Book Reviews

Fool of Main Beach (Love in Laguna 5) by Tara Lain at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Artists/Actors/Musicians/Authors / Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 21-August-2017

Book Blurb

Merle Justice wants to reach for the stars, but it’s tough to get respect when playing a teenybopper vampire on TV. Then he meets a famous director anxious to give him all he thinks he wants—and maybe a bit more. Everything’s looking up until a life-threatening encounter with some homophobes on Main Beach puts Merle face-to-face with a Sasquatch-sized hero in a pink puffer coat.


Tom Henry defies description. As unsophisticated and simple as an angel, he walks through life content with who he is and asking for very little except to care for his sister, Lily, and the dogs he loves. Then he meets Merle, the embodiment of dreams he barely knows he has. Merle knows the people who hold his future in their hands might love Tom—but they’ll never understand Merle and Tom together. Tom knows it too. With lives this far apart, who’s really the fool of Main Beach?


Book Review

“Most good actors have a huge intelligence about the human condition and a real open heart to different kinds of people and behavior.” ~ Tim Robbins

For as long as he can remember, Merle Justice, of 'Fool of Main Beach' by Tara Lain, has wanted to be an actor, much to the dismay of his “intellectual” parents. Merle loves being able to express himself through different personalities, bringing the most he can to all of his characters. What he doesn't like is all the glitz, glamor, and guile associated with his profession. Until he meets Tom, he doesn't know that what he really needs is a “Fool”, someone who sees what most people can't.

Merle enjoys being an actor but is weary of the fake atmosphere in Hollywood. Visits with friends, like Ru and his husband, Gray, in Laguna Beach keep him sane. Merle enjoys his visits so much that he decides to have a custom house built nearby. During an after-awards party, Merle gets overwhelmed by having to be “on” all the time; he slips out for a walk on the beach. What he thinks will be a quiet moment ends up in a fight for his life; he is attacked by four men, determined to beat up the “fag”. Fortunately, Merle is rescued by a giant knight in a pink puffer, Tom, who wins Merle's everlasting gratitude. Even though Merle has seen his tough side, he also recognizes Tom's kindness and straightforwardness. Wistfully, they part, with Merle thinking that he may never see Tom again.

The next day, Merle goes to check out the construction on his new house and, low and behold, who is working there but his savior, Tom! Tom is delighted to discover that he's working on Merle's house and proudly shows him around. Although he's physically attracted to Tom, Merle realizes that Tom is unique and would never take advantage of his good nature. Tom surprises Merle when he comes on to him; Merle is not going turn him down. After the fantastic sex, Tom tells Merle that it was wonderful but that he doesn't expect anything to come of it. Merle doesn't know what to say. While on location for a new movie he's starring in, his feelings and appreciation for Tom continue to grow; he's reached the point of telling everyone who doesn't think they belong together to just deal with it. He can't wait to get back to Laguna to tell Tom how he feels, but what he doesn't know is that Tom has definitively decided it won't work. Tom doesn't want to hold Merle back and discontinues all communication between them.

It took me longer than usual to warm up to Tom, until I understood what Tara is so brilliantly trying to convey. She uses the word fool not in the way generally thought of, but as the wise fool or jester like in the book ‘The Emperor's New Clothes.' The jester, in that story, tells the emperor that the new clothes he thinks he's wearing are no clothes at all! Tom is constantly underestimated. He says things that most of wouldn't, without fear of recrimination. This is his special brand of wisdom. We should all be so “foolish”. Thanks again, Tara, for characters who break with traditional stereotypes, which makes them even more special.





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, print and audio
Length Novel, 274 pages/88792 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 21-August-2017
Price $6.99 ebook, $16.99 paperback, $16.99 bundle, $19.95 audiobook
Buy Link