Author: John Inman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 08/17/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance
A Belladonna Arms Novel
Barney Teegarden knows what it’s like to be alone. He knows what it’s like to have a romantic heart, yet no love in his life to unleash the romance on. With the help of a friend, he acquires a lease in a seedy apartment building perched high on a hill in downtown San Diego. The Belladonna Arms is not only filled with the quirkiest cast of characters imaginable, it is also famous for sprinkling love dust on even the loneliest of the lovelorn.
At the Arms, Barney finds friendship, acceptance, and an adopted family that lightens his lonely life. Hell, he even finds a cat. But still true love eludes him.
When his drag queen landlord, Arthur, takes it into his head to rescue a homeless former tenant, he enlists Barney’s help. It is Barney who shows this lost soul how to trust again—and in return Barney discovers love for the first time in his life.
It’s funny how even the hardest battles can be fought and won with laughter, hugs, friends, plus a little faith in the goodness of others. All it takes to begin the healing is the simple act of coming back.
Can I start off by telling you how excited I was to see this book FINALLY being published? OMG I was ecstatic!! And the blurb? How mysterious and exciting! I could not get my hands on this one fast enough. And can I just finish this paragraph by saying that Coming Back was everything I hoped for and so much more. It was so worth the wait!
I love the Belladonna Arms, its “love pollen,” and all its inhabitants. As the story so eloquently stated for me,
“The residents of the Belladonna Arms had proven once again they truly were the most forgiving of neighbors. Not only forgiving, but loyal, brave, generous, kind, weird, quirky, not entirely sane, and happy as clams to be of service to any and all who resided under that rusty neon sign perched high above their heads, even if it meant looking like idiots for weeks on end while their hair grew out to do it.”
And I love Arthur, the most fairy god mothering, matchmaking, lost soul rescuing, loving drag queen ever created. He is my idol.
This story was so funny while also being so emotional. There were so many lines in the story that were perfectly executed to make me laugh my ass off. Here are a few examples:
“He looked like Mr. Clean after a horrific skin peel rendered with a bucket of molecular acid and a wire brush. There was even a pretty good gouge above his left ear. It bleed more than three or four teaspoons full, so I don’t know why he got so upset over it. It would heal. Probably. And tetanus shots don’t hurt that much. Do they?”
“Thus began, according to Arthur, an orgy of butchery not seen since Vlad the Impaler started hosting block parties at his fixer-upper castle with the dungeon to die for back in Romania in the fifteenth century.”
I also laughed my ass off when Gizmo/Studly/Ralph/Wilbur turned out to be Wilhelmina and gave birth to 5 kittens while Ramon and Barney watched and desperately tried not to puke.
At the same time, the author gave me one very broken man who needed love like he needed water to live. I cried for Ramon. And as his story unfolded and his pain came to light, I continued to cry for him. But as he healed and he and Barney forged a perfect for them relationship, I stopped crying tears of sadness and started crying tears of joy. They were so perfect for each other. Both broken in their own way and finding love and acceptance in each other. I fell in love with Barney when he accepted a lifetime of bad haircuts just to make Ramon smile.
I found myself crying at the end when Pete and Sylvia gave Arthur the best gift ever. And I cried when Tom constantly reiterated how much he was thankful to be in love with Arthur. And I cried when Barney and Ramon told Arthur how grateful they were for him and how they loved him. Because I love Arthur and want to be like him when I grow up. I really do hope other readers love Arthur as much as I do because he is one of my all time favorite characters ever.
So now that I have rambled on and probably made no sense and forgotten most of what I wanted to tell you, I would just like to say that John Inman has given me another perfect novel. I loved the witty writing style, the fully realized characters, the emotional storyline, the vivid setting. I loved everything about it and I hope this is not the last we will see of the Belladonna Arms and its tenants. If the Belladonna Arms and its inhabitants were real, I would fight tooth and nail to live there forever.
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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