Author: Brandon Witt
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Rating: 4.0 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 07/11/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Romance
Randall Morgan, youngest son of one of Seattle’s wealthiest families, rejected his family’s money to live free of their control and pursue his career as a photographer. To make ends meet, Randall does erotic photography and massage—a secret he keeps from his family so he can remain a part of his young niece’s life. But the price of that relationship is high, and Randall is once more slipping under his family’s thumb.
Noah Carroll is the spokesperson for the Seattle Humane Society, and the city holds a special place in his heart. When fate intervenes during a pet adoption, Noah finds himself face-to-face with his first love—Randall.
While Noah and Randall are not the teenagers they once were, the flame of a first kiss long ago draws them together. Their romance is beginning to grow, but someone is out to destroy Randall and expose all he keeps hidden.
When secrets and rumors thrust Randall into the public eye, his relationship with Noah isn’t the only thing that comes under threat.
Son of Money is a new m/m romance by Brandon Witt that doesn’t read like a typical, cookie-cutter gay love story. This novel is filled with family drama (picture a Mercer Island “Dynasty”) and a main character that is, at times, not high on the likability meter. No, not typical, and I like that.
Randall’s high-society family, with its expectations and ambitions, creates a tension that sometimes feels over the top but is certainly intriguing and makes for a compelling plot. The antics and machinations of these manipulative parents create conflict that sometimes requires the suspension of belief, and yet the scenes are well written, allowing the reader an intimate view of the life Randall chose to abandon. It is clear from the beginning why he decided to eschew his family’s money for freedom, but as the story continues, he is slowly sucked into the vortex once again. The conflict spirals, and even though there is predictability in the “whodunit” aspect of the climax, the resolution and ending are satisfying and well done.
Randall, who tells his tale in the first person, is quite flawed, perhaps even a bit unlikable at times. A self-proclaimed whore, he is nonetheless his own man and adores his niece and dog. He is talented and gains a great deal of pleasure from his photography business, and there are wonderfully detailed scenes here that capture Randall’s passion and vision. He is not your typical romance protagonist, but his emotions, from his frustration and anguish to his deep love for those he cares about, are palpable and honest. He does a bit too much crying for my taste, but otherwise, he is a fascinating personality and quite unlike many characters that populate romance novels.
Then there’s Noah. He is Randall’s opposite in so many ways, yet at times struggles mightily with his own family frustration and weighty baggage. He is a sweetheart, the calm in the eye of the storm, and the perfect anchor for the chaos that surrounds Randall’s life. Here Mr. Witt has penned a character with charm, integrity, and compassion, and as difficult as it is to like Randall at times, it is impossible for me not to adore Noah. He creates a necessary balance here and gives Randall opportunities to stop, think, and grow amidst all the negativity that surrounds him.
The real stars here, however, are Seattle and Mercer Island. Mr. Witt gifts the reader with beautiful word pictures that bring these unique locales to life. Through vivid descriptions that capture a vast scope ranging from urban tourist spots to the tranquility of an isolated wooden dock, the reader is transported and treated to the majesty, quirkiness, and mystique of the Pacific Northwest. Additionally, I must mention Harper, Randall’s darling little dog with “dental issues.” She is simply adorable, and Randall’s love for her melted my heart and helped round out his character.
The romantic element between the two MCs in this story is bright and enjoyable to witness, and the growth and changes they go through together are gratifying. Their history is sweet and realistic, and though they re-connect quickly, I like how they work out issues together and support one another in the midst of all the turmoil.
Full of gorgeous detail and boasting a cast of characters ranging from hideously scheming to delightful and endearing, Brandon Witt has penned an engaging read that steps outside the boat and adds a very different type of main character and tone to his repertoire. As always, I look forward to reading more of his work as he continues to share his talent with his readers.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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