Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
I loved this story about Elliott, a young college professor who was badly deceived and used by his lover and mentor and now struggles to fight his way back to the career path of his choice. And Simon, who was injured on the job and is now fighting his way back to his career path as well—and if it can’t be as a cop, as he was before, at least he hopes to find something that fits. He most definitely doesn’t want to work with his parents in their restaurant, not only because that’s not his chosen vocation, but also because he can’t meet their high personal expectations for him—that he’ll find a nice, preferably Assyrian, young woman, settle down, and raise babies for them.
What I liked most is that these two guys seemed to be pretty normal—the kind of guys you might meet in your neighborhood, or on the job, or even have as a family member. They are gay, but they’re not atypical—neither are porn stars, or con men, or werewolves—they’re a college professor and a cop. Granted, the college professor spends a lot of time immersed in his books when he’s not teaching one of the online community college courses he’s now reduced to overseeing. He lost his highly regarded, research-oriented position with a university when his lover and mentor was discovered to be embezzling and he was inadvertently caught up in the backlash. Now, he’s searching to get back into a tenure-track position and idling away his free time by shopping for more books to feed his book-buying (and reading) addiction. He tries to “behave” and exercise willpower, as many addicts would do, but it’s not until he decides to try something he’s seen elsewhere that his life takes on new purpose, and as a side benefit, he meets a pretty sexy guy with a bum knee.
The solution? He builds a “little library” a small set of enclosed book shelves on a post in his yard. Rearranging the furniture in his home so he can spy on the people stopping by gives him pause, but he does it anyway, and he’s rewarded with making new friends. Among them a little girl and her mom and that sexy guy with the bum knee that he’s seen as he’s been out running. That guy is Simon, and the two form an immediate friendship that leads to a very slow-burn relationship. I appreciated the way the author set this relationship up—no hurry to the bedroom, no over-the-moon heartthrobs—just a slow, gentle exploration of each other, starting with kisses and leading slowly to more.
And as they grow closer, it’s evident that Simon’s closet is not where Elliott wants to be. He was very hurt by his former lover and he won’t be hidden again. But Simon’s family feelings on homosexuality and strong cultural and religious beliefs don’t allow for room to negotiate and he desperately fears losing his parents if he comes out. In the meantime, Elliott is still searching for a university where he can settle in to research and get his career back on track, and it’s starting to look like that might happen in Nebraska.
Again, the author does not make the solution magical. These guys have to work for all they have both together and individually. It’s just not simple. It’s real. And I loved them. For me, the hallmark of a well-written book with endearing characters who face and overcome difficult life situations is when I can not only remember the story days later, but I can also recall their names. This one is a winner—proven by the above standards several days after I finished the story. And it’s going on my list of best of 2018. Well-written, with a host of amazing secondary characters, two outstanding main characters, and a variety of interesting experiences, added to slow burn, which is one of my favorite themes, I can easily highly recommend this one to lovers of MM romance. If you like it slow and you like your characters to be people you’d like to get to know, by all means choose this story.
The very attractive, colorful cover by LC Chase depicts the torso of a man holding an open book while standing at a “little library.” It’s one of the reasons—beside the fact that I love this author—that I chose this book.
self published by the Kindle Edition, 1 edition
Published March 26th 2018 by Kim Fielding
Original TitleThe Little Library