Sunday, August 12, 2018

ARC Review: Shoulder Season by Jackie North

Two young men from two different countries find a common language as they recover from broken hearts and broken bones. Can they rebuild their lives together?

Ben’s boyfriend has not only dumped him, he’s also cancelled their mutual travel plans. Since Ben has the time off and the money saved up, he decides to travel anyway, and based on a last-minute, very inexpensive red-eye airline fare, ends up in Reykjavik, Iceland.

He’s ill-prepared for the weather and knows nothing about the country, so he considers flying home the next day. Except his new neighbor, Solvin, a local Icelander who is currently on leave from work due to a car accident, shows up with a cane and shoulder sling and literally falls into Ben’s apartment. It’s the beginning of an adventure that might show Ben how good life can be… and that coming home sometimes means traveling halfway around the world.

Dani's rating:

My favorite MC in Shoulder Season was Iceland. I liked the descriptions of the setting, culture, and people.

Ben is the sole narrator of the story; he's an American who's come to Iceland during "shoulder season" (when it rains all the time) after being dumped by his abusive boyfriend.

Almost immediately, Ben meets Solvin, a true Icelandic god but an injured one. Solvin is still healing, and Ben helps him unload some groceries. Solvin volunteers to be Ben's tour guide. They go shopping for an authentic Icelandic sweater (the "discount" Ben receives was utterly heartwarming and my favorite part of the story) and visit the hot pools.

Sadly, Solvin's character wasn't particularly well developed. We know he's an architect but not much else.

Ben is a rather flat character as well; we learn nothing about his family or background. He talks about his ex-boyfriend incessantly, but Solvin seems to be the cure for all his maladies.

This is a quiet, relationship-driven story. The writing is languid, with more showing than telling.

I can't say I ever felt the spark between the men (the steam is nonexistent save for a fumbling, mutual handjob). The MCs certainly get along well, but they spend three days together before talking about forever, which was at least three months too soon. Cultural barriers are a real thing. I'm not saying you can't make it work, but it all moved very quickly.

The ending is rather abrupt: a HFN or tentative HEA if you're the optimistic sort. I had some serious doubts about these two.

Shoulder Season is slow and sleepy. It moves gently and ends with a whimper.

Get the book:

The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives.
~Roald Dahl

An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

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