Title: Rainbow Place (Rainbow Place #1)
Author: Jay Northcote
Publisher: Jaybird Press
Release Date: June 15, 2018
Page Count: 180
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.0 stars out of 5
Can Jason find the courage he needs to be the man Seb deserves?
When Seb Radcliffe relocates to a seaside town in Cornwall, he feels like a fish out of water. He misses queer spaces and the sense of community he enjoyed when he was living in the city, and decides to open an LGBT-friendly cafe–bar.
Jason Dunn is the builder Seb hires to help renovate the rundown space where the cafe will be housed. Jason is also gay, but unlike Seb, he’s deep in the closet. He’s never had a relationship with another man—only allowing himself the occasional hook up with guys who are prepared to be discreet.
The attraction between the two men is instant and impossible to ignore. But while Seb is out and proud, Jason is terrified of being exposed. With the grand opening of Rainbow Place approaching, tension is growing among some locals who object to Seb’s plans. When things escalate, Jason is forced to choose whether to hide in the shadows and let Seb down, or to openly support the man he’s fallen so hard for.
Although this book is part of a series, it has a satisfying happy ending and can be read as a standalone.
Premise of the book is Seb has moved to Cornwall from London for a change of pace and to open his own café/bar. What he doesn’t find in Cornwall is a thriving and outgoing GLBTQ community, which he misses. With a little push from his friends Trude and Penny, the idea of Rainbow Café is born.
Jason is local, born and raised in the area, now a general contractor. When approached by Seb to remodel the space, he agrees to the job. Only after starting does he find out Seb’s plan for making this a GLBTQ friendly establishment. Jason’s tidy compartmentalized world is threatened by Seb’s easy demeanor and candid acceptance of his own sexuality.
Jason is in the closet – he’s so far in he needs a flashlight to find his way out. Seb, still smarting from being the “dirty secret” in a past relationship is loath to start a relationship with Jason. It’s only when the fledgling café is vandalized that the two men realize they also have something worth fighting for.
This was, overall, a pleasant read and a fine way to spend a lazy afternoon. The reader knows this can end only one way, and the author doesn’t disappoint. Oh, our handsome boys have their stumbling blocks to overcome, and with a bit of help from their friends and the town, they get there.
A couple points of contention for me: I know this is set in Cornwall, and maybe a remodel job in England – done by two guys – only takes a couple months, but I have to say the timing to do everything they did felt unrealistic. I had my (small) kitchen/downstairs remodeled, and I moved out for three and a half months.
I found it unrealistic that Seb would conduct his business in an active construction zone. Drilling, fumes, dust, noise…umm, yeah. Not plausible for me.
And wouldn’t you want your chef to be part of the hiring process for an assistant chef, someone who would perhaps mesh well the chef’s own personality and work ethos? I thought it odd that Seb hired the two separately…but I full acknowledge, I’m not in the restaurant business.
Jason begged for understanding, that he wanted to come out, but he just needed the time. Seb agreed, knowing that it’s a path and choice each man needs to make on his own. But when the rubber meets the road, Seb was anything but understanding. And when Jason bailed after the vandalizing, Seb was accusatory and (understandably) upset, but made no effort to find out what made Jason so anxious. I really didn’t care for how this played out in the short term.
As I noted above, this was a story that really could only have one resolution. A pleasant enough read – a happy feel-good read if you will – with some steamy action between the sheets, and a nice assortment of supporting characters. I would read a second book in the series.