Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sand & Water

Title: Sand & Water
Author: Shae Connor
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-61372-090-5
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx 

It’s been nearly five years since the death of John McConnell’s wife, giving birth to their daughter Bethy and single fatherhood is finally getting easier.  That doesn’t mean he isn’t haunted by his memories, but living on Georgia's Tybee Island and working from home has given him the flexibility he needs. John hasn’t felt like dating until he meets Bryan Simmons in the park with his young nephew Jeremy. Now John’s ready to move on with his life but the idea of putting his heart on the line again is scary. Then he discovers Bryan has some serious emotional baggage of his own to deal with. It’s going to take John’s love and support for Bryan to put his demons to rest so they can move their relationship forward. And one misstep on John’s part almost destroys everything. 

Sand & Water is the first book by Shae Connor that I’ve read. It’s an interesting and heartwarming story that begins by showing the relationship between John and his small daughter Bethy. The author does a great job portraying this exuberant and loving child and how her father dotes on her. It is fun watching them interact together and with various people on the island, some of which are more important to the story than others. 

That’s how Bryan enters the picture. He’s the uncle of Bethy’s friend, Jeremy and through the two children; he and John first become friends. That means their personal relationship begins slows…really slow. Ms. Connor’s made John and Bryan into two interesting guys, each with a unique background that gives them some pretty painful emotional baggage to deal with when their relationship turns personal. I loved the thoughtfulness of the slow moving storyline; I just wish the pace had been less plodding in places. It’s not that the guys waited weeks to kiss or have sex. It’s the detailed writing in each scene/chapter that makes it seem that way. Maybe less focus on others and more on John and Bryan would have been better.  For example, there is one dinner scene with John’s disapproving mother that seems thrown in. The mother doesn’t appear or isn’t mentioned again that I recall…so what’s the point? 

It’s a sweet story, sometimes too sweet, but John and Bryan make a nicely matched couple. The kids are adorable, the support of John and Bryan’s families is wonderful and since they attend church services, I appreciated the obviously well researched details of the Vicar and Bible. But some of the scenes I liked most are the ones in which Bryan visited the facility where his former lover lived. I won’t give too much away but let’s just say that these heart wrenching moments will make you tear up and are particularly well done.

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