Rating: 2 stars out of 5
Roland Marcus, still not over the fact that his twenty year relationship has ended, accidentally bumps into a hot young guy in a used book store…a strapping male hustler whom he decides to hire for one week to accompany him to charity events while he’s in New York. He offers him five thousand dollars, with no strings attached, to just stand by his side and look pretty.
Josh Holden, a young guy who is helping to support his son and saving money to buy a business with his best friend and ex-wife, is only too happy to escort Roland anywhere he wants to go that week. And he’s not doing it just for the money…
Unlike most stories, where the rich and powerful husband dumps the hard working, devoted life partner for someone younger, this one takes a turn in the opposite direction when the rich husband is the one to get dumped. But with young Josh’s help, Roland learns in less than a week’s time that his future can still hold both earth-shattering sex and a love of real substance.
I admit it. I love the movie Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. I can visualize scenes based on a laugh and a clap of a jewelry box. The sight of a outside escape ladder on a building will immediately call up memories of that ending where he heads up the ladder and she tells him that the fair maiden rescue’s the Knight right back. Swoon! Because of course, that’s the point. She rescued him just as much as he did her. There was an odd vulnerability on both parts and a toughness. A relationship we could give our hearts too.
All of which is what’s missing here.
Ryan Field says in his introduction that he wants to write happy gay romances because there was none in the 20th century for him to read. And while I may quibble about his timeline, I get his point. Field goes on to say that’s why he writes today, to insure that there’s happy romances for others like him to read and enjoy. Again, terrific. But he seems to be making a career of rewriting classic romantic movies with M/M roles (An Officer and His Gentleman, When Harry Met Sal, Sleepless In San Francisco). It seems like a cute idea but if Pretty Man is any indication he’s missing the point of (at least) why these movies are so popular.
In Pretty Man, he left out most of the elements that made the movie so wonderful and the characters so likable. If in fact you are going to emulate a dearly loved movie, than at least know why that movie worked. Understand the chemistry between the characters, the difference in stations and why that romance sticks with people no matter the decade. I’ll give you a clue. It wasn’t because the power was one sided. As it is here all the way to the end. Roland rescues, and rescues, and rescues. Josh continually needs saving. Plus there was an actual relationship there.
In fact, most of the book has so many sex scenes that any relationship development is all but forgotten. Why does Roland go after Josh? Well, Field makes it sound like it’s because Josh is a pretty good looking man and the sex is great, torn jeans and all. There’s no “rescuing back” here. No give and take. That’s completely lost. In fact all the characters have little depth, even the storyline seems so light as to have been constructed of cotton candy.
So, no Pretty Man didn’t do it for me. I think I be honest I’ll have to see what other things this author has written that aren’t associated with movies but perhaps are based more on original concepts and see how that goes. In my opinion this was a cute idea but just didn’t work out in an actual story.
Cover art is cute but doesn’t accurately portray both characters as Roland is much older than Josh
Sales Links: Amazon
Kindle Edition, 2nd edition, 169 pages
Published August 10th 2018 by Riverdale Avenue Books (first published 2009)
Original TitlePretty man
CharactersJosh Holden, Roland Marcus settingUnited States of America