Sweet Surrender by Ashleigh Walton

Title: Sweet Surrender
Author: Ashleigh Walton
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Length: Novel (188 pages)
Rating:3.75 stars out of 5

A guest review by Lily


Shy and self-conscious Derek has spent two years of his life losing a hefty amount of weight and is about to enter graduate school to become a certified architect. Now he’s determined to find love, so he places an Internet ad in search of a boyfriend. Gerry, a confident, self-made man with his own landscaping business, falls head over heels for Derek as soon as they meet.

While Derek’s waiting for Gerry to find something wrong with him and call the whole thing off, Gerry is hiding something from Derek, afraid of what the consequences may be when and if it’s discovered. Only when they find the courage to confide in one another can they commit to love.


Twenty-two year old Derek Weston is ready to start a new phase in his life. He’s about to graduate from college and start an internship at a prestigious architectural firm and after more than two years of working hard he’s lost his excess weight. Excited and nervous, he’s on his way to meet Gerry Connelly, the man he’s been exchanging emails with after Gerry responded to his personal ad. They get along really well at dinner and the night ends with a sweet kiss and the promise of  getting in touch after Derek’s graduation.

A few days later they get together when Derek offers to help Gerry in his landscaping business. Soon they’re spending more and more time together although their romance develops slowly as Gerry doesn’t want to rush things. When they do finally have sex it’s hot and sweet and really fits who these guys are.

I really enjoyed reading this mostly sweet romance. Derek and Gerry are both well drawn and likable guys although each has an issue that they need to work through. Derek is insecure about himself due to his years of being the ‘fat kid’ and finds it hard to believe that Gerry won’t grow tired of him and end things. Gerry, eight years older and the owner of his own small business, is almost leading a double life as he keeps his very religious and disapproving mother out of his everyday life and gives her the impression that he’s no longer a ‘practicing homosexual’ and at the same time he’s wanting to settle into a relationship with Derek. Things come to a head when Derek can’t accept Gerry’s choices and their relationship, so new and wonderful, is threatened.

However, a health scare shows Gerry who and what is really important in life and soon the men are once again happy. Now Gerry has to take control of his life and slowly help his mother learn to deal with and accept his sexuality and his commitment to Derek. Out of the cast of characters in this book Mrs. Connelly is the least likable yet at the same time it’s not so hard to understand her views since she has been a devout Irish Catholic all her life and is heavily influenced by the church’s stance on homosexuality. The other secondary characters, including Derek’s parents, are all portrayed as nice people and supportive of both Derek and Gerry. I especially liked Derek’s younger brother Brenden and his girlfriend Shana.

As I stated previously I did enjoy this book. The writing is solid and the characters are for the most part likable and believable. The story is written using alternating POV’s between Derek and Gerry and so we get a good feel for them both which makes it easy to care for them and their developing relationship. The plot is simple but not boring and the story flows well throughout which makes this an easy read with a very nice ending. Recommended for those that enjoy reading sweet romantic stories about  nice men falling in love.


  • Hi Lily. Thank you so much for your honest review of Sweet Surrender.

    I have to admit that I didn’t realize that the some people feel the religious parent is over-used, however, that wouldn’t have stopped me from writing the story as I had. This is my first published story and it’s also a deeply personal one. Although I have no plans to write another story with a parent such as Gerry’s mom playing a major role, it’s good to know this information for future reference.

    Thank you again, Lily, and to all the commenters as well.

    • You’re welcome, Ashleigh 🙂

      I did enjoy it and look forward to your next one. I hadn’t realized Sweet Surrender was your first book, congratulations.

  • I like nice stories about nice men falling in love so this might be right up my alley. Thanks for the review, Lily.

    KC, glad to hear you enjoyed Little Boy Lost: Enlightened. I am looking forward to the next one in the series.


  • Lily
    Great review.

    The mother would have kept me from a 4 star rating too unless the book was awesome. I think the staunch religious types in M/M romances, especially parents, are getting a bit overdone. Another character type that I hope will eventually disappear from M/M

  • I promised myself no more m/m books but this one sounds so good. I must have it.

    I read Little Boy Lost by JP Barnaby and loved it – is Sweet Surrender similar in writing style and awesomeness?

    • Hi kkm 🙂

      For me a 4 star rating is a book that I really like a lot and while I did enjoy this book the storyline of Gerry’s mom kept it from a 4. I’m sure for others it may be a 4 or more just like someone else may even rate it lower. Not everyone has the same reaction to a book.

  • Hmmm interesting. I’ll keep it in mind. Though I have to admit that I’m a little through with the coming out of the closet with religious parents, but that might just be me.

    Thanks for the review 🙂

    • Gerry’s situation with his mom was a part of the story that I didn’t care for. But overall it’s a nice story to read.

  • Likable and believable are words that I would use to describe this book too. I wanted to read this story partly because it’s rare to see characters that used to be overweight. I thought it was handled well.

    • The issue of his weight caught my attention too and I felt it was handled pretty good. He’s insecurities made sense.

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