Author: Greg Hogben
Length: 703 KB (290 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (July 30, 2012)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts-loved it
Blurb: British national Greg Stephens knew there would be challenges in his new relationship with handsome American Navy officer Danny Taylor: long distance; Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; the Defense of Marriage Act; US immigration….
But he didn’t anticipate his greatest obstacle: Danny’s born-again Christian mother, Vivien. A secretary in a small-town Southern Baptist church in Texas, she bristles at Greg’s secular beliefs. Through passive-aggressive manipulation, subtle deceit, or outright battle, Vivien resolves to banish Greg and return Danny to the fold, come hell or high water. Greg’s hold on Danny’s heart is pitted against Vivien’s crusade for Danny’s soul.
All the while, Greg devotes himself to keeping Danny happy while negotiating the cultural differences of his life in America. Danny’s new career as a lawyer takes them from his native Texas to New York. But with Vivien testing Greg’s stiff upper lip at every turn, something has to give.
Review: The British Devil is a long novel that encompasses several years’ worth of the relationship between Greg and Danny. all the way from their first meeting to a very nice happily ever after. Greg meets Danny just as he is finishing his tour in the Navy and heading back to the US for law school. As a British national, Greg knows that they have quite a few struggles ahead of them if their relationship is going to survive. Immigration laws are tough and Greg has several years of school ahead of him, but the biggest obstacle for the two men to overcome is Danny’s extremely religious and conservative mother.
I was excited to read this book because of its ties to the right wing conservative and religious population of Texas. Having lived there for a number of years, I am very familiar with the attitude of the gun toting, anti-gay, Baptist population. Obviously, not everyone in the area has the same beliefs, but Danny’s mom certainly would not be unusual in that area of the US.
This book touches on a number of very heavy subjects, but does so in an informative way that doesn’t really feel oppressive. Greg’s character has quite a bit of wit and humor in him and I am truly amazed at the patience he shows towards Danny’s mom. In fact, there were a number of times I wanted to smack Danny for his blindness and stupidity when it came to how his mother treated the partner he professed to care so much about.
I loved Greg….he was patient and kind, with a lighthearted humor that seemed to just win over everyone he encountered…except Danny’s mother. She was just freakishly scary in her religious beliefs and I couldn’t understand how she could ‘forgive’ her son for being gay, but had such a huge problem with Greg for not believing in God and Jesus the way she did. She did everything in her power to drag the two men apart and I really don’t know how the people in her life didn’t throttle her.
I was a little surprised that the ending offered such a rapid turnaround in terms of her opinions. There is an extremely heated scene with lots of screaming and all of a sudden there is crying and a completely new mom. I think the switch happened a little too fast for me to feel comfortable with. I was happy to see the happily ever after, but I think that portion needed a little bit more time to develop.
There were a few scenes where I thought the author delved a little too deeply into a thread that didn’t need that much analysis, but overall, he did a great job of showing us who each character was and how they got to be where they are today. The secondary characters were all well developed and I hope Tucker has a book coming up where he grows up a bit and finds someone he can have his own happily ever after with!
This is less of a romance and more of a look into the struggles a gay couple have to deal with in terms of society. It is sad that Danny and Greg (or any couple!) has to deal with this sort of stuff and I can only hope that laws in the US change QUICKLY so that other couples don’t have to go through what they did