cover image Counter Culture

Counter Culture

J.L. Merrow. Riptide, $18.99 trade paper (344p) ISBN 978-1-62649-922-5

Merrow (Love at First Hate) delivers a delightfully nerdy gay romance. Harried 24-year-old retail worker Robin Christopher feels an instant spark with single-dad and steampunk fanatic Archie Levine when they happen to meet, and then keep running into each other, on the streets of Hitchworth, England. Though Robin knows nothing about steampunk, he finds Archie’s odd clothes and archaic manner of speaking charming, while Archie believes he is coming on too strong by not tempering his enthusiasm. Archie’s mom, Lyddie, intervenes, knowing Archie and Robin will never act on their feelings on their own, and the two embark on a relationship. But when the store where Robin works faces backlash over an offensive newspaper ad, socially conscious Lyddie becomes one of its chief detractors. Robin lies about where he works to avoid her disapproval, but as he and Archie grow closer, he worries his secret won’t stay hidden for long. This breezy, low-stakes novel showcases Merrow’s bright humor and strong voice. Readers will find plenty to love in this sweet romance. (Nov.)