Title: Trip Of A Lifetime
Author: J.P. Bowie
Publisher: Total e-bound
Cover Artist: Lyn Taylor
Amazon: Buy Link Trip of a Lifetime
Genre: Contemporary m/m romance
Length: Novel (164 pdf pages)
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars
A Guest Review by Feliz
Summary Review: I liked this sweet, romantic feelgood read even better for the fact that it didn’t take itself all too seriously.
The Blurb: Alex Brady was looking for some excitement in his life, but nothing could have prepared him for what a trip to Tuscany would bring him—excitement, yes, but with an undercurrent of danger that could possibly end up costing him far more than the price of the vacation. When Alex tells his best friend Russ of his proposed trip to Tuscany, Russ tries to dissuade him, especially when Alex explains he’ll be renting a car and making his own way around a foreign country. Russ is sure Alex will get lost or mugged.
On his first night in Florence, Alex meets Gavin Andrews, a handsome Scotsman, and looks forward to a more than pleasant start to his ‘trip of a lifetime’. But Gavin disappears without a word, and though disappointed by the Scot’s apparent lack of interest Alex continues with his tour of Tuscany in his rented car, staying overnight at the Villa Lorenzo, a converted farmhouse run by two gay men, John and Alfredo.
Alex is shown a portrait of Lorenzo, the original owner, and that night Alex has a strangely sensual dream, that comes to an abrupt halt when Lorenzo warns him that Gavin is in danger. What follows is far more excitement than Alex ever bargained for – a kidnapping, a murder, and ultimately an offer of marriage!
Truly, for Alex this is the trip of a lifetime.
Still suffering some from a rather ugly breakup with his former boyfriend a few months ago, Alex Brady decides that his life in Los Angeles has become boring and dull and that he needs to add a little more flavor. On a whim, he books a trip to Tuscany, all on his own, to the horror of both his mother and his best friend, Russ.
Alex nevertheless jumps headfirst into his adventure, determined to prove all their misgivings wrong.
On his very first evening in Florence, he runs into charming, winsome Gavin, an English businessman of Scottish origin. Both are soon irretrievably smitten and inseparable, despite all the obstacles Fate throws their way to split them up. But once their Italian journey will be over, they’re going to return to living an ocean apart. Will the feelings that have grown between them during their short time together stand the test of time and space?
Almost everything about this book was simply adorable, from the setting and the main characters down to the little details, like the hinted-at paranormal element, the would-be baddie who just couldn’t pull it off, Gavin’s accent and Alex’s little hangups.
While reading this, I couldn’t help the impression that it kept (intentionally) just this side of persiflaging a good, old-fashioned Georgette Heyer novel with tall, dark and handsome sweeping pale, swooning virgin beauty off her feet. The effect could have been a caricature but it actually wasn’t, mostly thanks to the skillful characterizations.
Gavin reminded me very much of a young Sean Connery, which might be intentional by the author or just the fact that I don’t know any other Scotsmen. Be that as it may, Gavin has the same kind of shrewd charm and a likeable determined way to get what he wants, in business as well as in his private life. He courts Alex by every trick in the book although he wouldn’t have to do much – Alex is just as taken with Gavin right from the start as vice versa.
Alex, on the other hand, is a really, really sweet person. He’s a bit of a dreamer, at times so naive that it borders on innocent, while at the same time he possesses a calm strength that enables him to tap into hidden reserves nobody would give him credit to have. Although Alex has many “female” qualities, he’s far from being effeminate. After all, it’s him who has to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for Gavin, proving more than adept for the job, and yes, Gavin is putty in Alex’s hands. They were simply perfect for each other.
The secondary cast were just as well-drawn down to the most minor characters. I particularly liked drama queen Russ and Alex’s heartwarmingly supportive mother.
The Tuscany setting was also very well-drawn; I almost felt like I was back there, with the tastes, smells and sights brought to live on the pages. The romantic setting made it all the more believable for Alex and Gavin to fall for each other as hard and as fast as they do. A wonderful contrast to rainy London and also to Alex’s native California.
If I had any problems with this book, they lay in the plot itself, which had its weak points in a couple of convenient solutions. Also, I wasn’t entirely happy with the ending, sweet as it was [spoiler name=”spoiler”] With Gavin and Alex setting up a working relationship as well as a life partnership, I thought Alex’s mother had a valid point in advising against such a close arrangement, particularly with the perceived imbalance of powers. But, well, this is fiction – it might work out for the two of them. I’d certainly cross my fingers for them! [/spoiler]
If you’re in the mood for a well-written, enjoyable, light and easy read you can’t go wrong with this book. Recommended.