Reviewed by Cinnamon
SERIES: Shamwell Tales Collection
AUTHOR: JL Merrow
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
LENGTH: 337 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 5, 2017
Bow ties are cool . . . but secrets, not so much.
Behind Robert Emeny’s cheerfully eccentric exterior lies a young heart battered and bruised by his past. He’s taken a job in a village primary school to make a fresh start, and love isn’t part of his plans. But then he’s knocked for six–literally–by a chance encounter with the uncle of two of his pupils.
Sean Grant works in pest control, lives on a council estate, and rides a motorbike. Robert is an ex-public schoolboy from a posh family who drives a classic car. On the face of it, they shouldn’t have anything in common. Yet Robert can’t resist Sean’s roguish grin, and passion sparks between them even after an excruciatingly embarrassing first date.
Too bad the past Robert’s hiding from is about to come looking for him. His increasingly ludicrous efforts to keep his secrets are pushing Sean
away–but telling the truth could make Sean leave him for good.
I first read this story when it came out in 2014 and when I saw it is being re-released I knew I had to read it to see how my taste and opinion changed in the past few years. Let me tell you I loved it all over again. Quality writing never loses its value. It is timeless no matter the trend changes and unique styles and a great voice never go out of fashion.
JL Merrow is an absolute master storyteller and I adore her writing style. The way she chooses the voices of her characters, and that light elegance she uses to make us fall in love with them just by reading their thoughts are one of a kind.
Caught is being told from Robert’s first person point of view which gives us a great opportunity to get into his head all we want. I really love his character. His quirky behavior, unique clothing style and his overall being-different-and-I-own-it attitude make this book and this MC unforgettable. The story spoke to me on so many levels and it also deals with important subjects like bisexuality, single parenting, gender behavior and acceptance. Being a teacher myself I always enjoy reading stories about “colleagues”. The portrayal of the school situations, the kids and their different family backgrounds give an extra layer of awesome to the story. That being said, I really miss Sean’s POV. I would have loved to see what he was thinking, but I also understand that this is Robert’s story and is told that way on purpose!
The humor that is woven into every line makes the writing unique and very enjoyable. I was laughing out loud many times and grinning almost all the way.
If you are an old school reader like me you will appreciate the slow, emotional build up, the whole courting process and the wonderful connection between Sean and Robert. There is also just the right amount of conflict to give your heart a workout and make things emotional and exciting.
I am not sure the name choice was intentional in a deeper level but Mr. Emeny has the name that with a bit of ignorance turns into Mr. Enemy in a heartbeat. It might be funny with his second graders but is very telling.
The way Robert’s life turned upside down the same way in a jiffy, we know that people are quick to judge and Mr. Enemy’s past, and the incident that had happened to him a while ago has long lasting effects on his life. Telling or not telling that is the question. Do you share important, possibly life altering information with your new relationship or keep it to yourself hoping it never comes up? But secrets are always revealed sooner or later. And we live with the consequences, the way Robert has to live with his.
What I really enjoyed here is that things are real. The emotions, the conflicts, the friendships, the misunderstandings, even some sex scenes have that natural, little awkward parts at times with clothes in the way while getting undressed… Everything seems lifelike and real… everything has its right place and all of them work in sync to make this story a fantastic reading experience. Highly recommended!