TITLE: It’s Complicated (Tucker Springs, #7)
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
YEAR: April 2014
LENGTH: 196 pages
GENRE: M/M Contemporary Romance
HEAT LEVEL: Adult, Erotica
RATING: 3 out of 5
REVIEW: Okay, hats off to the author for having the guts to take on such a difficult topic in the first place. As is reflected in several of the reviews posted elsewhere, this is a setup guaranteed to generate strong negative feelings in many readers. Although I have to say I was floored by the number of postings I’ve read from people who refused to even read the book. They don’t like to read about characters who are having problems with their relationships. They don’t like to read about the ex coming up pregnant and putting further stress on the relationship. Or – my personal favorite – they don’t want their porn diluted with so much angst. You know what? That’s probably why this author writes M/M erotica, not M/M porn. I’ve read several of Witt’s books, though not the Tucker Springs series, until this one. Frankly, Tucker Springs is priced out of my budget for books of this length (150 – 220 pages). It’s Complicated was provided to me for reviewing purposes, and I’ll admit, I had to grit my teeth and put on my professional hat before starting this one.
Sure, it’s easier and more fun to read about the first flush of new love – the heat, the passion, the intoxicating and near-constant state of arousal. It’s fun while it’s happening to you, too. But we don’t live our lives in this frenzy of new love. Having been married for fifteen years, I have a front row seat to the way day-to-day life grinds down the sharp highs of romantic love. If we’re lucky, though, it mellows into a sustained heat that is rarer than new love. Rarer, even, than unicorns in this world where people tend to bail at the first hint that they might actually need to work at maintaining a relationship. As a mother, I can tell you that raising kids is the hardest job I can imagine. It’s also the most rewarding. Nothing of value comes to us without working for it. I fell in love with my husband the night I met him, and he felt the same way from the very beginning. But I can guarantee that if we’d just trusted that things would always come easily, we wouldn’t have lasted three years, let alone fifteen. And while L.A. Witt does write some pretty hot sex, this is by no means porn. Her sex scenes advance the story, whereas porn is simply sex for it own sake, with little to no character development or contribution to plot or pacing.
That said, there were some slow spots in the middle of the book that made me somewhat impatient for the story to move on. On the whole, I liked the ability to hear each character’s perspective on events (via alternating POV from chapter to chapter), and the writer managed to avoid merely retelling each event from both points of view ad nauseum. At times it was difficult to feel sympathy for Christine, the ex-wife, though I think she was intended to be a sympathetic character. That’s not too far from real life, though, where even the people we love can be the source of enormous stress and negativity.
This is a well written book, and I don’t think it’s revealing a spoiler to say that the happy ending is made all the more believable because of the problems these people have endured. If you’re looking for fun and fluffy, this isn’t the book for you. If you enjoy heartier fare, this might be a good fit for you.