Author: Josh Lanyon
Review by: Onnica
Basic story: Austin Gillespie, renowned wine expert is sent to old-world Georgia in a bid to locate four priceless bottles of wine. If he can find them and verify that they are indeed the real thing, his future will be assured. He’s desperate to step out of the shadow of his family’s success and prove once and for all that his career means something too. Once he arrives at Ballineen, a crumbling antebellum mansion, nothing can prepare him for the eccentric family living within. Carson Cashel, only daughter and last of the Southern belles, Cormac Cashel her brother, sullen and intense and then there’s Aunt Eudie – eccentric and sweet. These characters are a lot to deal with but it is Jefferson Brady who holds his attention.
Convinced that Jeff is involved with Carson, Austin brushes off his initial attraction and sets off to work. But that’s when things go from bad to worse. How’s Austin meant to get any work done when there’s a dead body in the cellar with him? Chaos and intrigue ensue and as he spends more time with the enigmatic Jeff – who intends to remain firmly at the back of the closet – Austin must decide whether his feelings for Jeff are worth the heartache.
Why you should read this: Oh man – I had this book on my Kindle for ages and have only just got around to reading it. I have no idea why I didn’t pick it up sooner. It’s so well written – it’s a novella but the pace is perfect. There’s plenty of action, there’s a mystery to be solved and there’s the romance between Austin and Jeff. It’s not fuelled by angst, which is so refreshing and it’s a simple love story. I fell for Austin’s vulnerability and his sensitivity. There’s plenty of humour too, bordering on farce when Austin has to deflect Cormac’s clumsy advances – it’s so much fun.
What you might hate: Can’t honestly think why you’d hate this – it’s a m/m romance, which may not be for everyone but it’s sexy as all get out. It’s basically a story about making peace with who you are and taking a chance on love, despite the possibility of heartache. It’s also set in the world of fine wine – which I love more than life, so for me I was in literary heaven.
Rating: Easy – 5/5 for keeping the action low-key without making it dull. The writing is exceptional, heartfelt and real. It was sexy without going for pure titillation. I loved it and I want to read more Josh Lanyon!