Review - "The British Devil" by Greg Hogben
Funny, romantic and so very drily satisfying
Very Highly Recommended
Greg Stephens is happy with his life. He's still a young man, gets to visit exotic locations as part of his job as a flight crew attendant, and has great friends. He's got a veddy proper English accent, which lands him in as many guys' beds as he wants. So it's a bit of a surprise when, at the end of accompanying a flight of troops to the Middle East, he walks into a bar and sees a handsome blonde Navy man who hits all his hot buttons.
Danny Taylor is out with some fellow officers, having a drink, when he looks up and sees a good-looking man walk in. When the man works his way to Danny's table with his beautiful female companion, he just has to strike up a conversation with him. And while the packaging and accent and smile all float his boat, it's Greg's ridiculous sense of humor and good heart that prompt him to ask Greg out to dinner the next night.
So at the height of DADT (Don't Ask Don't Tell), Greg starts a circumspect and unlikely romance with the semi-closeted Navy man. Despite the fact that he's a British citizen, that he's in a different country every week, that he's very concerned about his widowed mother and not over the loss of his father, and that he's really not looking for something long-term, he flat-out falls in love with the strong, intelligent and sexy gentle man.
Oh. Then he meets Danny's mother. And...then other shoe drops.
Because the born-again, church-going, Steel Magnolia of a Texas mother takes a very distinct dislike to her son's boyfriend, and begins a well-choreographed campaign of quiet terrorism against him.
Will Greg maintain his famous British stiff upper lip and try to keep the peace between Danny and his mother, or will he give in to the overwhelming odds stacked against the couple?
This book is straight-up fantastic. Greg Hogben doesn't fool me for one minute - he snarks, gripes and all but bitch-slaps us with funny one-liners and droll humor, but what really shines through like the sun in this great big ol' Valentine of a book is his huge loving heart.
This is a romance, make no mistake. Pure and simple romance. Sure, there are parts where I had to put my Kindle down because I was laughing so hard, and other parts that choked me up. But this book made a direct connection with my heart, grabbing hold of it from the first encounter where Greg and Danny meet. The easy and predictable thing would have been to have them meet eyes across the crowded bar and sneak off for a quick romp, then falls instantly in love.
Mr. Hogben takes us on a long, scenic drive in the country instead, showing us all the little things that creep up on a man when we look up and find ourselves in love. He lets us see the small jokes, the intimate moments and silly phone calls, the in-jokes between two guys that make us giggle-snort but that nobody else gets. The million thoughts that run through our heads when we meet our guy's family and friends and have those WTH moments.
But most of all, he shows us the ups and down, the petty things we do when we are ticked off and regret, then the quiet regrets that always bring us back to the one we love. The everyday thing that add up to a month, a year, then five, seven.
Most remarkably, he shows us all this care, this love, without opening the bedroom door. Oh, there's no doubt these two men are wearing the mattress, sofa, and probably the kitchen counters out with hot times, but we don't need these...distractions. This is a LOVE story, not a sex story.
And damn, if that wasn't refreshing.
I loved this book. At a particularly hard time in my life, this came along like a soothing balm and made me remember how and why love matters.
I couldn't have asked for more.
Buy this book.