Slow Bloom by Anah Crow and Dianne Fox

Title: Slow Bloom
Author: Anah Crow and Dianne Fox
Publisher: Torquere Books
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: Novel (278 pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Guest review by Lily


Ricky Talbot, fresh from his first year at university, is looking to have a perfect summer. He gets to work for the man he’s had a crush on for years and spend the rest of his days in the pool, training for the swim team. Jack Corson, on the other hand, is a suburban hermit with a tangled past. Jack’s a lot more experienced than Ricky, cantankerous and more than a little anti-social.

When an unexpected one-time encounter between the two of them turns into more, Ricky and Jack must see if they have what it takes for love to bloom despite all of their differences, the distance between them while Ricky’s away school, Jack’s past and Ricky’s parents. Can their slow-blooming love come to fruition?


Eighteen year old Ricky Talbot has just finished his first year of college and is home for the summer break. When his Dad suggests taking a job cutting the lawn for their neighbor Ricky grabs the chance to spend time at the home of the man he’s had a crush on since he was fifteen. Jack Corson is a writer with an often grumpy disposition and Ricky has had numerous fantasies involving the older man over the years. Ricky’s first day on the job doesn’t go so well when Jack’s lawnmower starts acting up and then breaks on him. But things get a whole lot better when he has to go to Jack looking for tools and instead of fixing the lawnmower he ends up in Jack’s bed.

Three weeks later Ricky’s out for a night on the town when he’s gay bashed and ends up in the emergency room. Not wanting to call his parents he decides even though he hasn’t seen Jack since the afternoon they spent together to call him for help. Surprised by the call but willing to help Jack picks him up and offers him a place to spend the night. With their attraction burning hot and Ricky needing reassurance after what happened to him they soon end up in Jack’s bed again.

As the summer goes on the two men, one older and very experienced and the other young and just starting out in life, begin an affair that will change them both. Jack has lived through and done much more than Ricky could ever imagine but he soon finds himself learning to enjoy life again with his young lover. All too quickly summer ends and they part as Ricky heads back to college. But their affair has meant more than just sex to Ricky and although they never discussed it continuing on Ricky comes back for Jack’s annual Halloween party.

This starts the second phase of their relationship as they decide to keep in touch through emails, phone calls and occasional visits. As Ricky’s school year continues their feelings grow and deepen and both men continue on their journey of discovery. Ricky is able to explore his sexuality in a safe and loving way and as much as he learns from Jack he also is able to give back to him. By the time the school year is over and summer once again rolls around Ricky and Jack have both grown and changed and their relationship, at first a purely sexual one based on their mutual attraction has now become a loving partnership that is strong and based on love while still maintaining a highly sexual and erotic tone.

I really liked both main characters and I found their relationship to be well written and interesting. Ricky is young yet also quite mature for his age. He’s fun loving and friendly, a good son, does well in school and is dedicated to his swimming which plays a big part in his life and his future. I really liked how his growth and development throughout the story, both personally as well as sexually, was shown. I also really liked Jack. He’s a complicated and fascinating character. A one time Dom he left that scene when he found the people in his life were not willing to accept him growing and changing. It’s been years since then and only a couple of people from his past are in his life now. As his relationship with Ricky grows Jack is finally able to come to terms with his past especially when he realizes that Ricky accepts not only who he is now but also who he was in the past.

The supporting characters, of which there are quite a few, are also well written and are good additions to the story. Since Ricky and Jack don’t spend all of the book together we get to see them as separate individuals which made them all the more likable and believable. There are some cute and fun scenes of Ricky with his housemates at college and of Jack with his best friend and former lover as well as with a former sub that show a different side of Jack than is normally seen when he’s with Ricky.

The sex scenes in this book are very well written and are incredibly erotic yet they were also quite tender at times. While not hardcore there are aspects of BDSM as well as a particular fetish that Ricky explores for himself and Jack’s enjoyment.

There were a couple of little things that kept this from being a 5 star book for me. The first is the age gap between Ricky and Jack. I enjoy reading stories that feature May/December romances but I just felt the difference in age was a lot. I couldn’t help losing my focus on the story sometimes, especially when Ricky was thinking about Jack’s silver haired chest, and all of a sudden I’m thinking about their life together in 10, 20 or 30 years in the future and how the age difference would affect them at that time.

The other thing that bothered me was the outcome when Ricky at last tells his parents of his relationship with Jack. It was both more and less than I had expected and although it led to some really good scenes between Ricky and Jack it still bothered me a bit. At the same time though it was an interesting scene that left me thinking how I, as a parent, might react in that same situation. Is there a chance I might have felt or said the same things as Ricky’s disapproving parent or would I really have been as calm and accepting as his other parent?

Overall I really enjoyed this very well written book. Ricky and Jack are well developed, real and multi-faceted characters and they drew me in and kept me interested throughout the story. There are also wonderful supporting characters, intensely erotic yet also sweetly tender sex scenes and a very nice ending that all together make this a wonderfully compelling story that I won’t soon forget. Anah Crow and Dianne Fox are excellent writers and have created a memorable, entertaining and engaging story that I enjoyed reading very much. Highly recommended.


  • I Googled to find just how big this age diff was, since the review didn’t say (an odd omission in an otherwise great review). Wow, 30 years is over-the-top and it seems a stretch to have an 18-y/o and a 48???-y/o.

    Mind you, I was in a relationship with a guy around 15ish years older than me (I was nowhere near 18), and I can believe in larger age diffs than that, no prob. But 30 years…um.

    The rest of this sounds groovy, though; maybe I can just pretend the age diff’s a little more believable…. πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks, Kendall πŸ™‚

      I thought of including the number of years but decided against it. I try hard not to give too much information out because really I hate reading spoilers myself and I didn’t want to put anyone off and possibly influence them out of reading it.

      I did really liked this book and although a couple of times the age diff did make me think outside of the story it’s still totally worth reading and I highly recommend it.

      • Oh, I didn’t think it was spoilery since you already said the big age diff was one of only two drawbacks to the book. (And well, it’s a review–I’ve yet to read a review that didn’t reveal something.) I was kinda thinking the reverse–that if that big an age diff would make someone not like it, then it’d be nice to know just how big the diff was.

        But, sorry, I should’ve asked before just throwing it out there.

    • In real life, Don Bachardy and Christopher Isherwood, life partners for 30+ years had a 30 year age difference. I wrote a review here at the site about the documentary of their life, Chris & Don: A Love Story. They made it work.

      My father had a high school classmate who married a second time to a woman 32 years younger than he. I met them–they were nice people. But it was a little odd because he was my father’s age and she was exactly my age. But I guess, sometimes the old adage really is true: love is blind.


  • I subscribed to Torquere’s Turn of the Screw a few months ago and read part this book. I enjoyed what I read. The age difference wasn’t too bad for me. I found it interesting to see the different points of view through Ricky’s eyes, exploring the sex for the first time and what a relationship might mean and Jack who has been through the mill several times and back again and how he goes slow to accommodate Ricky’s inexperience.

    Good review.

    And if you don’t know about Turn of the Screw, you subscribe and have access to chapters of books that Torquere releases, one chapter a month. But every week is a new chapter to at least 2 different books. And you can save the chapters to your hard drive.

    • Thanks, John! πŸ™‚
      I really enjoyed this story. I love reading May/December romances but at times the age difference between them would just give me pause. Not throughout the whole book but two or three times I would read something that gave me pause and started me thinking of their future. But overall I really liked it.
      I did use to have a subscription to TOTS a while back but I’m just too impatient to wait to read a book chapter by chapter like that.

  • Lily
    Great job on this review. I guess you were the right person to ask to review this book. πŸ™‚ I really like Anah’s and Dianne’s writing.

    May/December romances are some of my faves and it sounds like the authors did a fantastic job on this one.

    • Thanks, Wave! πŸ™‚
      I really like Anah and Dianne’s writing and this was particularly good. If you haven’t read it yet I recommend it. You’ll definitely like it.

  • This sounds great, Lily. I like May/December romances and as TQ are having a sale at the moment, I may just pop over there and buy this.

    Great, thorough review :).

  • Hmmm it has possibilities. I agree with you on the ages gap. I don’t mind reading about more mature characters, but sometimes there is such an incredibly ages gap (vampires and other immortal creatures not counted) that I wonder was would happen later on, especially when they are so committed.

    Thanks for the review and the insight into the book! πŸ™‚


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