The latest JL Merrow gay romance novel is actually a revised edition of a previously published book. Out! is the story of a closeted middle-aged tax advisor who falls for a younger out and proud activist with a strong set of morals. I received one copy of this book at no charge in exchange for my honest reviews but all opinions expressed here are my own.
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Out! by JL Merrow
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Series: The Shamwell Tales Book 3
Author: JL Merrow
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: M/M, Contemporary
Length/Format: ebook, 2nd edition, 305 pages
Heat Rating: 2
Star Rating: 3 1/2
About The Author:
Other Books by JL Merrow
Out! Book Blurb:
Mark Nugent has spent his life in the closet—at least, the small portion of it he hasn’t spent in the office. Determined to make amends to his neglected teenage daughter from a failed marriage, Mark swears off work—and love—so he can give her a stable home environment. But Mark’s resolve to keep his heart under wraps is tested when he meets an out and proud young man he’s instantly drawn to.
Patrick Owen is a charity worker with strong principles. He doesn’t trust easily, but he’s blown away by his attraction for the older man who’s so new to his own sexuality. Yet Mark is adamant he’s not coming out to his daughter—and Patrick refuses to live a lie.
What with Mark’s old-fashioned attitudes and his flirtatious ex-colleague who’s determined to come between them, Patrick begins to wonder if they’ll ever be on the same page. And when Mark’s career as a tax advisor clashes with Patrick’s social conscience, sparks really start to fly—in all the wrong ways.
Out! by JL Merrow is book 3 of the Shamwell Tales series but can be read as a standalone book. I had not read any of the others in the series and had no trouble following the story.
The author does a great job of creating the story, fleshing out the characters, setting the scene and providing engaging secondary characters. Those all factored heavily into the star rating for this book. I found the book itself, however, a bit lackluster in terms of grabbing my attention which definitely detracted from the overall review.
Basically, you have Mark, a 39-year-old rather stuffy tax accountant who has divorced his wife and moved away to Shamwell. His goal is to stay in the closet get his slightly out of control teenage daughter (Fen/Florance) back on the straight and narrow. He somehow feels that coming out as gay will create way more teenage angst than he wants to deal with.
Patrick is a very out and proud 25-year-old gay man with a seriously passionate love of social justice. He suspects Mark is gay and is very attracted to him but wants nothing to do with the closet Mark is living in.
The age gap is a big deal for Mark. He grew up in a totally different era when no one talked about being gay. He has a teenage daughter he wants to keep I the dark about his sexuality. There is no room in his life (so he thinks) for a relationship. Patrick is frustrated and confused but tries to see it from Marks POV. There is a lot of ‘I want to but I can’t’ scattered through most of the story. They get to know each other slowly. They are in a group together called the Spartans, a local club of men from age 25 to 45. It is a rather slow paced book which does drag a bit for me.
The writing itself is very strong. Great character building, amazing description of scenes and locations, and the whole thing just flows very smoothly. It is very heavy on the British lingo which I think is cool although as an American I have to stop occasionally and translate something in my head. I don’t mind that…actually seems to really boost the setting development for me.
In terms of angst, drama, and passion it isn’t a HUGE page turner. Ther is a bit of a misunderstanding or two throughout the story that creates some drama. Nothing completley outrageous. …. it all seemed to unfold in a rather lifelike manner. It takes quite a while for any sort of relationship to develop between these two guys. At 65% they haven’t even kissed yet. Even by the end of the book the heat level is fairly low. At the very end of the story, they finally declare their love but it seems like it was a bit rushed to be real.
Overall, Out! by JL Merrow is a well-written book that is low on the romance but high on character development. Not a huge amount of plot other than the whole getting to know you thing and a bit of drama and misunderstanding.
Other Books By JL Merrow