Author: Wayne Mansfield
Publisher: JMS Books
Genres: Contemporary Romance
For the past twenty years, Dane has taken care of his wealthy Aunt Beatrice. One rainy day, she’s killed in a car accident, and Dane is devastated. When he returns to the large, luxurious home they once shared, he falls into a depression.
Lonely, he places an advertisement on Craigslist, in part to find someone to keep the house clean and take care of maintenance, but also to keep him company, as he did Aunt Beatrice. The next morning, Ryan is at his door to claim the job. Soon Dane finds himself falling in love with the handsome handyman. But there’s more to both men than first meets the eye.
Secrets and shocks culminate in a decision no one should have to make. Especially without all the answers.
The blurb is quite misleading. A lot. I can’t really go into details without spoiling the surprise. But this certainly wasn’t the story I expected, about a man getting over his grief and starting to live again with a hunky handyman. That doesn’t mean, however, that this was bad.
The first chapter sets the stage with a rueful tone, a middle-aged man coping with loss in an empty mansion and sinking into apathy. It takes the place going to ruin for Dane to get a live-in housekeeper, Ryan. After that, things perk up. Literally.
The two men couldn’t be more different. Dane’s quiet and reserved, as he’s still in mourning. Ryan’s a breath of fresh air, laidback and upbeat. The characterization was done with easy, fluid dialogue that sounded realistic. The physicality of both men is shown well, the attraction and magnetic pull they feel for each other.
The plot moves with a swift pace, there’s no chance to get bored. We only get Dane’s POV, and have to interpret Ryan’s character through Dane’s view of him. The talks and behavior patterns help a lot. I got a distinct feel for both men and didn’t feel deprived of any detail.
There’s a lot of introspection and talking about serious issues but also sporadic humor and levity, not to mention sensuality. The language is efficient and to the point, and the writing style easy to follow without being flowery or over-descriptive. Mansfield can write. The relationship could have been fleshed out a bit more with longer scenes and showing the men actually getting to know each other. We learn more about Dane than Ryan who is the titular character.
Had the blurb been more true to the story, I would have given this a solid four or maybe more. The story’s quite lovely, to be honest, sweet and caring and hopeful. I recommend this to people who aren’t immediately turned off by unexpected plot twists or story surprises. In the end, this was a nice little romance with a touch of deeper questions.
Reviewed by: Susan
Click HERE to purchase Ryan by Wayne Mansfield