Author: Michael Rupured
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 220 Pages
At a Glance: A strong and diverse character driven story that pulled me in and kept me rooting for all the protagonists to get their happily-ever-afters.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: Tellumo Magnamater is a fresh-out-of-college, first-year English teacher at Salt Lick County High School in Kentucky. He rides the bus to and from work, and every day he walks to the gym behind his small efficiency apartment to exercise. Perhaps because of being raised by two lesbians, Tellumo is attracted to older men. He sets his sights on fifty-something available bachelor Oliver Crumbly. But Tellumo isn’t the only resident interested in Oliver.
Peggy Tucker, a widow approaching her sixtieth birthday, is determined to marry again, and she thinks Oliver is her perfect match. Despite Tellumo and Peggy striking up a friendship at the gym, neither realizes they are interested in the same man. But the joke might be on both of them. Oliver, a retired history teacher, is the original crotchety old man who hates everything and everybody—especially young people.
Review: Tellumo is a young gay man just starting out his teaching career at a high school in Kentucky, not far from Cincinnati where he had grown up raised by his two moms. His best friend is also a teacher, but she’s stayed near their Cincinnati home and visits him sporadically. After the first semester is over, he is feeling more settled and less pressured and is happy to have some visitors, finally.
He’s made the decision to not get a car until he’s more financially stable, and he definitely makes do with what he has and isn’t too unhappy about that. He enjoys his job, his apartment and his time at the local gym that is close to his house. There, he sees Oliver Crumbly, a retired teacher, and Peggy Tucker, a widow who would really like to be remarried.
Peggy is a hoot—she is clearly quite clueless about a lot of things. She reminds me of a lot of those people who kind of just float through life without a real plan. But she does have her job at the DMV and her little side business of inspirational linens (I truly did not know this was a thing). She definitely likes Tellumo, and he is very sweet helping her out with things that she can’t quite figure out, especially with technology.
Oliver is the original crabby old man. He finds everything and everyone pretty much annoying. Whether it’s the way people drive, shop, mow their lawns, work out at the gym, there is always something that is pissing him off. He’s got a permanent scowl! When he has a problem at the gym, and Tellumo comes to his rescue, he decides MAYBE the kid isn’t so terrible—but the jury is definitely still out.
The way the story of these three people intertwines is very entertaining. There are a lot of things going on that the others are unaware of, and there are misunderstandings and assumptions galore, some of which are hilarious! Peggy’s trips to the hair salon are worth their weight in gold. Her assumptions and plans for Tellumo and his BFF, Melody, again are so amusing. The poor lady just really hasn’t moved into the 21st century.
There are also, however, some sad moments for everyone too. Poor Peggy’s life doesn’t seem to go well, especially with her wish to be married again. She’s lonely and really wishes her life were different. Oliver gets some terrible news and he’s completely devastated. Tellumo is kind of the breath of fresh air both of these people need in their lives.
There are too many good moments in this story to share, and I don’t want to spoil the fun. They need to be discovered in due time by reading the book. I loved the whole small town feel, and I enjoyed the various viewpoints of the narrators. Finally, there are some really great secondary characters and some wonderful revelations and character growth that had me rooting for everyone in this story to get their HEA.
I so enjoyed this book! It’s very unusual in that it is told from the three main characters’ alternating POVs. However, there is never any question of who is telling the story at any time, so it works well. These characters could not be any more different, and I think without being in their headspace, the story wouldn’t have been as strong. There are so many great characters in this book aside from the main three stories that it really adds depth and layers to the stories of Peggy, Oliver and Tellumo. I think this would make a hilarious RomCom—I’m just trying to decide on the casting. 🙂
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