Review - "Country Mouse" by Amy Lane and Aleksandr Voinov
Wonderfully sexy and touching collaboration
Very Highly Recommended
Owen’s in England with his ex-girlfriend who’s also in a relationship of sorts with his ex-boyfriend, but she’s hooking up with another guy there too. Very complicated for such an average country mouse, he thinks. But, he tags along for the free ride so he can explore Europe for free. After all, he’s just finished college and is unattached. Why not?
His first night in, he’s exploring the area while his ex had a rendezvous, stops in for a beer, and sees a handsome, well-dressed guy in what’s essentially a London dive.
Malcolm is waiting for a hook-up of his own, but it looks like he may be stood up. Then he spots the handsome young Yank (it’s pretty obvious – he’s in a jeans and a college hoodie after all) in the pub. Warning him off the local beer, he instead orders the young man a shot of nice quality vodka.
It’s Friday and the two of them begin a dance of seduction. Malcolm wants to dominate Owen. But Owen, he’s done this before and knows the game. Shrugs off all the moves and attitude and gets to the man underneath.
So begins a weekend that will change both men’s lives.
When I first saw this collaboration, I was excited. Amy Lane and Aleksandr Voinov? Two of my favorite authors in the M/M genre, but I had absolutely no idea where this may go. Amy’s strength is her foundation in family and romance, and Aleks is gritty and not afraid of anything. They would balance each other and meet somewhere in the middle or totally implode.
And what they produced is this beautiful and lovely character-driven minor masterpiece about connection, expectations and the power of letting the masks fall off. The chemistry is instant, the love palpable, and the entire work sings with passion.
This is one of those rare pieces where the sex, while fundamental to the storyline, reveals so much of the psyches of the two men that would otherwise have taken pages and days to get to. There’s a loss of control and dropping of false faces that drives these two men’s spark, and the connection they form – exquisite.
Owen is young but no stranger to love. He’s all about forgiveness and finding a partner of the heart. While at first Malcolm belittles and questions it as naïve, Owen’s ability to get to the heart of the matter and see through to the essential goodness of people allows him to see this man as the incredible human he’s capable of being.
And Malcolm. So very complex on the outside, but only because he’s allowed himself to be wrapped in other’s expectations of him till he’s put on so many masks, he doesn’t recognize himself anymore. But he allows this young big-hearted Yank in and allows him to see the real man, the wonder that is Malcolm.
This is a fantastic work, and so very, very satisfying. I genuinely adore both writers, and to produce something like this – it just makes my heart beat a little faster and gives me hope. That’s the point of romance, no? Hope, love, and grace?
Just a fine, fine book.