RATING 4,5 out of 5 stars
After his tumultuous teenage years, Smudge has settled into his quiet life in the sleepy English village of Slopy Bottom. He’s his own boss with the time and space to indulge his artistic creativity. And he has friends. He’s happy. Satisfied. Lonely. And the pool of potential soulmates is almost non-existent. His friends, Rick and Mal, flush with their own happy romance, keep trying to set him up with the most incompatible men, and he’s never finding true love on Grindr. Hell, he’s not even going to manage a hook up based on the kinky messages he’s been getting recently. He’ll just have to slake his desire to find his own HEA in the pages of bosom-heaving romance novels.
Raleigh is the darling of Slopy Bottom’s blue rinse brigade: church organist, mobile librarian, and apparently wedded to his trademark cardigans. He seems to be the polar opposite of the artistic Smudge, whose brightly coloured mohawk and piercings should be a red flag to Raleigh. Yet he’s yearning for company too. It’s just that Raleigh has less expectation and definitely less courage to chase after it, for reasons that he keeps very close to his chest. Reasons that don’t stop him from being drawn irresistibly to Smudge.
Smudge is sure that the way Raleigh runs from him whenever he sees him is cruelly deliberate. A reflection on his bad boy looks and his disdain for Raleigh’s precious church. So why can’t he stop thinking about the softness of Raleigh’s curls and his delicate body? Then Raleigh offers an olive branch of sugar and caffeine, Smudge’s favourite combination, starting them on a road to an awkward truce. And when they are conned into working together on a community project at the local hospital, the proximity ignites a spark that can’t be ignored. But navigating the murky waters that could take their relationship beyond tentative friendship all depends on whether Raleigh can release his secret fears – and whether Smudge is the man to share and allay them.
Renaissance by Lillian Francis was a pure joy to read. I was waiting for Raleigh and Smudge’s story since I first met them in the previous book in the Village Love series. I am very happy the author quickly fulfilled my wish. I loved this new release so much.
This is an “opposites attract” story, Raleigh is the perfect and so beloved librarian of Sloppy Bottom, Smudge is the strange owner of a print shop, full of tattoos, piercings and colorful hair. When these two world will be brought together, something special will happen. I loved them because I love my characters to be damaged like we all are, it makes them real, although I could have saved Raleigh from the deep pain of his past.
The relationship was slow at start and developed, Raleigh and Smudge are really together just at the very end of the novel, plus there is no sex scenes and it was perfect. Imo it shouldn’t have been different and I want to thank the author for the respect she showed to Raleigh with this choice.
The writing was so engaging, it made the reading easy to follow and I particularly enjoyed it in the descriptive scenes. With her style Lillian brought me to Sloppy Bottom and its people and it was a great place.
In Renaissance I found Rick and Mal from Resonance and Resistance, I saw how happy they still were together, how their relationship has grown and become more solid. And then I met some characters I so want and hope the author will give them their own HEA, like Adam and Trevor and Jason and PuondingTorque. I’m so curious to see what she can come up with.
I feel to highly recommend Renaissance by Lillian Francis, one of the best book I read in 2017.
The cover art by Garrett Leigh follows the style of the covers of the series and I quite like it since it’s different.
Kindle Edition, 298 pages
Published April 1st 2017 by Finally Love Press
Edition Language English
Village Love series