Today is Fiction Friday and I'm blogging about a series of books that I read recently.
Men of Smithfield by LB Gregg
Four books make up this series, all based around the fictional town of Smithfield. Totally unconnected in story arc--Tony is the only character who appears in all four--each book deals with a different couple, easily identifiable since their names are in the title (the revised versions published by Carina), and the path they take to get to a relationship. Those roads are rocky, believe me.
The books as a series have made it into my re-read folder, no mean feat I can tell you. However, I got to thinking the other day, if I could only read one which would it be? Which couple is my favourite?
That is possibly on par with asking a parent to pick their favourite child.
I know which is my least favourite. Couple, not child! That dubious honour goes to Seth & David. Not to say I didn’t enjoy their story, I did, the book is safely nestled in my re-read folder with the rest of the series. However something about both Seth and David made it difficult for me to connect with the characters straight away. The main problem had to be placed firmly at Seth’s feet. Closed off and almost impossible to warm to; intentionally or not, he treats David like crap for a fair portion of the book. Seth has ISSUES, but I don’t think they necessarily justify his behaviour.
However, at some point in the story my opinion must have changed because I found myself rooting for them to work things out. Yes, I still wanted to give Seth a swift kick up the arse on occasions but by the end I was adamant they were meant to be together.
There is another reason which might have sub-consciously dragged this one to the bottom of the list for me, and it’s purely a personal one. The book has kids in it. I see kids in m/m and big flashing warning lights go off in my head. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids—I used to be one. But the sort of kids that regularly pop up in m/m are normally pre-school, precocious and wise beyond their years and the men are often perfect parents. Believe me no-one is a perfect parent; whether you’ve got a dick or not, we all make a complete hash of it at some point. Thankfully, here the kids feel real, and Seth is an awful parent. No, he’s not but he thinks he is, constantly questioning whether he is doing the right thing. In the end I think that uncertainty was his saving grace for me.
Okay, I know the last sentence of that paragraph completely contradicts the first but then a good book is like that, turns your opinions on their head and makes you think. Anyway let’s get away from Seth and David before I dig myself into an even deeper hole.
So we’ve dealt with
my least favourite book the couple I had the most
issues with. But my original question was which couple were my favourite.
Let’s go to the very beginning because everyone knows sequels are inferior, right? Raiders of the Lost Ark. Awesome. IJ and the Last Crusade. Er…Sean Connery. OMG. Even better. Okay so that wasn’t the best film to pick as a comparison. Police Academy compared to Police Academy V. Better example? Right. Back to the books.
Mark & Tony. The first book. This has everything I need to be my favourite without a doubt. Friends to Lovers. Tony’s a cop, which feeds my uniform kink. And they are closest in age out of all the couples. Favourite, then. Er, no. There were too many occasions when I’d have gladly given David a slap, and one where Tony deserved one too.
I toyed with giving Adam and Holden the top spot, even though the age gap, at 16 years, is greater than I would normally enjoy. I loved how Adam appeared older than his years, yet had the occasional flash of youthful exuberance, how broken Holden was and how patiently Adam helped put him back together.
So in the end, having said choosing my favourite would be impossible, it appears I’ve not only found my favourite couple but my order of preference for the series.
4th Seth & David
3rd Mark & Tony
2nd Adam & Holden
Which means my favourite couple are Max & Finn.
Max & Finn. What can I say about Max & Finn?
Max is an ex-Marine. Hey, there’s that uniform kink thing again; although Max is long out of uniform, the attitude is still there. Strong, silent, hiding a tragic secret. The book starts with hot sex that quickly dissolves into awkwardness leading to an embarrassing and uneasy enforced non-relationship. So bloody good, almost enemies to lovers in its style.
Finn is a teacher. One of the cool teachers you love having as a teenager. The development of their relationship was perfect. The mystery is good, ramping up the action to something more serious than it first appeared.
Yes, Max and Finn are most definitely my favourites.
Reading this post I’m sure you might wonder why these books make it into my re-read file. I appear to have done nothing but pick up on character flaws.
Because they are bloody wonderful, that’s why. The flaws I’ve described aren’t with the books, they are purposely and intrinsically tied to the characters. It is why they act the way they do, the sole reasons why their stories follow the paths they take. Without those flaws these stories wouldn’t be half of what they are. They wouldn’t have grabbed me. Forced me to read one after the other. Without them they wouldn’t have made it into my re-read file at all.