Title: What’s In a Name?
Author: Pat Henshaw
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 90 Pages
At a Glance: This is an absolutely brilliant book
Reviewed By: Janet
Blurb: Barista Jimmy Patterson thinks it’s a good idea to get rip-roaring drunk on his birthday after he’s dumped by his boyfriend. When the burly owner of Stonewall’s Bar rescues Jimmy, the night starts to look up.
Now Jimmy just wants to know the bartender’s first name since he’s worn a different name tag every time Jimmy’s seen him. “Guy” Stone gives Jimmy seven guesses, one for each night he takes Jimmy out on a date.
While Jimmy’s trying to come up with his name, he’s distracted by the destruction of his coffee shop and what looks more and more like a hate crime.
Review: This is an absolutely brilliant book. I loved it. Pat Henshaw has written a very funny novella that gave me a taste of her style and left me wanting more. Unfortunately it is her debut novella with Dreamspinner Press, so there was no backlist for me to devour ( I would have!), but it is the first of a series, and the next novella is Redesigning Max, which contracted so should be out soon.
I was completely involved in this story at the end of the first page. I am not usually a fan of first person narrative, but Jimmy’s voice was simply hilarious. I could clearly see him sitting at the bar, a drunken twink feeling sorry for himself, and I just had to keep turning the pages for more. And it continued to be fresh and funny for the whole story. The running gag throughout the book about Big Guy’s name is a purely fun device for the author to have them date and get to know each other. The different names that Jimmy comes up with each day illustrate how well they are matched emotionally, while being so opposite in appearance. They are both smart, hardworking business men, able to appreciate each other for who they truly are. Their strengths of character are established clearly for the reader to see, and to allow us to remain invested in the story.
There is talent as well as skill needed to give a reader enough information about the location or setting of a novella so we are able to picture it and have a sense of the world that the characters inhabit. Pat Henshaw does this very well indeed. The descriptions of the original coffee shop in a mall compared to that of the second location, in the Old Town area on Main St, conveys a sense of the whole town and its attitudes succinctly.
This is such a fun story; I will re-read it often. The MCs are well developed, and I loved watching them fall in love. It was quick but it felt good, and I know that I will never be bored with the humor and empathy the story is told with. Well done, Pat Henshaw, on writing an original story with lots of room for more. I look forward to the next book in the series.
You can buy What’s in a Name? here: