Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Jim has worked in the distillery as its business manager since he returned to his home town after getting his degree. Whiskey is a slow business and rural life is quiet, but Jim takes it in his stride. That is, until the handsome and mysterious Mr Aiden Rooney moves into a room above the local pub and sets off a flurry of gossip.
Aiden’s an artist, and his devil-may-care attitude is a revelation to Jim. But he still lives in a small town in rural Ireland, and he’s not even sure if he wants to be out and proud. The choices they make could change everything, if only Jim dares to follow his heart.
I love Ireland so any romance or book with Ireland as a setting usually has me at the narrative “hello”. I also say the same about whiskey so Whiskey Kisses by Anna Martin seemed like a sure bet. While what I found didn’t fulfill my hoped-for promise indicated by the blurb, it still remains a very nice love story, one I think most people will enjoy.
Told from the perspective of Jim/James/Jimmy (depending upon who you are talking to in his large family and small town), he makes for a sweet narrator of his own story and romance. He tells us of his childhood, his injury, his brief escape to college and city life and his amazingly happy and content return to the village he was born into and now resides.
The only drawback? His sexuality and basic closeted status. Which gets a good shakeup when an artist comes to town in the form of Aiden. It’s one look and Jim is quite smitten as is the artist. The pursuit and romance is on. The rest of the story is lovely, mostly angst free and short.
All that’s wonderful except that it meant that the romance had too much instant love for me. Jim/James is closeted but falls right into the arms of Aiden (almost literally). The move in together and love seems practically instantaneous (even though it’s separated by a few “and a few weeks/months later”). The flow of the story just doesn’t seem to indicate too broken of a time line for me to get a feeling of time passing here.
While I loved Jim and family, Aiden always felt like more of a blank canvas. In some stories, even when you only have one pov, you get many fully formed characters, but Aiden always felt less than substantial. I still rooted for the couple to succeed, but I would have loved to have more personality or as much a character foundation to Aiden as I did for Jim.
But my real quibble here? Somehow the elements of whiskey and village life could just as easily been transported to another country altogether. The story is called Whiskey Kisses! So give us some real whiskey goodness here, some good old Irish background on the peat, wood barrels, something! Give us some marvelous foundation to wrap this story around, not bookkeeping and a dreary employee lunch room. Make this section come alive for us and the rest of the village too while we are at it. I’ve been to Ireland many times but other than the names of the nieces and nephews, you’d never know it honestly. You could have transplanted this story anywhere.
So, for me Whiskey Kisses is a light romance, a short sweet read. Not what I had hoped for but if that’s what you are looking for, this is the story for you.
Cover art is very generic. I don’t know who this model is but I’m seeing him all over the place. He’s so cute but where’s are the elements of the story?
Kindle Edition, 69 pages
Published October 21st 2017 by Anna Martin Originals