Audiobook Review: September (Pride and Joy #1) by Robert Winter

A May-December contemporary gay romance for lovers of second chances

David James is smart, successful, handsome… and alone. After the death of his lover, Kyle, from cancer, he buried himself in his law practice and the gym. At forty-eight, he is haunted by his memories and walled off from the world. When David injures himself working out, he’s assigned to Brandon Smith for physical therapy. The vibrant young therapist is attracted to David and realizes he needs a hand to get back into dating. What begins as a practice coffee date escalates to friendship, passion, and maybe something more, as they navigate a new relationship in Washington, DC, and the gay mecca of Provincetown.

But David remains trapped behind the barrier of fear and guilt. Will he remain loyal to Kyle’s memory if he moves on? Can he and Brandon manage a twenty-two-year age gap? Brandon thinks he understands David’s concerns, and for him, the answer to those questions is yes. He wants to be with David, and he believes he can overcome David’s barriers. But Brandon fails to account for the world’s reaction to a handsome young man attached to an older, wealthy lover.

David’s memories, Brandon’s pride, and an unexpected tragedy might cost them something very special…

Note: Another publisher released September previously with a different cover. The author has made only minor changes to this edition.

Listening Length: 10 hours and 1 minute
Narrator: Kale Williams

Reviewer: Annika

September was my first Robert Winter book, which is oddly fitting as I just noticed it was also his debut novel. It was an endearing and realistic May-December story about a man who's forgotten how to live and the man bringing him back into the world. For the most part it’s a (very) steamy and a low angst read about two men finding love where they least expected it, it’s not always easy and the issues that arose were handled beautifully.

David is still mourns the loss of his late partner a few years earlier. The loss isn’t that, raw and crushing kind – anymore – but David still feels it deep into his bone. His days are the same as the last one, working at the office and a rigorous workout at the gym. Existing one day to the other. He wants to reconnect to the world but doesn’t know how to. An injury during a workout session forces him to physical therapy where he meets Brandon.

Brandon is barely scraping by, but he’s happy with his life as a physical therapist. He dreams of one day owning his own clinic. But that’s way off in the future when he’s got a more solid ground to stand on. Love isn’t high on his priority list, but when David walks in he starts to salivate and wants nothing more than to help this intriguing silver fox.

David's late lover Kyle is present throughout the book, but it never gets crowded or overwhelming if you know what I mean. It's more fitting than that, he's there in form of memories, a voice in David’s head, helping him to move on. So even though David still misses Kyle, it's not that soul shattering grief that will tear you apart. At least not anymore. I loved how the whole Kyle thing was portrayed, no unnecessary drama and with a lot of respect that it deserved.

I have to admit that I wasn't too fond of the writing style of this book. There was just something about it that made it feel like I was kept at a distance. I wasn't a part of the book. For me to truly enjoy a book I need to be immersed in it, I need to be in the story, feel what the characters are feeling but I never did that with this book.

Another thing that didn’t sit well with me was the first two thirds of the book. There was just too much on page sex for my liking. I know that this won't be an issue for a lot of readers, but long and abundant sex scenes bore me. And it's even worse when you listen to them in audio, there's no skimming them. I want the characters to connect on an emotional level and not only the physical - so for me to the sex should have meaning, it should bring the story forward and not only to get the characters off. It gets repetitive after a while and having more sex scenes than actual plot is never good. (Unless we’re talking erotica, but that’s a whole other story).

However, the last third of the book changed everything for me. It was by far my favourite part of the book. The emotions I'd missed before was there, I wish this had more of a presence in the book and it wasn't dealt with during such a small part of the book. There was so much more to be explored. It added such depth to it all and it drew me in like never before with this book.

Kale Williams did a great job narrating this book. He had distinct voices and accents for all the characters and there was never any problems following along with the story. He narrated the book with a lot of feeling and truly did a wonderful job. I will happily listen to more of his narrations in the future.

For a debut novel, September was a strong effort and I will be looking forward to reading more of his stories in the future.

A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

No comments:

Post a Comment