A Stranger’s Touch

Title: A Stranger’s Touch
Author: Anne Brooke
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: m/m contemporary romance
Length: Amber Kiss (7k)
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A guest review by Jenre

THE BLURB

Male prostitute, Red, is given an assignment by his pimp and lover, Robbie, with a very unusual client. Red meets the stranger in a darkened house in London and, during their sessions, he learns more than he ever knew about lust, love and his own personal history.

How will his curious and life-enhancing encounters with the stranger affect his relationship with Robbie and his clients, and can love ever be part of a hooker’s life at all?

THE REVIEW

This short story begins with Red, a male prostitute, being sent by his pimp, Robbie, to an abandoned house. It’s dark and Red can see very little as he sits in a chair and waits for the client. When the client makes his presence known (but not his face), Red is surprised to discover that the man is more concerned about Red’s needs than his own. Over the course of three encounters Red is forced to face up to his life and learn to control his own destiny.

There are two themes running through this story. Firstly there are the encounters that Red has with the stranger, who through touch allows Red to deal with some of the things in his life, such as being a sex-addict and having a troubled past. This part of the book was a little confusing, deliberately so, as we never discover who the strange man is, and what his reasons are for wanting to help Red. There’s a lyrical and dreamlike quality to the writing in this section that I found quite beautiful and, like Red, I began to look forward to the encounters between Red and the stranger to see what other changes it would bring in him. I also liked that Red is completely unapologetic about his profession, and even finds it a necessary part of his life – quite a refreshing change from most prostitute stories where the emphasis is on moving out of that profession.

The second theme is that of the relationship between Red and his pimp Robbie. Robbie isn’t particularly a nice man, but he obviously cares for Red, enough to have set up the meetings with the stranger. There’s also a strange push and pull to their relationship with Robbie asserting his dominance when he feels Red has stepped out of line. As the story progresses there’s a shift in the relationship as Red becomes more comfortable in his own skin. This meant that I began to warm a little towards Robbie and forgave some of his past actions.

Overall, there’s quite a lot fitted into this story and, as a result, not all the questions I had about the story were answered and yet I found that I didn’t need to know the stranger is, and I was content only to see the effect that he had on Red.  I’d recommend A Stranger’s Touch to those who are looking for a short read containing a troubled young man and his gradual acceptance of himself and his life.

14 comments

  • I really wanted to like it. I know the author’s other books have been well received that’s why I wanted to read it. I just never got what she wanted us to understand. I don’t like the idea of a prostitute being satisfied with his work. No striving to improve just stayingon the streets.Weird.

    • Hi Arlene
      I didn’t mind so much that Red wanted to stay a prostitute. He tells us that he likes what he does and gets a great deal of satisfaction from it. This made me feel better about his job than a character that was only doing it for the money, if you see what I mean.

  • I have to strongly disagree with this review. I found not one redeeming quality in this story. A prostitute who loves being a prostitute and is in love with his pimp. Give me a break.. He goes for three visits with some cloaked figure and what? He’s happy. I never got what the author wanted to say. I hate to disagree but.

    • Hi Arlene
      What a shame that you didn’t like it. It just goes to show that what works for one person doesn’t work for another :).

  • This sounds rather intriguing. I love books with character introspection, and a depth of feeling. *makes note of title* Thank you Jen!

  • Jen
    I’m almost finished this book and I agree with you on your assessment. The story is certainly different and I, too, was not sure if I would like Robbie. Great characterizations on the part of Anne Brooke!

    • Hi Wave
      It was testament to the skill of the author that I liked Robbie by the end. It’s amazing the depth of feeling that can be shown by a simple lacing of hands.

  • Hmmm this sounds quite interesting. It sounds different from most books. I think I’ll put it on my list!
    *
    Thanks for the review! You gave a good insight into the story! 🙂

  • Thanks, Jen – as I’ve said elsewhere, I really appreciate your review of this, especially as I found it quite a puzzling one to write myself!

    Many thanks indeed

    Axxx

  • I’ve really liked what I’ve read by this author so think this sounds like another interesting (not so traditional) read. Great review.

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