Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Review Tuesday moved to Thursday: Terribly Tristan by Lisa Henry and Sarah Honey -- #MMRomance #RomCom #ReviewTuesday

Terribly Tristan cover

Terribly Tristan by Lisa Henry and Sarah Honey

Pride Publishing, 2022

Tristan Montague is gorgeous, and he knows it. He can bed pretty much any gay guy he wants. So why shouldn’t he? Sleek and self-satisfied as a cat, Tristan believes in enjoying life. He sees himself as a beautiful butterfly, flitting from one man to the next, too enchanted with the delicious variety available to consider repeat performances.

He starts to question his dedication to promiscuity, however, when he meets Leo Fisher, the new owner of the dilapidated terrace house he inhabits with his friends Harry and Jack. Serious, sensible and a bit shy, Leo has inherited the house as well as the Pleasure Palace sex shop from his elderly, flamboyantly gay great-uncle Jimmy. Leo is seriously hot as well as adorably awkward. In addition to an intense (and mutual) physical attraction, Tristan discovers he has all sorts of unaccustomed feelings for Leo. But Leo’s aggressively respectable, upwardly mobile family, who barely acknowledge their son is gay, will never accept a boyfriend as fabulously unconventional as Tristan.

Tristan took over the Bad Boyfriend business when Harry “retired” to be with Jack. It’s just a lark and a bit of ready cash, until he has to use his skills to show Leo’s parents that they can’t dictate their son’s life or stand in the way of his freedom.

Terribly Tristan is another rollicking installment in Lisa Henry’s and Sarah Honey’s delightful Bad Boyfriends, Inc. series. Like the previous books, it’s lively and funny, dramatic and heart-warming. The dialogue is sharp, the characters vividly drawn and the comic situations skillfully realized. I’m impressed at the authors’ ability to spin out this premise into yet another entertaining volume.

Possibly my favorite aspect of this novel was its depiction of the genuine, generous gay sub-culture to which Uncle Jimmy belonged and of which Leo becomes a part. Along with the outrageous drag queen Miss O’Jenny, Jimmy was a pioneer for gay rights, and throughout his life he devoted some of his apparently considerable income to supporting LGBTQ+ youth. The warmth of Jimmy’s friends forms a strong contrast to the rigid, judgmental homophobia of Leo’s family.

The climactic scene, in which Tristan and Leo join the Fisher parents at a charity/political dinner in a swank yacht club, is a tour de force of plot twists. Every page offers another reveal. It’s a bit unbelievable, but it’s so much fun that I was more than willing to go along for the ride.

(That’s all I will say. It would be a shame to spoil the surprises!)

Terribly Tristan is yet another unparalleled success, an intelligent, well-crafted MM romance that will leave you feeling good all over.

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