Reviewed by Cinnamon
SERIES: Shamwell Tales Book 2
AUTHOR: JL Merrow
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
LENGTH: 258 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 12, 2017 (second edition)
All the world’s a stage . . . but life doesn’t come with a script.
Posh boy Tristan Goldsmith has one last summer of freedom before he joins the family firm in New York—no more farting around on stage, as his father puts it. But the classically trained actor can’t resist when the Shamwell Amateur Dramatics Society begs him to take a leading role in their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As an added incentive, he’ll be giving private acting lessons to a gorgeous local handyman who’s been curiously resistant to Tristan’s advances.
As a late-diagnosed dyslexic still struggling with literacy, Con Izzard’s never dared to act before. With arrogant yet charming Tristan helping him with his lines, he finally has his chance to shine. But Con’s determined not to start a romance with a man he’s convinced only wants a casual fling.
Tristan’s never been one to back down from a challenge, especially when he realises his attraction to the tall, muscular handyman isn’t just physical. Just as he thinks he’s finally won Con’s heart—and given his own in return—disaster strikes with a slip of the tongue that shatters Con’s trust and sends him running for cover. This show may be over before the curtain’s even opened.
“Absolutely bloody brilliant.”
This quote says it all, dear reader. Played! is the second book in the Shamwell Tales Collection but can be read and loved as a standalone. New story, new characters, new writing style, new language but the writer’s signature brilliance is present from the very first page. This is artistic magic in my eyes how JL Merrow is able to grab my heart with a few glimpses of the plot and the characters, with just a few dialogues and make me emotionally invested in just a few pages.
If you love theatre, Shakespeare and you enjoy reading about life in the British countryside, you’re gonna enjoy this unique, wonderfully written story of how two absolutely different guys form an unlikely couple with a slow build up and lots of heart.
The story is told from both MCs pov and they both have very distinct styles and unique personalities which are portrayed through their thoughts and personalized language use. Tristan is a true riot. His line brings so much humor and so many fun scenes and accidents that I was laughing out loud many times. His posh, fun character is absolutely lovable and also a lot more complex than it first meets the eye. The language used in this book is way more British than in the first book. I know I know it is supposed to be British both written and set there but I just want you to take your time and enjoy the wonders of this language and savor the details, wit and humor as much as possible.
I am a true sucker for characters like Con. I loved him from the first moment and I was so pissed at the beginning for everyone around him, for the way they all hurt him or showed ignorance towards him. Even with the best intentions, him being so forgiving didn’t stop me from hating Heather at times and being pissed at Tristan at the beginning. Luckily everyone was able to redeem themselves and I ended up appreciating their effect on Con’s life.
We get two wonderful, unique MCs again who come from totally different backgrounds, speak totally different languages but still seem to find a harmony that is rooted in their mutual love of theater and some great chemistry they share.
This is a heartwarming, slow burning, romantic comedy with lots of great laughs and thoughts, true friends and the possibility of finding love in the most unexpected places. Highly recommended.