Hi there! Today I’m sharing a Throwback Thursday review for a book I read a while back from Philip William Stover. THE HIDEAWAY INN is the first book in his Seasons of New Hope series, and features a reconnection romance between two men who loved in their teens, and are reconnected in their old hometown of New Hope, Pennsylvania.
About the book:
High school wasn’t the right time or place for their relationship to grow, but now, fifteen years later, a chance encounter changes both of their lives forever.
No one in the charming river town of New Hope, Pennsylvania, needs to know that Vince Amato plans on flipping The Hideaway Inn to the highest bidder and returning to his luxury lifestyle in New York City. He needs to make his last remaining investment turn a profit…even if that means temporarily relocating to the quirky small town where he endured growing up. He’s spent years reinventing himself and won’t let his past dictate his future.
But on his way to New Hope, Vince gets stuck in the middle of nowhere and his past might be the only thing that can get him to his future. Specifically Tack O’Leary, the gorgeous, easygoing farm boy who broke his heart and who picks Vince up in his dilapidated truck.
Tack comes to the rescue not only with a ride but also by signing on to be the chef at The Hideaway for the summer. As Vince and Tack open their hearts to each other again, Vince learns that being true to himself doesn’t mean shutting down a second chance with Tack—it means starting over and letting love in.
Vince Amato grew up in western New Jersey, just across the Delaware from New Hope, Pennsylvania, a bastion of acceptance for LGBTQ folk. “Skinny Vinny” was horribly teased for his thin frame, studious nature, and supposed homosexuality. As soon as he could escape, Vince did–and he made a lot of money in realty in NYC. A professional gaffe, however, has put him on the outs with his investment firm, and he’s just bought The Hideaway Inn in New Hope with the intention of fixing it up and selling it at the end of the summer, to a hotel conglomerate looking for boutique properties.
With the Memorial Day weekend approaching, Vince’s travel plans go completely awry, and he’s unwillingly rescued by his former high school crush/clandestine lover, Tack O’Leary. Tack would never have come out in school–his old man and best pals were pretty serious homophobes, but he had a yearning for the thin, nerdy Vinny, and is relishing the opportunity to reconnect now that 15 years and a whole lot of maturity have passed between them.
Vince’s hotel is nearly ready to be condemned, but the kitchen is serviceable, and when his tempermental chef quits, Tack comes to the rescue a second time. And, a third and a fourth, because Tack is really jazzed to help Vince, if he can make the Hideaway a place people want to visit. Vince tries to use his finely-honed body and icy manner to keep Tack at a remove, but Tack’s gregariousness, and his earnest desire to both help Vince and build his own rep as a budding chef (in training) has Vince letting him in closer than nearly anyone in his life. In fact, to save costs and facilitate their partnership in business, Tack ends up rooming in Vince’s two-bedroom owner’s suite. Much to Vince’s frustration.
Tack’s life has changed a LOT over the years, though, and he’s not only come out, he’s divorced his wife and is co-parenting their young child, who may be trans. It’s a mind-bind for Vince, but he’s grateful for the changes, and for Tack’s help and friendship. Unfortunately, if Vince turns around and sells the Hideaway, well, that will be the end of their budding reconnection–and romance. But, New Hope proves to be living up to its name, and Vince’s life couldn’t be more complete even with a fat bank account and a Manhattan penthouse.
It’s a sweet story and Vince is treated pretty roughly by the author; he takes a licking and keeps on ticking though, just like he did back in high school. His life goals and ambition are hard to set aside, but the connections he’s making in New Hope sure go a long way toward smoothing the transition into a new path. Tack is a good guy, and I think it’s just as easy for the reader to forgive his youthful mistakes, as Vince finds it to do. He really trusts Vince in a way he hasn’t trusted many partners, and his fear that Vince will leave him again is palpable.
It’s a great start to a series, with lots of fun and spunky side characters. The descriptions are thorough without bogging pacing, even when we’re looking backward into Vince and Tack’s childhoods. I could nearly smell the briny waters off the Delaware, and hope to see more great stories in the future.
About the Author:
Philip William Stover splits his time between Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and New York City. He has an MFA in writing and is a clinical professor at New York University.
As a freelance journalist, his essays and reviews have appeared in Newsday, the Forward, the Tony Awards, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Houston Chronicle, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and other national publications. For many years he ghosted for an international best-selling women’s fiction author. He has published multiple middle-grade novels for Simon & Schuster and was the American Theater critic for About.com.
He grew up tearing the covers off the romance novels he devoured so he wouldn’t get teased at school. Now he enjoys traveling the world with his husband of over twenty years and would never consider defacing any of the books he loves.
You can find Philip on his website, and twitter.
Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!