Title: Something New
Author: Tia Fielding
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
Amazon Buy Link: Something New
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Length: Novella (130 pages)
Rating: 2.75 stars
A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: A nice enough romance with an unfortunately predictable storyline.
For thirty-five-year-old writer Frank Hudson and his partner of fourteen years, the spark is dead, and its time to move on. Frank sets his sights on a sleepy town in Vermont, where he plans to start over in peace and quiet—plans that are destroyed when fireman Conner O’Malley literally blazes onto the scene. To Frank, the tattooed, redheaded twenty-three-year-old and his bright smile are a flash of light in an otherwise dreary life.
But it’s a tricky situation right from the beginning. Frank’s passionless relationship has left him doubting that anyone could ever find him attractive. Conner is juggling a demanding job and the unexpected responsibility of playing dad to his little brother and sister. Battling their own insecurities, Conner’s demanding schedule, and small-town homophobia is hard work—but sometimes hard work pays off.
The novella, Something New, by Tia Fielding was a hard one for me to rate. It was not so much that it was a bad novella–because it wasn’t. Instead it was remarkably safe..remarkably predictable and never really grabbed me by the heart in order to be anything more than a “nice” read.
Frank Hudson has watched the magic, the passion, drain from his marriage. His husband and he have fallen into that season of married life where the comfortable has become the norm, sex is a rarity and the moments of feeling truly alive and wanted have fallen away. He asks for a divorce and as easily as that moves to Vermont to begin again. We find out that Frank is a writer of YA LGBT novels, a quite successful writer. Between the ex buying out his half of their home and his writing, Frank is able to live simply and comfortably without the need of a day job to supplement his income.
His life acquires a lonely sense of routine that includes a daily walk in the woods behind his house. It is at the beginning of one such stroll that he sees smoke pouring from the trailer of an elderly neighbor man. Calling 911, he hurries to see if he can help, only to discover the horrifying fact that the man has been burned alive. During this disturbing scene, Ms. Fielding opts to introduce Frank to his future love interest, Conner O’Malley, a firefighter who is 13 years younger than Frank.
As the story progresses, we find out that Conner, along with this sister Meagan, is raising their younger brother and sister after the death of their mother to cancer a year before. Amazingly, in this small town in Vermont, both Meagan and her precocious younger brother have not only heard of Frank’s YA work, penned under a pseudonym, but read and loved it as well. In fact, it is through his work that he endears himself to the O’Malley clan, all save Conner who simply finds himself falling in love with Frank all on his own merit.
And the story goes on…there is a brief moment of angst toward the end, but nothing can derail this safe little novella from it’s sure destination of a HEA ending.
Something New was, unfortunately, not really new at all. The story line felt a bit forced and formulaic. Everything from the divorce to the chance meeting of Frank and Conner had a “been there, read that” kind of feel to it. Plus, it was all so very smooth, amicable, and I am sorry to say, just nice. Please don’t get me wrong, there is a lot to be said for a “nice” story with strong characters and a good storyline. The problem is that Something New fell just short of all those things. I felt like the characters were never fully fleshed out. The storyline limped along rather predictably and the ending…well, I definitely felt I had read one like it before–the same feel, the same form of it was so very familiar.
I gave this novella 2.75 stars because there was really nothing glaringly wrong with it. Instead it was just okay, just enough. I would like to read something else by Tia Fielding, I feel she has all the makings of an author I would enjoy given the right storyline and a bit more depth. And so, dear reader I leave you with Something New by Tia Fielding, a nice book and a simple read.