Red+Blue (Opposites Attract) A.B. Gayle
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
NB: ARC supplied via Goodreads and author
It’s no secret that I love a good romance whether hetero or gay. Good being the key, not one of those very simple, sweet, sickly A meets B, they fall in love and live happily ever after. I do need the HEA part, but I need the journey to be rocky and problematic, if it makes me tearful then its a job done romance….
Ms Gayle is an author new to me, but she’s going to be one whose work I’ll certainly look out for in future. She delivered all my needs in this book, and more. I had emotion, angst, love and sensuality all wrapped up in an excellent story. I like the idea of two people from opposite backgrounds coming together too, and it worked really well here. You’d think they have nothing in common, that their interests would be so divergent they’d have trouble communicating, and yet the way the author gets them into situations where they’re together they mange to d find common ground. Then there’s the rich boss, student employee conundrum. I’d have guessed at Adrian being more dominant, and yet we see Ben in situations where he’s confident taking the lead, and showing just what a strong personality he has.
I loved Ben, we meet him first, and he’s left his backwoods family and business behind to move to the city and his actuarial career, in a family owned Agency. One of the reasons he chose this firm was because of their open policy for minorities that can’t always get insurance elsewhere including gays. Ben’s lovely, very honest, open, no back biting or malice in him, he’s one of those people who try to get along with everyone simply because that’s his nature. He’s out, loud and proud, but after his first fun foray into the citys gay areas, he really wants something more than the no-strings, casual, friends with benefits relationship he has with Jason. Its his boss Adrian that really attracts him, but he’s the subject of dreams only as Ben assumes he’s straight.
Turns out Adrian isn’t though, and yes, he has the hots for Ben, but he’s deeply in the closet. Really, really deep. Like so many families his father thinks its something he can put aside – calls it a “gay tendency”, and makes it a condition that Adrian leaves all that behind now he’s working for and is CEO of the family firm.
Its a terrific story, packed with so many problems that must happen in real life. Jason’s family who know he’s gay, but are wealthy enough to ignore it, and just hope he keeps reasonably on the rails. Ben’s family who know he’s Gay, and are a close knit group and worry about him. Ben’s father died and his four older brothers have always acted in his stead, so as Ben says its like having four dads….and they all want what’s best for little bro, for him to be happy and woe betide anyone who threatens that. Then there’s poor Adrian, in a position so many people must find themselves, with a nature that’s one way, and a family pressing for the opposite. Without alienating them and causing huge repercussions for the firm he’s trapped. Why is it that in a so called “free” society homosexuality still causes such a stir in the press, with all those snide slurs and suggestions? Its almost like the Victorian attitude I think – the “do anything but don’t get caught” attitude. Sad isn’t it when a persons happiness is less important than a families public standing 😦
I loved the way Ms Gayle weaves all these problems into a story that had me engrossed to the last page, the little day to day incidences, the things that got me thinking “ but that’s unfair “ while knowing that’s still the way it is in real life.
The characters were great too – we see things from Ben’s POV and then from Adrian’s, and that works really well as we can see that what one thinks about the other isn’t necessarily true. I loved the way they were so different people and yet found common ground, and felt so much for Ben with his “lets just do it, it’ll work out somehow” philosophy against Adrian’s think it through, look at all the repercussions and see what’s right for everyone else and not himself caution. That makes it sound like Ben was selfish – he’s not, its just that he’s prepared to stand up for what he believes, but having had family support its easier for him, whereas Adrian has been told all his life that he can’t be open about his feelings, and that marriage and family is his duty to his father.
Its so emotional in parts, had me on the edge of tears, and just so happy when things go right, its a perfect balance of love and good story. There is sex in the book, but not too much, much more just sensuality through touches, glances, brushes against each other – that sort of stuff. So often books just wade into all-out, in-your-face, graphic sex and think that’s enough – I wish there were more like this one which has a great, solid storyline, with sex and love as part of it, and not dominating it.
Stars: well, after all that how could it be less than five 🙂