Public Lives, Private Pleasures by Adrianna Dane
Descended from an old, very influential Virginia family with conservative views, Adrien has no desire to carry on the family’s political tradition. Still, he’s forced to hide his gay identity to protect the budding political career of his younger twin brother, Marsh, who wants to take up where their father, Senator Douglas Langtry, left off. There’s no room for mistakes, no matter how much Adrien hates living that lie.
It’s not until Adrien meets sexy Latin choreographer, Frankie Raphael, that his apathy evaporates, and he begins to questions his choices. Beautiful, passionate Frankie offers Adrien a glimpse into a world he’d only ever dared experience through the safety of the lens of his camera. Desire for Frankie makes his personal sacrifices seem suddenly unacceptable.
Dare Adrien jeopardize his brother’s political aspirations for a chance at his own happiness or will forces beyond his control slam the door shut on a life he’s only ever dreamed of? If he chooses to come out, their public lives be forever altered by the shocking revelation of their private pleasures.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I originally got this due to the positive reviews I’d read. Unfortunately I couldn’t connect with the characters at all and struggled to finish this. It ended up feeling bland with overwrought prose and failed to engage me in the least. There are some really good moments of emotion and the elements seem to be there – Adrien’s tragic past, painful existence, Frankie’s warm love – but they never came together for me in any meaningful way. Instead they seemed like pieces that should work but just didn’t.
The story is about artist Adrien who comes from a heavily political family. Forced into the closet by family demands, he’s struggling with keeping true to himself while not separating from his family. He’s handling the dual existence ok when he meets choreographer Frankie and finally desires a man beyond all his efforts to stay away. Now Adrien slowly lets himself out of the closet and away from the demands of his family. It’s not easy but with Frankie’s support, he may create a happy life after all.
The methodical building of Adrien and Frankie’s relationship is really a highlight. They don’t jump into bed immediately despite the instant sexual chemistry. The sex scenes are very good and even the threesome with Frankie’s occasional boy toy is well handled and erotic. Adrien has some deep seated issues and it’s nice that Frankie not only acknowledges those but worries that instant love and sex is not the cure. Although going from a virgin to participating in threesomes is a bit of a fast turn around for Adrien, the story attempts to show some emotional growth at the same time.
Unfortunately like I said I just couldn’t connect with the story or characters. I wanted to like Adrien since he has the tragic, broken stereotype down pat. He’s a wounded soul that you can’t help but want to see happy. Unfortunately the prose was really what kept me disconnected since it felt overworked and tried too hard. There was no effortless feeling to the writing but instead it’s heavy and carefully chosen, which kept the pace clunky and uneven. Perhaps this won’t be an issue for fans of the author. I’ve read other books by Dane and don’t remember disliking the writing but it definitely stood out here for me. The beginning especially felt too overworked and I just couldn’t get into the story.
Once the two get together, this picks up somewhat but Adrien’s family drama came in as a distraction. Adrien’s twin brother goes from the classically plastic politician to his own brand of broken but the entire subplot feels manipulated. It offers an easy solution to the problem and yet it’s meant to be a genuine reconciliation and hope for the future. I couldn’t buy into it and didn’t appreciate the resolution to the issues brought up.
This easily could be personal preference and for the reasons stated this just didn’t work for me. I’d suggest reading an excerpt and if you’re engaged, go for it.
Get it HERE!