Reviewed by Cinnamon
SERIES: The Shamwell Tales Book 3
AUTHOR: JL Merrow
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
LENGTH: 305 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 26, 2017 (second edition)
When love wars with principle, which one will win?
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.
#DiversityRocks is my favorite motto and Out! is an unforgettable example of this sentiment. This is one of the best stories I have come across this year. I didn’t read this book when it first came out so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. It was totally worth the wait and now I can say that Out! is my favorite Shamwell Tale so far.
If you are new to the series, don’t worry, each book works as a standalone. You meet characters from the previous stories but only as part of the wonderful, diverse community of Shamwell. We have already been introduced to Patrick in Played and I was hoping for a good partner for him. I wasn’t disappointed.
Mark is new to Shamwell and moves to this town with his 14 yo daughter to start a new chapter of his life, getting to know his teenage kid and trying to reestablish their connection that had been loosened by his workload over the past couple of years. If I also add that he is just coming to terms with his sexuality, accepting it, but not planning to act on it, we get an interesting idea this whole story can be based on. But the plot-line is so much more. This is a wonderful, diverse tale of family, friendships and coming out with a wonderful array of secondary characters. The issues that are dealt with throughout the story are truly up-to-date and very important. Everything is handled with so much care and heart that I was over the moon and back reading it. I fell in love with all the characters. Patrick and Mark work surprisingly well together and all the secondary characters add an extra though provoking, eye-opening layer to the story.
The writing is the usual brilliance we get from JL Merrow with every story she publishes. The gender issues are beautifully written with heart and compassion. Mark’s reactions are priceless and his relationship and conversations with his daughter are truly eye opening and heartwarming. Writing a believable teenage character is not an easy feat but the writer passed this test with flying colors. Fen is one of the most amazing fictional teenage kids I have ever seen. She is complex and represents her age brilliantly.
Thank you, JL Merrow, for another amazing story. Can’t wait to read the next book in the series. Highly recommended.