My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A relaxing read that takes the reader into a better romantic place. The lack of steamy sex acrobatic scenes enhanced the character and plot development and made the read more enjoyable.
The South Side Tour Guide is about Andrew and Harden, brothers-in-law who share a traumatic relationship with Andrew's sister. It begins when Andrew Wingal’s life had become a farce. He had been unemployed for more than a year and he starts giving tours into the seedy parts of Chicago to tourists eager to witness real-life crime. The local media, politicians, the police department, and belligerent gang members don’t like him. When Andy’s job gets him into deeper trouble, his hotheaded boyfriend insists he flee town for a few weeks until things simmer down. With nowhere else to go, Andy heads for eastern Iowa, where his former brother-in-law, Harden Krane, lives on an idyllic farm with his two school-age children, Mason and Olivia.
Harden has his own specters haunting him. Left with his young daughter and son to raise on his own, he struggles to work full time and build a normal life for them. Yet when Andy shows up after a three-year absence, he hopes that the family’s hardships might ease up, if only temporarily. But during Andy’s stay, a common menace from Harden and Andy’s past appears unexpectedly—and Harden and Andy find solace in each other in a way neither imagined possible.
What Should Have Gone Wrong But Did Not...
Some may not agree, but I really, really liked the slow pace of this love story. It made the plot develop at a more "realistic" pace and is thankfully lacking of gimmicky acrobatic-sex-filled-scenes that many authors fall back on to make the books marketable or "entertaining."
Usually, slow paced novels do not attract me or keep me reading. I usually get to use the forward button more often and within a few, I get to the end. In the case of The South Side Tour Guide by Shelter Somerset, I never got to skip to the end. Instead, I totally enjoyed the romance developing between Andy and Harden and instead of looking for some steam, I wanted to know how their characters and plot would develop. They developed very, very well.
The minor characters turned out to be important in the end instead of just text filling up space. I especially liked the character of old Mr. Dick Carelli who turned out to be a quiet, but very brave man who acted on an unexpected situation in a totally unexpected manner.
And then there is Stretch. He is hardly a minor character, being a dog and all. He comes in at the very end, and yet this dog's description took my imagination into high gear. I have raised German Shepherds all my life, and I have a good friend who raises basset hounds, so I am still trying hard not to laugh at the picture of a mix between the two. I keep wondering over different scenarios on how and when this mix could occur. ?????
The book is littered with corny jokes. Again, something corny is not my thing and yet, somehow, Somerset managed to make me laugh.
The author used elements that usually do not work, or never work. And yet he made them work.
How he did this can only be read and enjoyed.
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