Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5
Mark Nugent has spent his life in the closet—at least, the small part of it he hasn’t spent in the office. Divorced when he could no longer deny his sexuality, he’s sworn off his workaholic ways and moved to Shamwell with his headstrong teen daughter to give her a stable home environment.
His resolve to put his love life on hold is severely tested when he joins a local organization and meets a lively yet intense young man who tempts him closer to the closet threshold.
Patrick Owen is an out-and-proud charity worker with strong principles—and a newly discovered weakness for an older man. One snag: Mark is adamant he’s not coming out to his daughter, and Patrick will be damned if he’s going to start a relationship with a lie.
Between Mark’s old-fashioned attitudes and a camp, flirtatious ex-colleague who wants Mark for himself, Patrick wonders if they’ll ever be on the same romantic page. And when Mark’s former career as a tax advisor clashes with Patrick’s social conscience, it could be the one stumbling block they can’t get past.
Shamwell is a sleepy rural village in Hertfordshire, England, and a place I’ve grown to love over the course of four Shamwell Tales novels by J.L. Merrow. Slipping into one of these stories is like visiting a small village full of people you instantly like, all intimately connected to one another, full of humor, past histories, human frailties, and tons of love.
As read by Mark Steadman, one of my favorite narrators, Out! comes alive, vibrant, as one again I fell into the story of Mark and Patrick’s rough road to romance and love. I can close my eyes and forget that it’s just Mark Steadman, one person, narrating the story. He swings so easily between characters and voices, creating nuances and dialects even from person to person. And this story deserves a certain flair! We are talking about the Shamwell Players as well you know.
We have humor (sometimes laugh out loud humor), tough subjects such as Mark Nugent dealing with the realization that he really doesn’t know his daughter, that he had unknowingly checked out of her life, that he was a closeted dad, well, closeted period. So many issues to deal with, including a bitter ex wife.
Patrick Owen is someone I loved in the previous stories and wanted to have his story here. He’s remarkable in that he’s personable, loving, and relatable. As are all J.L. Merrow’s characters. They have staying power. We get involved in their lives in Shamwell, caught up in their romances and drama and hopefully their HEA’s. The books are a true joy but in the audiobook version, Mark Steadman launches the story anew, bringing a vibrancy to the tale and the characters that make me feel that I’m hearing it for the first time. It’s breathes a true believable romance that we connect with and people we love.
I absolutely recommend Out! (The Shamwell Tales #3) by J.L. Merrow and Mark Steadman (Narrator). Both the story, the author and the narrator! Grab up the whole series! You can’t go wrong.
Cover art by Natasha Snow is adorable and perfect.
Listening Time: 7 hrs. 51 min.
Published October 19th 2017 by Riptide Publishing (first published January 19th 2016)
SeriesThe Shamwell Tales #3