Hearsay (Bylaws #1) by Taylor V. Donovan ~ Book Review by Optimist ♰King’s Wench♰

hearsay Title: Hearsay (Bylaws #1)

Author: Taylor V. Donovan

Publisher: Self Published

Cover Artist: unknown

Rating: 3.0 of 5 Stars


Senior associate attorney Derrick Swain wants it all: a loving husband, a fulfilling career, and a couple of kids. After years of hard work he’s on the fast track to a promotion. He’s also met the man of his dreams. A week of daily lunch meetings in Central Park provides the perfect setting to get to know him better, and Derrick thinks it won’t be long before they take the next step and go on a date. But instead of asking him out, the object of his affection stops showing up without explanation, leaving him to wonder what went wrong.

As part owner of one of the most prestigious law firms in New York City, Roman Bradford knows that professional success isn’t the be all end all. Although he’s been lucky in life, true love has eluded him for the most part. One too many failed relationships have caused him to be leery of trying again, until he meets a man that can only be described as temptation personified. A few conversations is all it takes for Roman to start believing things will be different this time around. It doesn’t matter that they are boss and employee, or that he’s feeling too much, too fast. Not when he can see the same emotions in Derrick’s eyes. Then life turns on a dime, and Roman has no option but to let his chance at happiness go.

A battle of wills ensues when a life-altering case brings them together a year later. Roman wants to do the right thing by not letting anything happen between them, and Derrick is determined to prove they’re meant to be together. Evidence will be presented and final arguments will be made. Will they be able to come to an agreement, or will they opt to have their potential relationship dismissed?

My View:

I like this book and I also had issues with this book. My main problems were the agonizing pace, continuity errors, information dumps and oodles of dramatic antics. Hearsay is VERY romantic. It actually feels a lot like a bodice ripper and, truth be told, if one of these guys had wore a bodice I probably would’ve forgotten a couple of my issues. Alas, neither do. However, I do appreciate the message of this book and applaud Ms. Donovan for addressing a very serious issue with taste and respect. I did find it engaging at times, but the bottom line is, I’m a character person and I didn’t care for either of these two.


Derrick is very sweet. He loves Disney movies and rom coms. He believes in fairy tales and has cast Roman as his “knight in shining armor”. A couple times I actually thought he might swoon and Roman does give him a hanky at one point so… Very Austenesque. He wants to get married and have babies and he’s not shy about letting Roman know all of his plans about five whole seconds after they get together. He’s been mooning over him for years and they had a week of Central Park lunches together a year ago, but Roman pulled back for reasons.


Roman is a high powered criminal defense attorney and managing partner of Acosta, Bradford and Chadwick (ABC). He’s 44 and 12 years Derrick’s senior. He’s also Derrick’s boss though Derrick works family law at the firm. Roman has some sort of illness which motivated him to pull away from Derrick and is very hush hush. I completely understand what motivates Roman. What I don’t understand is how someone who’s dealt with murderers and mob bosses doesn’t have better control over his emotional outbursts. He barks and booms anytime Derrick gets within a six foot radius of him. I found this very odd not to mention unprofessional behavior.


The illness… Good Lord… I mean, I knew what it was at about the 5% mark. It wasn’t confirmed until about the 70% mark. Oy vey. 65% of JUST SPIT IT OUT ALREADY!!!!!! I know this is a hard conversation to have. I get it. I do. It was simply too much art imitating life for me.


The bodice ripping is romantic and struck me as M/F. The face cradling, rubbing each others’ backs, hands, etc., hugging and canoodling made me feel like I was in a rom com apart from the hand jobs and frottage. I like a good rom com. I wish there was some com in this, though. I think Tashana was supposed to be the comic relief, but I just wanted to choke her. Derrick and Roman’s relationship felt unrealistic and over the top, but feel good, kinda like a Disney movie. Like I said, I appreciate that Ms. Donovan fighting the good fight with regard to this illness and I appreciate the hell out of the message. I’m just not a fan of drama llamas and their antics.


In the interest of full disclosure, I cannot fathom how this is going to stretch into a trilogy. I don’t think it has the steam that the By Degrees series has, though I did notice some similarities. I fear Bylaws will be filled with more information dumps and legalese which I’m not too keen on. This case doesn’t interest me at all and I’m not sure I’m interested in reading two more books of Roman and Derrick working out the logistics of their relationship, though I’m certain they’ll have to overcome a least a couple more obstacles along the way.


If you like romance and don’t mind settling in for a three part series, Hearsay is for you.

Buy Links

Amazon US
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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