A Good Neighbour by Clare London
Rating: 4.25 Stars
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Contemporary British Setting, Novella, Charming Story
Length: 60 Pages
Reviewer: Kazza K
A London Lads Story
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?
First Edition published as A Good Neighbor by Amber Quill Press/Amber Allure, 2009.
This was such a nice novella. Charming and warm and contains more depth than most sixty page novellas, and I’ve read my fair share. I’ve read a couple of shorter reads by Clare London and she writes them very well. The tradition continues in A Good Neighbour.
The story is set in a London town – Petersham – where Dylan has his great aunts over for weekly tea and cake. I couldn’t help it, but this family dynamic kept reminding me of Arsenic and Old Lace – without the arsenic. I loved the pair of women who you know understand much more than Dylan grasps, and also have a touch of flirty-eccentric to them.
The great-aunts came to visit me once a week, every week, in all weathers. I fetched them from Laurel House, a sheltered community on the other side of the park, and guided them into my house like the precious cargo they were. I listened to their lively, often argumentative chat and fed them tea and plenty of cakes.
But they talk about Dylan’s neighbour, Josie, when it’s Neal, her brother, that has Dylan all hot and bothered. Dylan and Neal hook up when the journalist is back in Petersham, and while they have a good time, Dylan desperately attempts to be discreet. Dylan teaches at a local school, the town is on the outskirts of London and is village-like, he doesn’t want anyone to get wind of his love life.
And of course people loved to gossip in that kind of setting. That is, gossip about me and my lack of a girlfriend. At least, my great-aunts did.
I can’t say much about the plot of A Good Neighbour because it isn’t long and I guarantee it is much better if you read it for yourself.
“Dylan, you’ve been a restrained, responsible boy all your life. I don’t expect you to understand the eccentric ways of these artistic types.”
And while the great aunts are being mischievous they’re right, Dylan is terribly upright and tense and easily concerned about being proper. If a proposition comes his way from the travelling Neal, how hard will it be for Dylan to think of himself and, maybe, their lives combined?
This book has –
Strong writing. It’s a good story.
More to it than what meets the eye – it has enough to gently emotionally tug.
A robust sex scene, it isn’t an overly long story so there’s only one which is right, it’s not erotica… but, still, the scene is nice ‘n naughty.
A great sense of place.
The great aunts are such cheeky characters.
It has a niceness about it, it’s simply a delightful piece of storytelling.
A Good Neighbour is a second edition, it first came out with Amber Allure and they are no longer around. I missed it that time around. I can’t give you much in my review but I wanted readers to know how much I enjoyed reading this story, and I truly did. I was coming off a powerhouse book and picked up about five books before this one, rejecting them all. I only received this ARC because I asked to be part of an author post which I missed out taking part in but the book still came my way and I’m thankful it found me.
If you like a charming world and characters, interesting ones, this delivers, although I’m not sure Mary Berry would approve of Dylan’s attempt at lemon cake… but she’d be perfectly polite about it. 4.25 Stars!
I couldn’t help it…