Rating:5 stars out of 5
At the age of twenty-nine, Shawn O’Hara’s life is full, although not quite in the way he had always imagined it. Shawn had to quit his job to become the full-time caregiver of his Alzheimer’s-stricken mother. And if that isn’t enough, Shawn’s life has been a string of unfortunate accidents. What some people call Murphy’s Law (A rule that states, “If something can go wrong, it will, and usually at the worst time.”), is in Shawn’s case, Murphy’s Law doubled and known by friends and family as Shawn’s Law.
In what little spare time Shawn has, he spends it painting nude men and spying on the guy who walks his dogs along the street every day at four o’clock, someone he has affectionately dubbed Hippy-Hotpants. When Shawn takes a spectacular fall on his front steps, who is there to witness it other than the man of his dreams?
Harley (aka Hippy Hotpants) doesn’t believe in Shawn’s Law. But spending time with Shawn brings about a change in mind. Shawn is it for Harley and he is determined to make Shawn see it as well. The two men make it through a memorable first date, full of Shawn’s Law surprises, and still look forward to more. But when Harley is accidentally injured, Shawn is determined to save Harley’s life the only way he knows how—by breaking up with him. Not once, but twice. Throw in a serial killer ex-boyfriend, several deadly Australian animals, two dogs called Bennie, a mother who forgets to wear clothes, an unforgiving Town Council, and a strawberry-flavored condom dolly, and Shawn’s Law is one for the booksmind.
Ever had a book that made you laugh out loud? Not just a few giggles (although that happened), or episodes of gentle laughter (ditto). No, I’m talking about out and out guffaws, side stitching no holds barred cackles! For me, that is Shawn’s Law by Renae Kaye in a nutshell. Even now, just thinking about certain scenes and dialog makes me stop and laugh until I cry.
I have read and loved other books by this author (The Blinding Light, The Shearing Gun, Safe in His Arms) but nothing prepared me for Harley, Shawn, and their fabulous if accident prone path to love. The humor is searing, but its overlaid by some of life’s worst events, a mother in the last throes of Alzheimer’s, lost jobs, a stressed out sister and a solitary love life, all of which are realistically portrayed. Shawn is unexpectedly wonderful in almost every way. His outlook is positive (because the alternative would be depressingly scary). His physique? Well, let’s hear it from Harley how he sees Shawn:
And Shawn is definitely a man. He has short black hair and a strong jaw that needs to be shaved twice a day to keep the shadow off. He wears endearing black-framed glasses that look cute and geeky at the same time. He hates his glasses and is always threatening to buy something hip and cool, but he never gets around to it. Too many other things happen in his life. But there’s no getting around the fact that he’s short and has curves—his legs are curvy, his butt sticks out and his chest is rounded. He would never be called svelte or willowy, and that’s more than okay with me.
Yep, that Shawn, Short, “curvy”, kind hearted Shawn. He doesn’t even cuss because he accidentally taught his youngest niece the F word, so now everything is fudge, or sugar or any other sweet term you can think of (as in “Sugar creme puffs, Mum’s loose and naked again”) and from Shawn’s mouth it feels natural and unaffected. Shawn comes across as a human being you would love to get to know (albeit from the relative safety of 10 feet away). He’s friends with all the nurses and doctors at the local hospital through his many visits. All the local car towing company, animal wildlife rangers, plumbers,, etc are all of first name basis with Shawn due to Shawn’s Law in action. Man, this guy endearing and real. I love Shawn and he quickly became one of my favorite characters.
Harley is another finely drawn portrait of a activist at home in his own skin and looking for love in one of the most unlikely pairings around. Harley likes to let it all, I mean all as in his equipment, hang loose. No binding underwear for him and his dress or sometimes lack of it earns him the nickname Hippy-Hotpants. Maybe its his long hair too. Anyway, he cuts quite the figure through these pages and in Shawn’s life. Harley is far from perfect and Shawn brings about some serious reflection on how he views his life, Shawn, and the events that happen. I love that about this character and the storyline. The characters all show measurable growth. It unfolds realistically and sometimes painfully, although the humor is retained at various levels of intensity. But nothing is easy. Relationships take work, people have insecurities about their bodies, and sometimes people do the wrong thing by trying to do what’ they think is right and will create the least amount of havoc for someone they love. So yeah, their steps towards love are sometimes plodding, full of pratfalls and stumbles and a fair share of misunderstandings. But that only makes this story and their romance that much sweeter because it feels so real and right.
All the other characters are just as perfectly realized as Shawn and Harley. Whether its, Lisa (Shawn’s sister) or Shawn’s mum whose lucidity comes and goes (mostly goes), or any of the other myriad people that pop up, you will remember them all with great fondness and wish to see more of them as often as possible. I could have lived in this story and with these characters for a long, long time.
Renae Kaye’s writing flows so smoothly here. Told from both Shawn and Harley’s point of view the events unfold quickly and believably. And this short excerpt gives you a window into how it all starts. Here Shawn has just realized that his mother has slipped out of the house…again. And he follows a trail of clothing outside just as he was waiting to catch a glimpse of “Hippy-Hotpants”:
Then disaster struck. Not apocalypse proportions, but just your everyday oh-man-that-just-ruined-everything disaster. My foot slid on something and flew out from under me. I was racing too hard to find my balance, and ended up falling on my butt, coming down on the edge of a step with a yelp of pain. I slithered down a few more steps before coming to a halt on my back, staring up in shock at the blue sky.
“Oh, holy fuu… udge bars.”
It was a small thing, but I made it a habit not to use the “F-word” ever since I’d accidently taught it to my niece when she was only two. The “Sh-word” was also out, so I now used words like fudge and sugar and darn for expletives. It wasn’t easy. My days usually need a lot of expletives. I turned my head slightly, thanked God that my neck still worked, and caught sight of something white in my peripheral vision. My head was resting on something and I yanked it from beneath me and tried to focus.
Ugh. Bras, briefs, panties, and lingerie. I’d skidded on the latest Target underwear catalog. Perfect.
“Are you okay?”
Want a story to keep you smiling and engaged? Shawn’s Law is one for the top shelf, you know the one where you keep your favorite stories! It’s a story you will want to pick up again when you want a laugh or when you want to renew your acquaintance with some of the most endearing, wonderful characters around. Oh, and that last chapter? The one that consists of 3 short sentences? Priceless, just priceless. But don’t take my word for it….go, right now and grab this up! It’s one of my most highly recommended reads!
Cover artist: Paul Richmond. The artist does this story and its characters justice. It’s perfect in attitude and humor, and I loved it. And yes, that’s a part of this story.
ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: March 6th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
original titleShawn’s Law