Contemporary · diverse characters · MM romance · own voices author · romance

REVIEW: The Hideaway Inn by Philip William Stover

The Official Description: Carina Adores is home to highly romantic contemporary love stories featuring beloved romance tropes, where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters.

No one in the charming river town of New Hope, Pennsylvania, needs to know that Vince Amato plans on flipping The Hideaway Inn to the highest bidder and returning to his luxury lifestyle in New York City. He needs to make his last remaining investment turn a profit…even if that means temporarily relocating to the quirky small town where he endured growing up. He’s spent years reinventing himself and won’t let his past dictate his future.

But on his way to New Hope, Vince gets stuck in the middle of nowhere and his past might be the only thing that can get him to his future. Specifically Tack O’Leary, the gorgeous, easygoing farm boy who broke his heart and who picks Vince up in his dilapidated truck.

Tack comes to the rescue not only with a ride but also by signing on to be the chef at The Hideaway for the summer. As Vince and Tack open their hearts to each other again, Vince learns that being true to himself doesn’t mean shutting down a second chance with Tack—it means starting over and letting love in.

In The Hideaway Inn, Philip William Stover begins the story of a diverse group of characters finding love without boundaries and across the Seasons of New Hope.

Just the facts: M/M romance, second chances, dealing with the past

This is the perfect love story to be set in a wonderfully diverse and vibrant small town! – Kinzie Things

My thoughts bit:  Vince has spent a lot of time recreating himself. He was bullied when he was a kid then let down by a person he thought was a close friend. He fled “New Hope” as soon as he could and became a strong man, physically and emotionally. At least, that’s what he thought before he headed back to flip an old, run-down Inn. Vince figures that he can get in and out of New Hope after a few months… unscathed by his old life and old connections.

When Vince returns to New Hope he immediately runs into the “friend” from his youth that broke his heart. Tack – sweet, funny, built and suddenly rescuing Vince from the side of the road. Things didn’t end well between them and Vince has tried to put all his feelings behind him, but seeing Tack is much more than he bargained for.

When Vince finally gets to the Hideaway Inn, things are much worse than he expected. He finds himself without a chef and quickly discovers his only option is … Tack. Tack has changed much more than Vince would have ever thought was possible. He’s been married, and divorced.. .and even has a 6-year-old named Jules who uses they/them pronouns and is marvelous.

Working together at first is difficult for Vince. He doesn’t want to be attracted to Tack, nor does he want to like him. But, as they spend more time together, Tack finally manages to work in time to apologize for how he treated Vince when they were younger. He admits to the things he did wrong, the things he has spent his adult life trying to change for other kids. He wears down Vince’s protective walls and they become close.

Of course, there are issues… Vince neglects to tell Tack about his ultimate plan to flip the inn and make a profit and possibly secure himself a new fancy job in the city. What if he has changed his mind? What if there’s a possibility of him learning to love life in New Hope…. Where he’s on the verge of creating an “us” with Tack and Jules? What if Tack finds out about the flipping plans before Vince has a chance to figure it all out?

This isn’t an unfamiliar plot for a gay romance, but it’s well written and I really liked the dynamic of Vince and Tack’s child. The way that Tack has tried to raise his child with an open mind and a loving environment is a great demonstration that he has changed. It shows that in some ways, it’s Vince who hasn’t been able to move past what happened in their youth.

This book touches briefly on bullying in Vince’s youth, but it’s not an angst-ridden story. Enjoy this one while you’re in isolation! All the writing about the outdoors and farms made me feel like I’d been on a refreshing trip!

Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) bullying in the past, friend not stepping in to prevent bullying in past, homophobia in past

Links: Goodreads // The Publisher

I received an ARC of The Hideaway Inn by Phliip William Stover from Harelequin – Carina Press via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

 

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