Book Reviews

Beneath the Surface by Kate Sherwood at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 31-August-2012

Book Blurb

When Peter Carr’s company sends him to Southwestern Ontario to sweet-talk the town into agreeing to a gravel quarry proposal, he welcomes the challenge. Technically he’s a lawyer, but really he’s a problemsolver. He just never expected the problem to be Caleb Sinclair, the passionate but introverted artisan carpenter who lives next to the proposed quarry site.

“Know your enemy.” That’s Caleb’s philosophy. And trying to turn fertile farmland into a gravel pit earns Peter the title of “enemy.” Caleb loves that land, and if he has to make peace with his homophobic neighbors to make war on Peter, so be it. Except knowing his enemy doesn’t turn out anything like he expected. Peter’s not the fairy-tale monster—he just might be the first step to happy ever after.


Book Review

A very modern and contemporary conflict is at the root of this story, and it makes for some very interesting reading. On the one hand you have the smooth-talking professional corporate man who is charged with making sure a quarry gets started in an otherwise peaceful, quiet village. On the other hand you have a local guy whose family has lived there for generations, and even if he isn’t exactly loved by his neighbors, not after he came out as gay a few years ago, he is rooted there and loves the land. Sit back and watch the sparks fly, right?


Caleb is attached to the land he lives on, cares for the environment, and values the house that he lives in. It was built by his great-great-grandfather, and there are some very touching scenes where he tells the story of his family and why he loves the place so much. He is an artist who works with wood, and that skill plays a major role in the fight later on. He is stubborn, but not immune to Peter's charms and I loved watching him struggle with figuring out what the right thing to do might be at each turn and twist of the plot.


Peter started out as 'just one of those corporate guys', good at his job, and totally uncaring about who he crossed to get it done. Everything is a game to him, at first, but he truly liked the opposition. It is also clear that he likes winning. His character grows an amazing amount as he gets more deeply involved with Caleb. The change is almost imperceptible at first, and the developments at each twist and turn, much like Caleb's story, are very well done and utterly believable.


As much as I expected this to be all abut the controversy, and in many ways it is, this isn't about two bull-headed machos fighting to be right. Their confrontations with each other and with their ways of life are much more subtle. And I was totally fascinated by that. If you like novels with characters who have real depth to them, who grow and change so slowly that you almost miss it if you blink, and if you like delving 'Beneath the Surface' of situations and people, you will probably like this book as much as I did.




DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 200 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 20-August-2012
Price $6.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback, $14.99 bundle
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