Title: A Marrying Man
Author: Sandrine Gasq-Dion
Cover Artist: Unknown
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Amazon: – Not yet
Length: 40,000 words
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars
A guest review by Lasha
Summary Review: The book falls into women-bashing territory and doesn’t recover.
It’s been almost a year since a disastrous bet dropped Blaine McKlintock and his best friend, Kent Samson in hot water. Now, Kent is getting ready to propose to Terry Barron. Blaine couldn’t be happier for his best friend, but when Kent asks Blaine to plan the wedding, Blaine is thrown for a loop, especially when Kent drops another bomb. Spencer Cassidy will be helping. Blaine remembers Spencer very well, but the former Wall Street force doesn’t seem to remember him. Blaine’s changed a lot since the bet, but will Spencer see it too?
I went into this book with high hopes. I had reviewed the first book, A Betting Man, and I loved the character of Spencer, who was one of the MC’s boss. I was looking forward to Spencer’s story and seeing how Ms. Gasq-Dion went about redeeming Blaine, who was the moron who made that horrible ‘bet’ with Kent.
In this installment, Kent and Terry from book one are on their way to wedded bliss. Kent has asked Spencer and Blaine to help plan his surprise proposal and wedding to Terry. This causes Spencer and Blaine to be thrown together and in some instances they have to pretend to be boyfriends! (I love that trope). The two men fight their attraction to one another, Blaine, because of his dysfunctional family, and Spencer because he’s got a child and a nasty ex-wife. As the two men get closer, outside forces threaten their happiness.
First up, I hate writing negative reviews. Hate it. I understand the amount of time, effort and passion an author puts into writing a story and I don’t think any ethical reviewer wants to tell a person they’ve never met that they didn’t like the book the author more than likely slaved over.
Unfortunately, A Marrying Man suffers from two huge issues that means I cannot give it higher than 1.5 stars. I will explain.
In my A Betting Man review, I said this: “Yeah, Kent’s a self-absorbed douchenozzle who loves himself to a degree I found nauseating, he treats women as objects — we won’t even get to the way women are portrayed in the book…” I hand-waved some of the sexism in that book because the character of Terry was so overwhelming lovely, plus Kent’s mother was a gem, which evened out the misogyny. But in A Marrying Man, this book loses that charm because it constantly bashes the main female characters as either: flirty whores, drunken mothers or gold-digging, narcissistic ex-wives. There is really no escape from the sexism in this book.
Blaine’s ex-girlfriend, Porsche is portrayed as an airhead. While Spencer’s ex-wife, Vanessa is the worst representation of a self-absorbed “bitch” I’ve seen recently in an m/m novel. When you add in the fact that the MCs in A Marrying Man are all sexist pigs, it went downhill very quickly for me. Hence, I could not relate to any of the characters, main or secondary. If you think I am exaggerating, here is a quote:
“Slater Cassidy, Porsche Montclair.” I waved my hand between them.
“Are those real?” Slater pointed to Porsche’s breasts.
Porsche made a face I’d never seen before — like she ate something really sour.
“Excuse me?” Porsche sneered.
Slater eyed Porsche from head to toe. “If they’re not, I could still work with you, as long as the curtains match the drapes.”
(Slater is Spencer’s brother, home on leave from the military and the obvious set-up for the next book in the series. But like Kent in A Betting Man and both Spencer and Blaine in this book, he’s not likeable and I wouldn’t want to read his sequel based on his actions in this one. Plus, having been in the military myself, this type of blatant sexism would be weeded out quickly. It would have been socially acceptable in the 1970’s Army, but in 2013 an Army Ranger spouting those views? He’d be gone.)
So, Slater is a douche, Blaine is an idiot and Spencer has this ex-wife who is a raving psychopath. In one scene, after Vanessa finds out that Spencer and Blaine are together, she threatens Spencer that she’ll call the cops and claim that Blaine molested their daughter if her ex doesn’t stop seeing Blaine…and pay her more alimony. Yeah, it went there.
There was no attempt to make her an actual real-life person, she was a cardboard cut-out of a gold-digging shrew who was willing to send an innocent man to prison for child molestation just to get more money. Vanessa’s “redemption” at the end of the book did not fit in with her prior characterization and defied common sense.
Now, I’m not blaming Ms. Gasq-Dion for the misogyny that exists in m/m books, as we’ve had this discussion on Gay Book Reviews before; but in A Marrying Man, the author fell into the trap of writing character(s) who are so unlikeable, sexist and unredeemable that as a reader I couldn’t sympathize with any of them. Let alone get over my distaste of them.
The second huge issue with the book was there seemed to be no difference between Spencer and Blaine. They were both entitled boys, not grown men. The characterizations were two-dimensional and at times, I confused who was who, so much so I had to take notes to keep each man separate in my head. With a well-written book you do not have to do that. In the previous book, while I didn’t like Kent, I did adore Terry and their characterizations were distinct, so I felt something was missing in this installment.
Because A Marrying Man was listed as a Romantic Comedy on the publisher’s web site, I was expecting to be amused, not upset. I know humor is subjective, but this book had none of the flirty, funny flavor of it’s predecessor. To conclude, I wanted to like this book. Spencer and Blaine were intriguing characters in A Betting Man, but in this installment, they lost their charm. Add in the female-bashing, which ran through the entire book, and I cannot give A Marrying Man a higher rating.