Author: John Inman
Book: Strays and Lovers
Page/Word Count: 152 Pages, 55,534 Words
Categories: Gay Romance, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 30th November 2018
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas
Forty-six-year-old Eddie Hightower has a problem. He’s all alone. The only thing that saves him from facing that stark reality is the fact that he isn’t really alone at all. He has a house full of pets and a refuge full of stray unwanted animals he spends every waking hour trying to place in homes. While he loves what he does with all the joy in his heart, that same poor aging heart is still missing something. And Eddie knows exactly what it is. Romance.
But wait. Cue the music. Suddenly, beyond all hope, it happens. In the small desert town of Spangle, California, where Eddie lives, comes a sad young stranger with piercing gray eyes. They are the palest, most stunningly beautiful eyes Eddie has ever seen. Poor Eddie Hightower is swallowed up in their silver depths and disappears without a gurgle. The stranger’s name is Gray Grissom. Gray, like his eyes. Without hesitation Eddie opens his doors—and his heart—to the lost young man. After all, that’s what Eddie does. He finds homes for strays. But this is one stray Eddie intends to keep for himself.
4✨s – So this is my first book from John Inman and I really enjoyed it. There are few characters other than our MC’s and it takes place in a town out in the sticks and then at an animal refuge outside of that town in the desert. We follow the story of Eddie, a man in his late forties who lives at, and runs, an animal refuge/rescue. He takes in sick and abandoned animals, ranging from dogs and cats to snakes. His aunt’s inheritance has allowed him to do work he loves and he just about keeps the charity above water. Recently, he’s been feeling loneliness more keenly but can’t see any changes to his future. Until he comes across Grey working in the local hardware store. He’s beautiful, shy but so mesmerising to Eddie that he wants to know everything about the man. With Grey preferring to keep to himself, it’s hard going trying to create a friendship let alone a relationship but Eddie has nothing but time as he cares for all of his animals. This, for me, was a slow burn, low angst romance with a may/december theme and it was a good story to read. I enjoyed Eddie’s character and the interactions he had with the animals at his home. Each one of those came with their own personalities and gave a lot to the fun and family feel of the story. It’s Eddie’s POV that we follow throughout the book and he has an interesting way of thinking things over as he goes about his day. His inner monologue goes along just as mine would if I were thinking out loud. I like that with a character and it’s easy to follow what they’re thinking and saying. The attraction he feels towards Grey is obvious from the start but I was glad when he left Grey to himself when it was clear the other man wanted to be left alone. There’s a fair amount of back and forth between the two men before bad weather and a puppy intervene. With Grey’s history, his reluctance is understandable and seeing the two men grow closer makes for a heartwarming read, especially in the setting that it’s in. I liked the journey that the two went on and how things ended for them both. John’s writing style is great for this story, pulling you along on amazing descriptions of the locations that everything takes place as well as the extremes in weather they have, going from drought inducing heat to severe thunderstorms. The animals all bring their own little bit to Eddie’s home and this story, especially little Louie! The other few characters that we meet in the book are a hoot with the old couple that run the hardware store giving us a few chuckles. I’d recommend reading this story, for those new to John and his fans, I think it’s a heartwarming romance that also makes you want to go out and adopt an animal!
About John Inman:
John Inman is a Lambda Literary Award finalist and the author of over thirty novels, everything from outrageous comedies to tales of ghosts and monsters and heart stopping romances. John Inman has been writing fiction since he was old enough to hold a pencil. He and his partner live in beautiful San Diego, California. Together, they share a passion for theater, books, hiking and biking along the trails and canyons of San Diego or, if the mood strikes, simply kicking back with a beer and a movie.
John’s advice for anyone who wishes to be a writer? “Set time aside to write every day and do it. Don’t be afraid to share what you’ve written. Feedback is important. When a rejection slip comes in, just tear it up and try again. Keep mailing stuff out. Keep writing and rewriting and then rewrite one more time. Every minute of the struggle is worth it in the end, so don’t give up. Ever. Remember that publishers are a lot like lovers. Sometimes you have to look a long time to find the one that’s right for you.”
Where to find John Inman: