Rating 4.5 stars out of 5
Davo’s a pretty average guy. He has a decent job, owns his own home, and spends his weekends at the pub. He fully accepts that he’s gay, but doesn’t want to be one of those gays, who are femme and girly. He likes football and other masculine pursuits, and firmly avoids anything that could be seen as femme—including relationships that last beyond fifteen minutes.
Then Davo’s friend and gay idol not only gets a boyfriend, but also adopts a baby girl. Davo is seriously spooked and scuttles down to the pub in fright. That’s where he meets Lee, who is cute from her cherry-red hair, to her pretty little dress and pointy red shoes. Davo is charmed—but how is that possible? He’s gay. Isn’t he? Then Lee tells him he’s actually a guy—he just likes to wear women’s dresses occasionally. Thoroughly confused about an attraction that’s out of character for him, Davo begins the long journey to where he can accept himself without caring what everyone else thinks.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, even though there were many moments in this 8 hour audiobook that caused me to rethink why I was listening to this. Those moments all centered around Davo and his attitudes toward effeminate gay men and his opinions on how men should act—gay or straight, real men don’t wear pink. There were times when his attitude was downright hurtful and unreal. And yet, I kept listening. Why? Because the author wove so much humor into the story, it was easy to believe that his character was somewhat of a spoof of men with that attitude.
The author also gave us the perfect MC to balance Davo’s macho act, and two great characters—Patrick and Jake from The Blinding Light—to make this a heartwarming and lighthearted story with many WTF and equally oh-so-sweet moments along the way.
What saved Davo from being a total jerk was the reveal of how he was raised. The poor guy was literally persecuted from grade school up for having any opinions that weren’t macho. In fact, the worst memory of his young life was of having to throw away his My Little Pony collection. Now, staunch in his opinion of what a real man should and should not do, he’s shocked to see the change in his best mate, Jake, who married a blind man (The Blinding Light) and now has a baby girl. Jake’s whole world now revolves around the baby, and Davo can’t figure out why his macho friend has changed so much.
At the tav, when he meets Lee, a cutie with cherry red hair, he’s freaked by how much she lights his fire. She is attractive and fun and has a good sense of humor, but it’s not until days later, when he finally finds out she’s a he who likes to dress in women’s clothing occasionally, that he feels reassured in his masculinity again.
The author takes us through Davo’s painful journey of self-discovery as he comes to learn more about his perceptions of others, his preconceived notions, and finally, his awakening to his own softer side. Accompanying him on this journey is Lee, the cross-dressing man who, at first, shook up Davo’s world and now is everything he ever wanted. It’s obvious from Davo being my focus in this review that the story is really all about him—more so than many other romances that equally balance perspectives of both characters. Maybe it’s that his attitudes and feelings are larger than life, but it resonates well in the telling of this story.
Along the way, as we share that journey to change with him, we laugh and we cry and sometimes want to kick him in the rear, or slap his face, but by the end, all I wanted to do was wrap him and Lee up in my arms and wish them the best.
Dave Gillies did a terrific job in narrating this audiobook and bringing the characters to life. And I must add kudos for his voice for Lee, which was totally different from the other males—higher-pitched, yet soft and feminine.
This was a really great, heartwarming MM romance. Not to be missed in either e-book or audiobook format.
Cover art by Bree Archer features a back view of a male with naked torso against a light blue scenic background. The cover is attractive but not one I would have chosen for this story.
Audible Audio, 8 pages
Published March 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published August 7th 2015)
SeriesThe Tav #2
CharactersDave Pederson, Lee Brennan