Title: September (Pride and Joy: Book One)
Author: Robert Winter
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 290 Pages
At a Glance: The first third or so of this May/December romance was slow-going for me, but I’m glad I stuck through and got to join David and Brandon on their journey to a well-deserved HEA.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: 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.
Review: This story is pretty lengthy read and I’ll be honest in that during the first third or so of the book, I was wondering if it was going to be my kinda story; there were some steamy moments, and I did like David and Brandon as individuals, but something wasn’t really clicking for me, to be honest. I wish I could pinpoint what it was, but truthfully, I don’t know. That being said, I kept on and am sooooo glad I did.
The depth of the story between David and Brandon really started to pull me in, and I became engaged in their romance and hoping the two could move past the pride and insecurities they each had. And, let me tell you, they each had plenty of both. They let others cast doubts on what they had with each other; they let fear and pride get in the way of what they could be together. It was interesting to see how societal stereotypes and what seems like playful jokes really contributed negatively to both David and Brandon’s thinking and how they navigated the waters of their barely formed relationship. The way most of those in the LGBTQ+ community viewed their relationship, and the lack of support, really saddened me. Thankfully it was not all judgement and snide remarks; there was support by some wonderful friends (Yay, Joe & Terry!) who really just wanted the two to be happy.
Beyond the struggle to overcome their own insecurities and fear, outside events transpire to create additional obstacles they have to overcome. Ugh, my heart truly broke for them when tragedy struck. Interestingly, it was this thing that eventually led them to get their heads out of their backsides, but also created a whole new set of difficulties that neither one was prepared for or was sure how to deal with.
This story is not all angst; the first half or so, there are a lot of sweet moments and everyday dialogue that fleshes out the characters and adds depth to their situations and the reasons why they are so good together. And also why they behave the way they do. But the last half, I’ll admit, is pretty dang agnsty but done in a very realistic way. I can’t go into details because I don’t want to give what happens away. However, I will say, in my opinion, the way Brandon and David both felt and acted was completely understandable and came off as genuine. At times I wasn’t sure how it would play out, but am really happy how it all came together and the way the two (with a little unexpected help) were able to overcome and move forward together.
David and Brandon’s journey was not easy to read through, and though the first third or so of this May/December romance was slow-going, I’m glad I stuck through and got to join David and Brandon on their journey to a well-deserved HEA.
You can buy September here: