utterly ridiculous.”

He laughed again. “Well, I wouldn’t say utterly.”

The story is full of funny moments, some cute and some unbelievable too. It was a light read but there were a lot of things going on at the same times (I don’t want to spoiler), which didn’t make the book confusing, just more relevant, poignant.
Of course I still had to use Google for a couple of things sometimes but it was so worth it. My relationship with JL is just a love story now!

Cover art by Kanaxa. I simply love this cover! It’s exactly how I imagined Robert, his expression, his clothes. Well done.

Sales Links:  Samhain PublishingAll Romance (ARe)Amazon Buy It Here


Published August 19th 2014 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Kindle Edition, 276 pages
Edition language English

The Shamwell Tales series
Caught! #1
Played! #2


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