September (Renee’s review)

Title: September
Author: Robert Winter
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 9, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary/May-December
Page Count: 290
Reviewed by: Renee
Heat Level:  4.5 flames out of 5
Rating:  3.2 stars out of 5

David James is smart, successful, handsome… and alone. After the death of his lover, Kyle, from cancer, he buried himself in his law practice and the gym. At forty-eight, he is haunted by his memories and walled off from the world. When David injures himself working out, he’s assigned to Brandon Smith for physical therapy. The vibrant young therapist is attracted to David and realizes he needs a hand to get back into dating. What begins as a practice coffee date escalates to friendship, passion, and maybe something more, as they navigate a new relationship in Washington, DC, and the gay mecca of Provincetown.

But David remains trapped behind the barrier of fear and guilt. Will he remain loyal to Kyle’s memory if he moves on? Can he and Brandon manage a twenty-two-year age gap? Brandon thinks he understands David’s concerns, and for him, the answer to those questions is yes. He wants to be with David, and he believes he can overcome David’s barriers. But Brandon fails to account for the world’s reaction to a handsome young man attached to an older, wealthy lover. David’s memories, Brandon’s pride, and an unexpected tragedy might cost them something very special.

I would consider this a strong start for an author’s debut. In this setup, David is in his late 40s, and is still mourning the loss of his partner from a few years back. Brandon is a twenty-something physical therapist who’s relocated from Texas to get away from the homophobia.

These two meet when David tears his rotator cuff and needs PT. The attraction is instant, the flirting starts, and the men began to date on another.

I will say that the smexy times in this book is en fuego. . It was hot from the very beginning, so 5 stars in that area! The relationship development in the first half of the book was done pretty well also. I enjoyed their complete honesty with each other and the push-pull they had going on.

But there are a few niggles that bugged the crap out of me.

1. The use of the word “fat” or “heavy” or “heavy set” to describe other people. It’s mean and completely unnecessary. Just because David and Brandon are all buff and ripped and could be on the cover of Men’s Magazine, doesn’t mean they need to be douchebags. These comments about people’s weight was the worst of it, but there were other shallow comments, too. And since these were such “nice” guys, it felt uncharacteristic.

2. I’m not sure where the author is from and if his friends/family speak this way, but some of the phrasing in this book was just so…..oddly cheesy and pretentious. Examples:

“My dear boy,…….” “My clever boy….” “Dear heart,…..”
“Darling, it’s wonderful to meet you. You’ve quite brightened up our David, and I can see why. You are a breath of spring.”

3. At one point David, while still inside of Brandon, contorts himself and finishes Brandon off by sucking him off. While still inside Brandon. WTF?

4. Brandon and David’s friends. They each had a friend that was a complete caricature of the After School Special Villain. Two dimensional, mean, and just way OTT with the bullying words. And these were friends they’d each had for years. You can’t tell me that kind of behavior is a first for either of them to experience. It was so ridiculous, and I was immediately taken out of the book, in both cases.

Niggles aside, I was definitely invested in the outcome of Brandon and David. And, like I said, the first half had me intrigued. The second half was just “meh” though. It got too cheesy for me. It almost felt like a different author was writing it…..almost. What others found sweet, I found OTT. Shrugs. That’s just me though.

I definitely enjoyed the writing style and will be on the lookout for future books. I think, as a debut, this one did ok. Polish it up a bit, and this author will be well-liked by many.

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of September provided by the publisher in exchange of an honest review.


I love boys who love boys! I'm in my 30s, from the southern US, and my crack is m/m romance.