"Perfect Day," by Sally Malcolm
Contemporary Gay (M/M) Romance
Love doesn’t burn out just because the timing’s wrong. It grows. It never leaves.
When Joshua Newton, prodigal son of one of New Milton’s elite, fell in love with ambitious young actor Finn Callaghan, his world finally made sense. With every stolen moment, soft touch and breathless kiss, they fell deeper in love.
Finn was his future…until he wasn’t.
Love stays. Even when you don’t want it to, even when you try to deny it, it stays.
Eight years later, Finn has returned to the seaside town where it all began. He’s on the brink of stardom, a far cry from the poor mechanic who spent one gorgeous summer falling in love on the beach.
The last thing he wants is a second chance with the man who broke his heart. Finn has spent a long time forgetting Joshua Newton—he certainly doesn’t plan to forgive him.
Love grows. It never leaves.
Well, this week’s read was a downright pleasure, folks. It wasn’t what I was expecting going in, yet I came out the other side thoroughly sated and filled with all the happiest of little sighs. Perfect Day by Sally Malcolm is a gender-bending retell of the classic Persuasion by Jane Austen. And, oh my heart, what a sweet and wonderful twist on that tale it was.
It didn’t march side-by-side with the plot of Persuasion, but it held true in all the areas that mattered most. Really, though, it’s those places Ms. Malcolm strayed to make the story her own that make it shine as brightly as it does. Because, yes, the skeleton of the classic is there, holding strong and true, but the heart of the story—and indeed, the characters themselves—feel fresh and uniquely reimagined.
I absolutely adored Joshua and Finn, our heroic and loveable leads. They each had a distinctive voice within the narrative, and they were rife with flaws and realistic thoughts and reactions that made them delightfully genuine. My eyeballs get tired from all the rolling when the main characters are the epitome of perfection. I cannot stand when every head turns and drool puddles on the floor anytime one of the MCs is in the room, or when an MC embodies godlike flawlessness. That’s not an authentic representation of any true human being, so it makes it pretty flippin’ hard to relate to the characters. It puts them at a distance no reader can cross and winds up with an unsatisfactory and near-impossible connection.
But Ms. Malcolm and her leading men? They did not fall prey to this faux pas. Nope, not one bit. Both Joshua and Finn were down-to-earth, faithful representations of real human beings, complete with faults, flaws, and beautiful imperfections.
Then again, they were also quite stupendous in their level of awesome. Just not, ya know, unrealistically so. I fell head-over-heels for them both because they were such magnificent, compassionate, and brilliant men, rich in character and full of heart.
My experience thus far with Carina Press has tended toward the high-heat level as far as sexy time depictions go, so I went into this expecting a similar encounter. However, this very nearly faded to black, with just the hint of a carnal undertone overlaid by eloquently written scenes. Did it leave me disappointed? Surprisingly, no. I’m a fan of the high-heat, but when done properly, can absolutely appreciate the softer side of romance. In this instance, Ms. Malcolm did a beautiful job of giving just enough to allow the reader to picture the scene she laid out, then run with it to their heart’s content.
Overall, this was a lovely and thoroughly enjoyable read. I would recommend it to any Jane Austen aficionados out there, and certainly to any m/m romance fans. The love between these two men is genuine, delightful, and a downright pleasure to experience. This isn’t a story any gay romance enthusiast should miss.
So, what are you waiting for? Perfect Day is available for pre-order or can be purchased for immediate enjoyment on or after its release date, August 13th, 2018!
Until next time,