Beth reviews Hollywood Homecoming by CJ Lowe (Published on January 28, 2015 by Spunk Books, 69 pages)
This book was provided to RGR by the publisher, free of charge, in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: The synopsis intrigued me; I was born and raised in a small town so I am always interested in reading other perspectives of small-town living. I was also interested in reading this book for this new publisher, Spunk Books.
Two years ago, Evan Crane and Drake Teaghan went to high school together. Although they never spoke, both of them harbored a secret crush towards the other.
Upon graduation, Drake went off to Hollywood to seek fame and fortune while Evan stayed behind and took over his father’s thrift shop.
Now Drake has come back to his home town for Christmas. A chance meeting with Evan at the local gym sees them reunite and the feelings they had for each other are swiftly revived. They succumb to their passion but their joy is short-lived.
So used to the unprejudiced attitude of Hollywood, Drake finds it hard to understand why Evan is so closeted about his sexuality. Evan in turn, does not understand how Drake could have forgotten how unforgiving and narrow minded their small town can be, especially to people like them. And Drake’s about to get a stark reminder…
This is a short story, just over 22,000 words (69 pages per Amazon), but it did not leave me feeling short-changed or rushed at all, like a typical novelette sometimes might. The story takes place over the span of a few days, but the way the storyline is laid out, you don’t feel forced into this sweet romance at all. That being said, it does start off with a great, steamy shower scene that will leave you panting for more.
I think the reason this story works so well as a short story is because while these two young men clicked together right away, it’s because they were former school classmates, not random strangers. They knew each other, having both attended the same high school; after graduation, Evan stayed in town and Drake moved away to Hollywood. As the story reveals, they both had crushes on each other in school, though neither ever acted upon their urges. Drake went on to hook up with random men, and Evan was hopelessly hiding his sexuality in the small, conservative town.
The author did a great job of carefully weaving in small flashback moments into the story, so we could catch a glimpse of Evan from high school and understand why he behaves the way he does as a young man. And we see how Drake has not had the best of luck out in Hollywood, despite the image he tries to project to the world. So it makes it very credible when these two re-introduce themselves to each other one late night in the gym of Evan and Drake’s hometown, as Drake has returned to visit his mother in the nursing home for Christmas.
Hollywood Homecoming by CJ Lowe is definitely a feel-good story that I recommend if you are looking for a quick, sexy story with an enjoyable plot, low-range angst, healthy personal growth and a happy conclusion. 🙂 It also takes place at Christmas-time so I think this one would work well as a Holiday favorite to re-read in December. I’m glad I had the opportunity to read this book from a new-to-me author and from a new publishing house from Australia.