Title: Aqua Follies
Author: Liv Rancourt
Publisher: Liv Rancourt
Release Date: June 15th 2017
Genre(s): Historical MM Romance
Page Count: 220
Reviewed by: LenaRibka
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3,3 stars out of 5
The 1950s. Postwar exuberance. Conformity. Rock and roll.
Russell tells himself he’ll marry Susie because it’s the right thing to do. His summer job coaching her water ballet team will give him plenty of opportunity to give her a ring. But on the team’s trip to the annual Aqua Follies, the joyful glide of a trumpet player’s solo hits Russell like a torpedo, blowing apart his carefully constructed plans.
From the orchestra pit, Skip watches Poseidon’s younger brother stalk along the pool deck. It never hurts to smile at a man, because good things might happen, but the timing has to be right. Once the last note has been played, Skip gives it a shot.
The tenuous connection forged by a simple smile leads to events that dismantle both their lives. Has the damage been done, or can they pick up the pieces together?
Even if I don’t rate it very high, I think that Aqua Follies will meet the expectations of many MM romance readers. It is a typical romance novel, with a MUST BE HEA, likable characters, with the right dose of drama and- what I really appreciate-just the right amount of sex scenes. (Many MM romance writers tend to exaggerations here.) The historical setting is well done, the plot delivers a credible atmosphere of the 1950s without being too political that can perfectly suit also readers who normally don’t read historical.
Summer 1955. Seattle. Russel who has recently graduated from the Law School took a summer job as the assistant coach of the water ballet during its summer tour across the country. It’s a good possibility to help his Aunt Maude, a team coach, and to propose to his fiancée Susie who is one of a dancer of the twenty-four Aqua Dears.
His life seems to be regulated and already carefully planned: he’ll marry Susie, land a job in his hometown in Minnesota, buy a house, and she’ll give him babies. More importantly, the wedding will give his parents something to be happy about.
Only Russel’s plans for the future and his apparently stable and lukewarm life begins to fall apart when he gets to know Skip, trumpet player of the big band that accompanies the show. Russel, a closet case, has never felt such a strong attraction toward a man in his life. And Skip, a horn player, who actually goes much easier with his own sexuality and sexually more experienced, is fascinated by a reserved Midwest stranger. Does their relationship has a chance?
And how can they manage to stay together in the homophobic world where two adult men don’t play house? And more important, is Russel with his rational mind is able to make the right decision? Can he sacrifice his apparent secure life in lies without passion for a man he falls in love with?
I was a bit worried about the denouement of the plot at the last part of the book. When the problems that appeared impossible at the beginning started to solve themselves easily toward the end. I smelled a trap: I was sure the author tried to lull me in order to slap me with a blasting twist when I the least expected it . But fortunately THAT has never happened: the events that seemed to be fatal turned into a trifling matter, the obstacles were smoothly overcome and every conflict has been nicely solved. It is why the story became rather a Walt Disney fairy tale at the end that per se is not a bad thing, but made the whole story-line a bit less realistic to me.
Overall- a sweet MM romance with a light touch of historical atmosphere that satisfy every romantic soul.