So first, a caveat: I’m pretty sure I suck at book reviews. No, no, don’t go yet, sports fans! Practice makes perfect, right? And even if I suck at writing, I generally pick pretty good books. I mean, just look at that cover (sometimes you CAN judge a book by one, you know)! As my facebook buddy Jillian said, “I want to bite the tush.” *sigh* Truer words were never spoken. But since drool and teeth marks will void the warranty on your Kindle, I suggest actually reading this book. And of course, everything in here is my own personal opinion and nobody else’s, so if you don’t like it, please dial my customer service. So. Moving on…
Okay – I just love Eric Arvin. Not in the creepy stalker way, mind you (I don’t have the time or energy for such shenanigans *hides binoculars*), but aside from the fact that he is cute as a button, he has what I see as a truly unique writing style. I find it to be an interesting mix of elegance and quirky humor, he manages to slide in between deep point of view and something more like omniscient without bugging me in the slightest, and doesn’t mind poking fun at himself. Granted, I’m not the most well-read person on the planet, but I haven’t yet encountered another author who seems to write the way he does, and I find that to be refreshing and enjoyable.
So Another Enchanted April is about three friends who are all sort of stuck in their own ruts. Jerry is secretly in love with Doug, Doug is not so secretly in love with himself, and Tony is stuck in the kind of deep depression that comes from chronic pain and a broken body. The three decide to take a vacation in a small town at a stately B&B with the world’s most impressive garden (complete with terraces, hunky caretaker, magical enchantment, and a massive walk-in shower for parties).
Arvin has a gift for rich scene description and it comes in handy here, because without it the stateliness of the gardens or the B&B wouldn’t be able to come to life for the reader. As the three men are drawn into the magic of the garden, interesting things begin to happen: Tony starts to get brave, and to believe that he might be worthy of love after all. Jerry grows a backbone, and manages to take off the rose-colored glasses through which he’s been seeing his buddy. Doug manages NOT to get laid for a change, which causes him to do some deep thinking about himself (although he clings tenaciously to his self-absorbed partying ways). The emotional journey of each character is very relateable (if that’s even a word).
The supporting cast is fabulous as well, from the cook at the B&B who all but gives Doug a beat-down for hitting on her son to the poor bodybuilder who (bless his heart) hasn’t gotten laid in years because he passes out when he gets excited. Oh, yeah, and about the sex: since I write the erotic stuff, you might be expecting this to be a book full of sweaty manlove, but there is actually a lot more sweetness in the characters’ intimate interactions. Don’t let that deter you, there is still plenty of sizzle and heat, and I think the book is actually all the more enjoyable because a little is left to the imagination.
The story ends in such a way that I think Arvin could easily work in a sequel if he so chose, and I really hope he does. Even if he doesn’t, there’s enough to give the reader closure and draw their own conclusions.
So. Try it. You’ll like it. And check out Eric’s blog, which has more beefcake per square inch than you can shake a stick at. 😉