Monday, January 11, 2016

ARC Review: Coming Back (Belladonna Arms #3) by John Inman

Coming Back (Belladonna Arms #3)Blurb:

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.

My rating:

This was my favorite Belladonna Arms book so far. John Inman just keeps getting better and better, and this was such a pleasure to read.

First we meet Barney, who's moving in to the Belladonna Arms, and feels immediately welcome. While he's a bit of a loner, and doesn't quite think that they're someone out there for him, the love dust of this apartment building gets sprinkled on Barney just the same.

Arthur, the landlord who likes to dress in drag, and who has a heart of gold, features prominently in this book, as he draws Barney into his quest to rescue a former tenant, who is now homeless. If you've read the first two books, you can probably figure out who it is.

There's also a subplot with Sylvia and Pete and the super sekrit secret, which wasn't hard to discern, but I don't think John Inman meant for it to be secret to his readers. It's fabulous, though, and I was super happy for them.

Anyway, Arthur and Barney succeed where Arthur alone did not, and Ramon moves back into the Belladonna Arms, ashamed, and broken, and in so much pain. He refuses to see any of his former friends living in the building, instead hiding in his bed.

Of course, the troops rally anyway, and Barney has some help figuring out what's happened with Ramon, and with a secret door in a closet, he manages to draw Ramon back into the light.

It's ever clear, throughout the book, that the people living in this building all care for each other, that they are one big family, and that they will jump in without delay to help someone in need. It makes this cast of characters so wonderful to read, to the point where I wouldn't mind living in this building myself, just to be surrounded by people who care.

I adore this series, and I do hope that John has more books planned, because I'm not quite ready to be done. Until then, I'll just re-read these again and again, because, despite the drama, and the angst, and the heartache they contain, they leave you feeling happy and hopeful and smiling, and oh so satisfied.

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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