Book Reviews

Cricket by Anna Martin at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 26-July-2013

Book Blurb

New York native Henry Richardson needs a change. His boyfriend just dumped him, and his business has fallen victim to the economy. But is jumping on a plane after a surprise phone call taking things too far?

The promise of a new opportunity drags Henry away from the city to a tiny village in the English countryside and an enormous manor house his great-grandmother wants to bequeath him. As an experienced wedding planner, he sees the potential in renovating the dilapidated building and using it for events. All he needs is to find some local businesses to provide the essentials.

That’s how Henry meets Ryan Burgess, the shy but hardworking owner of an organic farm. The spark between them sizzles slowly while work on the house continues, but Ryan is deeply in the closet and unwilling to take the last step. They finally find something that clicks in cricket, something that Henry, a former amateur baseball player, is surprisingly good at. For him, cricket helps bridge the gap between England and New York—but unless Ryan can find something to span the divide between his sexuality and his fear, their relationship doesn’t stand a chance.


Book Review

This is an interesting book. It took me a while to get used to the slow pace, and I admit to wondering about it – until revelation hit me. This is cricket we're talking about. Of course a book that remains true to the game and what it means to the British people will be slow! Have you ever watched a game of cricket? One that goes on for days? Well, I have and I only managed half a day, but I did get the point of it. It is supposed to be slow, since, as a British friend explained to me, it is meant to be "enjoyed sitting in a lawn chair on a hot summer's afternoon, smelling the fresh-cut grass, and drinking iced cocktails".  As soon as I realized that, I slowed right down and enjoyed the leisurely stroll through Henry and Ryan's beautiful romance.

Henry is the American "transplant" who comes to Britain because his great-grandmother wants to bequeath her manor to him – but not without having met him first. Henry, whose life has fallen apart after his wedding planning business went bust and his boyfriend dumped him, is fascinated, interested, and just a little overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the project. But he is willing to give it a try, and when he starts meeting the locals, one Ryan Burgess in particular, he is beginning to see more than the house as interesting. Too bad Ryan isn't out…

Ryan may be shy around strangers, but once he gets to know Henry, he didn’t hesitate too long to become more intimately acquainted. He isn’t out, though, and scared about admitting he's gay. He is a farmer who lives in a small village, after all, and needs the local customers to buy his produce. But he's willing to show Henry around, introduce him to the British way of life (including playing cricket, of course), and soon becomes too involved and attached (in private) to imagine Henry leaving again once the project is done, his visa runs out and he has to return to the US. Ryan's transition, in line with the character of the story, is slow, but delightful to watch.

I suspect that many people will not "get" this book, and if you're looking for a fast-paced, action-packed, "typical" male/male romance, you won’t find it between these pages. But if you are curious about the British and such an important part of their culture and one of their national sports, if you're willing to set aside your preconceptions about what a male/male romance "should" be, and if you're looking for a read that is a beautiful romance as well as a mini-study in cross cultural relations, then you will probably enjoy it as much as I did.





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Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 280 pages/109932 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-July-2013
Price $6.99 ebook, $16.99 paperback, $16.99 bundle
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