Rating: 2 stars out of 5
I generally love Jay Northcote’s stories. His writing style is pure Brit and his characters are always believable, three-dimensional, and endearing. I’ve enjoyed the Rainbow Place series and always look forward to the glimpse of past characters and a chance to catch up with them. We get that here, and it was enjoyable, but I had a few problems with the romance in this story. From here to the end, I’ve included detail that some will consider spoilers so please don’t read if you don’t want details on the relationship dynamics in this book.
Dylan was a sweetheart. A young man in his late twenties, he’s six years past an emotionally abusive relationship that he stuck out until he finally realized what was happening. He’s vowed not to let it happen again. He’s an artist who is gaining some local popularity, and he works as a waiter and barista at Rainbow Place. There he meets a man in his early forties who comes in day after day with his laptop and works there for hours. Eventually, Dylan learns that Joe is a writer and he’s taken time off from teaching after a redundancy left him jobless. He thinks Joe is hot and he enjoys talking to him. It isn’t until a while later that he learns what we readers already know—Joe is in a long-term relationship. But we also know that it’s falling apart.
Joe’s partner, Harry, agreed to let him work on his book but he’s beginning to treat Joe more like a housekeeper, cook, and maid and making him wait on him hand and foot when they are home together. Harry drinks a lot—every night and from what we see on page, it appears he’s drinking wine and hard alcohol and a bottle a night is disappearing. One night, when Joe has had enough of Harry falling asleep in front of the TV, he heads to Rainbow Place and ultimately ends up dancing with and nearly kissing Dylan. As a result, he confronts Harry when he gets home and they decide to break up. Well, to be fair, it’s Joe who decides to break from Harry. Joe moves into a spare room and determines that once he finishes his book and finds a job, he’ll move out and they’ll take care of paperwork and legal matters regarding the house at that time.
He immediately embarks on a relationship with Dylan. And here is where I have a problem, which is actually twofold. First, the level of Harry’s alcohol abuse is more than simply “a drinking habit” as it was referred to a number of times in the story. Alcoholism isn’t a habit. It’s a disease. And if a character is going to drink and behave the way it’s described in this story, that should be addressed and help offered, even if Harry doesn’t take it. My second issue is that Joe begins to spend the night, on a number of occasions, with Dylan almost immediately, and they not only kiss and get each other off, they soon have penetrative sex. I’m sorry, but to me, since he still lives in Harry’s home, that’s not exercising his freedom, that’s cheating—or at least being dishonorable. And it was way too soon to start a relationship. I could not get into this couple, mostly for that reason, and I really wanted to smack Joe, who is about 15 years older than Dylan, for making such poor life choices. Dylan, at least, wanted to slow down, recognizing that he may be a rebound. And Dylan had real concerns for Joe in that relationship so he was the more mature partner in this story.
They do ultimately end up together and Harry sort of fades into the woodwork. Fans of the series will likely enjoy it. I’m sure my personal bias when it comes to both alcoholism and cheating may put me in the minority, but this book just wasn’t my cuppa.
The cover by Garrett Leigh is a picture of a handsome shirtless man. I don’t see the connection to the story, but the guy will certainly grab some readers’ attention.
Kindle Edition, 246 pages
Published February 22nd 2019 by Jaybird Press
Series Rainbow Place :