Sunday, May 14, 2017

Book Review: Wake Up Call by J.L. Merrow

South London mechanic Devan Thompson has gone to Porthkennack to track down someone he’s been waiting all his life to know. But Dev’s distracted from his quest by Kyle, a broodingly handsome local of only a few months, who’s already got a reputation as an alcoholic because of his strange behaviour—including a habit of collapsing in the street.

Kyle Anthony fled to Porthkennack to escape from the ruins of his life. Still raging against his diagnosis of narcolepsy—a condition that’s cost him his job as a barrister, his lover, and all chance of normality—the last thing he wants is another relationship that’s doomed to fail. But Dev’s easy-going acceptance and adaptability, not to mention his good looks, have Kyle breaking all his self-imposed rules.

When disaster strikes Dev’s adored little sister, Kyle steps up to the plate, and Dev sees a side of his lover he wasn’t prepared for: competent, professional—and way out of Dev’s league. With one man determined that they don’t have a future, and the other fearing it, life after Porthkennack is starting to look bleak for both of them.

Jewel's rating:

I've read a couple other stories by this author and liked them, so when this series popped up on my radar, I thought I would give it a shot. I generally love stories that are very British and Wake Up Call is very British. I loved the setting, in Cornwall, and I loved the very British speech, and I quite liked the main characters, as well. The overall story didn't work well, for me (more on that in a bit), but seems that most people are enjoying it so you may, too.

Dev Thompson is a mechanic who had been adopted, but grew up in foster care after his adoptive parents died. He's come to Porthkennack to find and talk to his birth-mother in an effort to find out out himself. Dev is a guy that makes friends, easily, and when he arrives in Porthkennack, he makes an unlikely friend with the hostile waitress of a coffee/pastry shop, named Ceri. Shortly after, he meets and befriends another newcomer to Porthkennack, Kyle Anthony.

Kyle came to Porthkennack to get away from everything. In Surry, he was a barrister with his whole life ahead of him. He had some money, a job he worked hard for, a boyfriend he loved... But then he was diagnosed with narcolepsy and he pushed everyone away and then ran away, himself. In Porthkennack, he keeps to himself and hasn't bothered getting to know anyone, so when he falls asleep at random times and in random places, people make assumptions that he is drunk.

While I liked Wake Up Call, I didn't really love it. I found the pacing too slow and way too much time was given to secondary characters and sub-plots that I really wanted to be dedicated to Dev and Kyle getting to know each other and developing their relationship. Particularly, it seemed that Ceri's whole purpose was to generate conflict and uncertainty, but she really wasn't needed for that and I felt her entire part of the story was superfluous. There was plenty of built in conflict and uncertainty, already, with Dev and Kyle because of their upbringing, education and social class differences, not to mention Kyle's medical issues and Dev's uncertainty where his birth-parents are concerned, so I felt like adding even more outside conflict just took away from what should have been the focus -- Dev and Kyle.

I think Wake Up Call showed a lot of promise and if the secondary plot lines would have been cut down a bit, I would have enjoyed the story more.


My review copy of Wake Up Call was generously provided by the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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