Honeymoon Cottage by Matt Brooks
Blurb: It’s 1962, and Dale Parker has been on his own for two years, ever since his small-town family disowned him on the suspicion of homosexuality. He works as a waiter in a Southern California coastal restaurant, but his life is going nowhere fast: he has no real education and has never had a real relationship. So when he finds himself falling in love with Rey Durán, one of his customers, he knows he’s in over his head.
Rey is nearly twice Dale’s age and a descendant of one of the original Spanish land grant families in California. He’s had plenty of disappointments in love, and that’s what he’s come to expect. He loves Dale, but Dale is a young, poor, uneducated Anglo—how can their differences be anything but insurmountable?
Determined to overcome the obstacles and prove himself to Rey, Dale sets out to finish his education and settle down. He wins over Rey’s family, starts learning Spanish, and adopts a culture vastly different from his own. But as Dale matures, Rey becomes less sure of his own commitment—which could lead to the heartbreak he’s been expecting all along.
Review: This was a different kind of book, set in the 1960’s in a slightly different universe. There was still prejudice against homosexuals but it was very mild and had almost no effect on the characters. It was a little disconcerting until I made the mental adjustment to this having a fantasy element. Once I did that I was able to enjoy it. It’s slow paced and mostly deals with their everyday lives and their development as a couple. Told primarily from Dale’s perspective it occasionally switches to Rey’s and even, a few times, secondary characters’ as well. The author did this smoothly and kept it with Dale as the strongest voice only switching when there needed to add more clarity or allow you to see behind the scenes.
I enjoyed the men in this story. They were a sweet couple with a reasonable amount of angst to overcome; that was very logical and realistic. Dale is young, barely 18 when the story starts and so very alone when he first meets Rey. Having been on his own for a while and unable to finish high school before he left home, Dale’s options were limited. I liked his drive to go back to school and make a better life for himself. Dale’s very mature and hard working. He knows how to plan for the future but live in the moment and enjoy the blessings in his life. He’s a mixture of savvy and naive without being jaded that is very enjoyable. He’s been hurt and mistreated but not truly damaged.
Rey is sweet with Dale. It would be hard in many ways to be so much older than your lover. It would take a strong and confident man to maintain such a relationship as the years passed.
Family plays a huge part in this story. Rey’s large family provided a lot of sweet moments and were important in our couple’s daily life. I enjoyed the relationships that developed between Dale and Rey’s family. He needed that love and acceptance so much.
In many ways it was unrealistic and the characters simple and too perfect but in a charming way that left you feeling like it was an escape to a happy and safe place where these men lived in a bubble. This is a book about a simpler time and it read that way. A sweet and easy read that will leave you feeling content and happy for these gentle men.
Reviewed by: Nina