Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: A Good Neighbour
SERIES: London Lads #3
AUTHOR: Clare London
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 60 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 19, 2017
A secret affair can’t go on forever.
Dylan Philips admits it himself: he’s a relentlessly single man in a small suburban town, both proud of and resigned to being a good teacher and a devoted nephew to his mischievous great-aunts.
When the aunts take a hand in matchmaking him with Josie Whitman, the girl who lives along the street, Dylan doesn’t tell them what kind of soul mate he’s really looking for—and the fact that he’s already found the man in question. It’s not Josie who’s travelling from London every month to her town property, but her journalist brother Neal. And Dylan meets up with Neal whenever he can.
But decisions must be made for their future. Dylan is risk-averse to everything from overseas travel to coming out, whereas Neal embraces adventure—and now he wants to take Dylan with him.
Horrified that his chance at love will move even further out of his reach, Dylan realises it’s time for him to own up to what kind of man he really is. He needs to find courage and compromise. And who knows whether the great-aunts will be a help or a hindrance with that?
Dylan and Neal have been caring on in secret ever since they met months ago. With Neal constantly out of town for his job, and Dylan firmly entrenched in his closet, that doesn’t look like it’ll be changing soon either. But when Neal is offered a job that will take him out of the country for the foreseeable future, Dylan will have to finally chose between what he wants more. His secrets, or his lover.
I was a little underwhelmed by this story, to tell the truth. The first chapter–which is basically all about Dylan being set up with the girl next door by his elderly aunts–takes up a huge section of the book. Especially when you factor in that this story ended at the 80% mark in my kindle. I’m talking about over a third of this story being about this relationship that will never happen because a) one of the characters is gay, and b) the other character doesn’t even show up in the story at all except in the occasional mention. I get that the author wanted to set up this relationship between Dylan and his aunts and introduce the brother and sister who moved in recently…but this was excessive.
And when the story does actually start, it jumps right into the sex…which takes up another huge chunk of the book. I mean, I enjoyed this scene…but it felt a bit out of place. Maybe if it had taken place after we get properly introduced to Neal and get his and Dylan’s backstory, it might have worked better for me. As is, it was simply one more thing that made it so that the book was nearly over by the time we got any real relationship stuff in the story.
I just had a very hard time buying everything about these guys, their relationship, even the setting. Seriously, if it hadn’t been explicitly stated that Neal worked in London, I would have never pegged this book to take place in England. Everything about it feels generic-American. It could have just as easily taken place in California.
The writing wasn’t terrible, and there were certainly moments where I was getting into the story. But they were way too short. The pacing of the book didn’t do the story any favors, and even for a short story it at times felt both incredibly slow, but also incredibly short.