'The Isle of...Where?' was a bit of a quandary for me. There were some things that just really, really didn't work and then there was a side to this story that tore my heart out had me crying so much I had to quit reading for a while.
So let's start with the it didn't work list first.
What didn't work was the 'insta-love'. Not because I don't believe in it, well maybe in the real world but in my books? Hey it's fiction anything can happen that's why I enjoy fiction. But for some reason I just couldn't quite connect with this relationship, try as I might I just couldn't buy into it and believe me I wanted to, but...nope just didn't happen. I think part of it was the fact that everyone in the book just seemed to fall into it. No one questioned that these men had only known each other for really what amounted to 'the blink of an eye' it was just auto acceptance. To quick, to easy...well except for Charlie. But really did we expect differently from Sam's ex? I mean that would really have pushed things into fantasy land, wouldn't it?
Then we have the whole incident in the hotel with the cleaning lady? I mean really? The staff complains because they don't like that someone is gay and you kick them out? Sorry, I don't know one intelligent business person who isn't a bigot who would do that and then we are suddenly given a magical turn around...nope, sorry just no this whole scene just didn't work. (However, the incident in the airport coffee shop when Liam was returning home was far better and more believable).
Also towards the end Sam became in some ways very clingy and needy and it just deviated too far from the personality that I had come to associate with him. I suddenly felt like Liam was in a relationship with someone else.
The last thing that threw the whole romance aspect of this story off kilter for me was the ending, I just needed more closure for Sam & Liam, maybe in book 2 or 3 (which I will read, soon.)
Ok, so in general that was what didn't work for me. Now the good part what worked.
The fact that Sam came from a large close knit family. I really enjoy stories where there's family interaction or a close knit group of friends (the family your born with or the family you make, either works well). It helps to define a character's personality and show how they interact with people other than their romantic partner, for me it gives their personality some depth. That I often find to be otherwise missing.
The biggest part of this story, the part that really, really worked for me was also the part that had me in tears and that was the whole reason that Liam was on the Isle of Wight to begin with. His promise, to his best friend Alex, to fulfill his final wish. The internal struggle that Liam faced in doing this, in letting go of that last small physical representation of his friend was for me very real. I understood this, I knew his pain and how incredibly hard it was in spite of his desire to do this one last thing for his friend.
At the end of it all the romance between Liam and Sam may not have worked for me...yet, I'm willing to give it a second try with 'The Isle of Wishes' because overall it was an interesting story with good moments and characters that for the most part intrigued me.
In general I like Sue Brown and I'm hoping that the next book will convince me that sticking with the story was worth it.