REVIEW BY JODI: ISLE OF WAVES BY SUE BROWN

 

Title: Isles
of Waves
 
Author: Sue Brown
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Press
Rating: 4.5
Blurb:
The
Isle Series: Book Three
Wig
Tobias and Nibs Tyler have been together for a long while, but this year their
love is about to be tested. Their business, the Blue Lagoon Restaurant on the Isle of Wight, is vandalized, and it may or may not be a
coincidence that the neighbors want to buy them out. Making matters stickier,
the police don’t seem interested in investigating until a friend of the couple,
an out of town copper, prods them to take action.
Their
friends, Paul and Olaf, Liam and Sam, and the whole Owens family come to help
Wig and Nibs in their time of need. But Paul and Olaf may need a nudge from Wig
and Nibs to keep their relationship alive. Meanwhile, a dear friend falls
gravely ill. And if that’s not enough, Nibs has been hiding his own medical
problems from Wig. When a gale strikes the Isle of Wight,
the Blue Lagoon and its owners could be facing the end — unless they and their
friends can unravel the knot of misfortune one hitch at a time.
 
 
 
 
Review:
“Life
isn’t always explosions, babe. Sometimes life just carries on.”

Nibs Tyler
          Liam and Sam, Paul and Olaf, and Wig
and Nibs are “Six gay men and all of them in love, causing a stir among the
tourists.” While there are many characters in Sue Brown’s Isles series, these
six men are the heart and soul of the books. With a heavy dose of realism,
Brown wraps up this series with the third book, Isles of Waves.
          Brown does a great job melding fairy
tale romances with real life in this series. These three main couples have been
through a lot of drama, but in Isles of Waves, it seems everyone will
have their happily ever after without much ado. The book begins with the
wedding of Liam and Sam on the Isle of Wight,
the place where their romance began. The Owens family in all its glory is in
full celebration mode, and Wig and Nibs, the established couple of the group of
men are catering the event. Wig and Nibs are tired and happy as they head home
to the Blue Lagoon, their residence and restaurant for a good night’s sleep.
While they were out, their livelihood has been vandalized.
Rage built
inside Wig as he watched Nibs pick over the shards of blue and white china scattered
over the floor with the gentleness and despair that was uncharacteristic of the
large man. Nibs had been in the same position since they had waked into their
restaurant to discover it had been trashed while they were at Liam and Sam’s
wedding. Twenty minutes of mourning over their shattered world. Nibs hadn’t spoken
at all.
          Nibs and Wigs have been together for
years. Physically they are complete opposites. Nibs is large and intimidating.
Wig is smaller and more effeminate. Their love for each other is strong, but as
William Shakespeare wrote, “The course of true love never did run smooth.” The
vandalism seems to unravel Nibs, and not only he is not forthcoming with his
feelings, but he pulls away from Wigs, who is clearly vulnerable and upset. Add
to that the fact that Nibs is keeping a pretty big secret from Wigs and you
have some undeniable tension between the two men.
Debating
on whether they should stay and rebuild, or leave and start some place new,
Nibs and Wig are unsure what to do. As they are prone to do, the Owens’ family
storms in and takes over, offering help, protection and their business skills.
As a temporary measure, the multi-generational Owens family comes to the rescue
helping with the investigation, running the restaurant and helping Wig and Nibs
try to obtain some type of normalcy.
For the first
time in months, Wig enjoyed working in the restaurant, smiling and joking with
the customers and being himself. The old ladies fluttered under Sam’s charm,
the teenage girls drooled over Paul, and more than one man and woman blinked
when Skandik walked out of the kitchen. Wig laughed under his breath. Six gay
men and all of them in love, causing a stir among the tourists.
While
Wig and Nibs are convinced their neighbors are perpetrating a hate crime
against them, the police are not persuaded. There is no proof that their
neighbors, Indian businessmen, are behind the violence, and the overt actions
the businessmen have taken in an effort to destroy the Lagoon seem to focus on
the family wanting their property, even though they are resorting to
underhanded tactics.
When
a second break-in occurs and Wig and Nibs realize their lives may be in danger,
the two men decide maybe selling their prized restaurant is the best thing to
do. Business has been declining and the two men are working way too many hours.
The break-in
probably signified the end of their life here. They could replace everything,
but what was the point? A thriving restaurant a year ago, even before the
break-in it was barely worth opening up each day. Eighteen months ago, new neighbours
had moved in next door and opened an Indian restaurant, the Royal Taj.
Initially the new neighbours – Ghuram Sawar, his parents, and his cousins – had
been pleasant, and Wig and Nibs had enjoyed more than a few meals in their
restaurant. After a few months, however it because clear Ghuram Sawar wanted Nibs
and Wig’s place, the Blue Lagoon restaurant, so he could knock through to make
one massive restaurant. Initially he had offered to buy Nibs and Wig out at a
more-than-generous price. Wig and Nibs gave it serious consideration, but they
were happy in Sandown, on the Isle of Wight, and didn’t want to move. After
their polite refusal, the relationship with the Sawars had turned icy, and that
had been the start of an insidious campaign to drive away Nibs and Wig’s
customers that had left the Blue Lagoon almost on its knees.
Brown
does a wonderful job developing these characters throughout the series.
Although readers have met Wig and Nibs in the first two books, Brown’s
concentration on this couple in the last book helps the readers understand not
only Wig and Nibs, but also all of the characters better.
Wig
and Nibs, a decade apart in age, have been lovers for a long time. Their
relationship is complex, and like real-life couples, they sometimes butt heads
and are not always honest with each other. Brown explores this part of their
relationship and highlights the affection these two men have for each other. As
opposed to the other two books in the series, this book brings the reader into
an established relationship that provides a catalyst for the other couples.
 Through writing skills and a bit of plot
manipulation, Brown contrasts the relationship of Wig and Nibs, two men, with
Jim and Mattie, the matriarch and patriarch of the Owens clan; Paul and Olaf,
the newest couple; and Sam and Liam, the newlyweds. Between the couples’
actions and words and the sage comments of Rose, Brown develops a chaotic and
loving family dynamic.
Although
all of the aspects of the series are not neatly tied up with a ribbon, (as
Brown notes immigration laws can be long and tedious) Brown has done a great
job putting the proverbial cherry on top of the Isle of Wight series. The open
ended resolve to some of the conflicts, the angst, and, of course, the sadness
of a death, adds an element of realism to the story.

 

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