Office manager Sam Emery is unemployed and out of luck. When his emotionally abusive wife demands a divorce, he contacts the one person he has left, his brother, Neil. He doesn’t expect Neil to reject him, but he also doesn’t expect the news of his divorce - and of his sexuality - to be met with such acceptance.
Neil takes Sam to Lang Downs, the sheep station Neil calls home. There, Sam learns that life as a gay man isn’t impossible. Caine and Macklin, the station owners, certainly seem to be making it work. When Caine offers Sam a job, it’s a dream come true.
Jeremy Taylor leaves the only home he’s ever known when his brother’s homophobia becomes more than he can bear. He goes to the one place he knows he will be accepted: Lang Downs. He clicks with Sam instantly - but the animosity between Lang Downs and Jeremy’s home station runs deep, and the jackaroos won’t accept Jeremy without a fight. Between Sam’s insecurity and Jeremy’s precarious position, their road will be a hard one - and that’s without having to wait for Sam’s divorce to be final before starting a new life together.
©2013 Ariel Tachna (P)2014 Dreamspinner Press
This review was originally written for Prism Book Alliance.
Story Rating: 3.5 Stars
Narration Rating: 4.0 Stars
Overall Rating: 3.75 Stars
When Sam Embry loses his job and his wife, he has no one to turn to except for his brother, Neil, who takes him in and helps him land a job as the accountant at the Australian sheep station, Lang Downs. Jeremy Taylor also needs to rebuild and relocate after taking all he can stand from his bigoted brother. These two newcomers form a quick friendship they both need while struggling with a mutual attraction neither is ready to act upon. They both need to overcome their personal obstacles in order to focus on a future together.
I enjoyed this sweet story, the third in the Lang Downs series. Not having read the previous two titles, I was a bit concerned that I might have difficulty following at this point. I did struggle at the very beginning with some of the character names, but I quickly caught on. The author does a good job of providing just enough backstory to fill in necessary plot and character information, and I felt this allowed Outlast the Night to function well as a standalone. Always a fan of settings in Australia, I found the Lang Downs station and its jackaroos charming and likable. It was a bit like spending a week on vacation, getting to observe a small slice of life in a faraway land.
The main characters of Jeremy and Sam were compassionate, genuine, and tender. I truly cared about these two and wanted them to connect and build a relationship. I only wish I could have seen more of their backgrounds. It would have been easier to understand Sam’s confidence and self-doubt issues if the author had perhaps provided a bit more insight into his relationship with his ex-wife. Flashbacks or more expansion on his history with her could have added more dimension to his character, adding in an extra layer sympathy for him and his struggle to overcome his insecurities. Sam and Jeremy are sweet with one another, but the chemistry is lacking a bit. Though there is a mutual attraction, there is very little “action,” and it would have been more enticing to see the tension kicked up a notch or two to make up for the lack of physical contact. I also felt that there was never any major conflict for these two to overcome, just some small bumps in the road that were resolved with little struggle. I appreciate the low angst approach, but I think there might have been a bit too much side story that took attention away from further development of Sam and Jeremy’s plot line.
That being said, I did enjoy Outlast the Night and am so intrigued by the original characters and the setting that I plan to go back and read the first two books. The author has created a lovely universe with interesting people, and I would truly enjoy a return trip to Lang Downs to get acquainted with the other characters and immerse myself in their stories.
Narrator William James does a good job of bringing the characters of this story to life and is skilled at alternating American and Australian accents. His voice is pleasant and well modulated and inflected, and I would definitely pick up his narrated works in the future.
I read gay romances because porn doesn't do it for me. I need context. This one was wonderful in setting up a real romantic connection the reader cared about. What a change of pace. The apparently the writer got bored or someone forgot the last reel. Loved the first two books, but what a way to end. Thumbs down.
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