Review – A Bar Tender Tale – Melanie Tushmore
Where to start with this one? Perhaps with the admission that I put it down a few times in the beginning, slightly annoyed by the litany of Things That Show Nathan Is Very Gothic. But I got over my annoyance with that later, realising that in fact, I own a loofah with a bat on it, so maybe it wasn’t all that bad. I decided I could just go along with him not having grown up yet.
Like I say, I got past that, and enjoyed the fact that the prose was good, despite a few early awkward attempts at exposition that made me abandon it again in a fit of pique a few times for a short while.
I’m telling you this because once I got over these admittedly minor annoyances (it’s worth bearing in mind that I am particularly highly strung when it comes to good storycraft), the book was good enough for me to get genuinely excited over. I came to enjoy Nathan as a character, especially, and he went from being irritatingly Very Gothic You Guys to genuinely interesting and endearing. Auryn, his love interest, whilst less well-developed, is an interesting enough character who Nathan is clearly interested in, which is the important bit.
What really rescued this book from okay to brilliant was something I don’t see very often: a story that ended in the place it ought to have, without being overwrought. It finishes up without an ‘and then they lived happily ever after andadoptedsixcatsanddiedineachother’sarmsbecauseit’strueloveyouguys’ ending, but with a simple fade-to-black on what is obviously a happy relationship, but doesn’t have to be forever. It’s such a refreshing change that despite a bit of a rocky start, I’m giving it a solid (wait for it)…
4 stars. For excellent concept, good execution, and a solid ending that wasn’t overwrought or too sappy.