This is a genuinely funny, loveable, entertaining book, which I didn’t want to end…
Author: JL Merrow
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Rating: 5.0 of 5 Stars
All the world’s a stage…but real-life lessons are hidden in the heart.
The Shamwell Tales, Book 2
Though Tristan must join his family’s New York firm at summer’s end—no more farting around on stage, as his father so bluntly puts it—he can’t resist when Shamwell’s local amateur dramatics society begs him to take a role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The bonus: giving private acting lessons to a local handyman who’s been curiously resistant to Tristan’s advances. Not only is Con delicious, there’s fifty pounds riding on Tristan getting him in his bed.
A late-diagnosed dyslexic, Con’s never dared to act, convinced he’d never be able to learn his lines. But with Tristan’s help, he takes the chance. Trouble is, the last time Con fell for a guy, he ended up getting his heart broken. And with Tristan due to leave the country soon, Con is determined not to start anything that’s bound to finish badly.
Just as Tristan thinks he’s finally won Con’s heart—and given his own in return—disaster strikes. And the curtain may have fallen forever on their chance for happiness.
Contains a surfeit of Bottoms and asses, together with enough mangled quotations to have the Bard of Avon gyrating in his grave.
I’ll say upfront I loved this novel. I laughed and smiled, recognised much loved quotes and smiled some more. I cheered for the heroes and booed the baddies – well one baddie really. A short synopsis and then some quotes…
Briefly, Tristan is a brilliant, but unknown, theatre actor. Brought up in a very wealthy privileged Jewish family, he attended Cambridge. He is cleaning out the house left to him by his recently departed ‘Nanny’, in the village of Shamwell.
Con is a dyslexic, handyman from Bedford, now living in Shamwell following the breakdown of a long-term relationship. They are brought together for the first time by ‘a plague of frog’ (I giggle as I typed this).
They both become involved in a production of Midsummer’s Night Dream being put on by Shamwell Amateur Dramatic Society (SADS)! Oh and Shakespeare lots of Shakespeare if only it was this entertaining at school, I wouldn’t have been in the adoring minority. There is so much I could say, but I won’t you must discover this gem for yourselves.
So quotes..as with all quotes regarding humour they really need to be read in context, but this one had me smiling for so long my face ached. Tristan gets out of bed and puts his foot on something unpleasant – ‘…half a mouse’. Trying to decide where it had come from he thinks-
‘Had he offended any small-time mobsters perhaps? Not able to stretch to a racehorses head, they’d left him instead a mouse’s arse?’
This incident leads to him contacting Con again, and the ensuing conversation had me crying with laughter. There are so many parts of this novel I could quote. Jamie Merrow’s humour comes from very astute observation of the human animal this also means all her characters have substance and personalities. I can ‘see’ her characters in my mind’s eye, and I’ve realised all those authors I really love and admire can do this. They make me see the characters by letting me get to know them, as people not descriptions.
Don’t dare think of this as just light, fluffy fun for while that exists here in lashings there are reminders of the dark that lurks in any village community and lines of sweet poignancy.
Tristan, the actor taken aback that,
‘…His face felt funny, as if stretched into a besotted, lovesick smile, which on closer inspection in the bathroom mirror revealed, was, in fact, the case. It was a touch unnerving, to find his face doing things like that without consulting him first…
I always think it sounds a little arrogant for a reviewer to say this, but…I think JL Merrow’s novels, always wonderful, just keep getting better and better. I recommend this book to – Everyone!
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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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