Title: A San Francisco Romance: The Story of Ryan and Leland
Author: Brandon Carlisle
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 356 Pages
Category: Gay Fiction
At a Glance: This story is akin to enjoying a warm cup of coffee… Take your time, slow yourself down, and enjoy.
Reviewed By: Carrie
Blurb: A San Francisco Romance: The Story of Ryan and Leland takes place when the city was establishing the reputation of being the Gay Mecca of the country. The Flower Power and hippie movement of the sixties had established permanent residence in several neighborhoods. “Out and Proud” was commonplace in many areas and businesses with little or no push back. There was still resistance, and life may not have been perfect for us, but it was home to a growing gay population and rights movement. Two people with vastly different backgrounds somehow find common ground during this period.
Ryan McClure has lived in the city most of his adult life. He has a job he loves at the finest hotel in San Francisco, The Exeter House. Not into casual hookups, his misadventures in the dating scene have left him content to stay at home and read, and on the rare occasion, go out with his small circle of friends. One lazy afternoon while having lunch with friends, he spots a man he has only seen in a photograph, and it sparks a longing for the life he hasn’t had.
Leland Carter’s adult life was centered around responsibility. First was the business degree from Harvard, second was assuming control of the family business. Never one to shirk responsibility, Leland never considered a personal life, and relationships were out of the question. His recent purchase of The Exeter House gave him the opportunity to hold onto one of the most cherished memories of his youth. While exploring the city, he stops at a local bar and, for the first time in many years, a man piques his interest. Shaking off the attraction he returns to his hotel room, trying to put the young man out of his mind, fearing the breach of habits that has kept him safe and secure for years.
Two people with widely differing backgrounds and values are thrown together and offered a chance at true happiness. How successfully they address personal fears and challenges, and grow individually, and together, will determine their ability to find what they need in one another.
There is romance, tenderness, some explicit sex, and the story takes place during the rise of the gay movement in San Francisco.
Review: This is a slow-burn romance, and it is obvious on every page the author is as in love with his setting as he is his characters. This book is an homage to San Francisco in the mid-70s, and it comes across quite clearly that Carlisle has an affinity for the city and the people who live there.
It is a slower novel and, frankly, it lags a little in the middle, but the HEA for Leland and Ryan does happen. And, at the end of the book, I could think of them in their new house in Lower Russian Hill with a smile and leave them there. This story is akin to enjoying a warm cup of coffee… Take your time, slow yourself down, and enjoy.
Losing his parents—essentially, one after the other when he was fresh out of high school—was one of the pivotal things that helped shape the man Ryan became. Putting aside his hopes for college, he went to work in the receiving department of the Exeter Hotel, a place that would become his home. Now, seven years later, the hotel has been sold to new owners and Ryan once again is put in a place of uncertainty, not knowing what to expect from the new management. He’s done alright for the last few years. The first ones after his parents died were tough, but he has created a place for himself, and he is happy with his life. The instant attraction he feels for his new boss can’t be good, but his fantasies could never be reality… Could they?
Leland Carter has everything he could ever want, at least physically. Emotionally, not so much. Buying the Exeter Hotel is as much an emotional decision as it is a business one. Yes, the hotel is world-renown and a solid investment, but it is also home to memories from his childhood—good memories of the family he used to have and the good times spent within its walls. Leland is looking for purpose; he can’t complain about his life, but it isn’t truly fulfilling either. Stepping into the halls of Exeter House for him is like coming home, and it feels like the hotel and the city it stands in is embracing him and offering him acceptance and solace for the first time since his parents’ death. The incredibly kind, handsome receiving manager isn’t so bad either, and it is love at first sight for Leland. Now he doesn’t want just the hotel but the man who works inside it too.
The courtship of Ryan and Leland will take you on a tour of all the highlights of San Francisco, and touch briefly and lightly on what life was like for homosexual men in the 1970s. The writing in this book is very formal and as such, the story feels almost formal at times; even the lighthearted moments are met with complete sentence structure, but don’t let that keep you from enjoying the story. The ending of the book is incredibly romantic and will do your heart good if you let it. The wedding vows for Ryan and Leland are swoon worthy, even if they weren’t legal in a court of law.
“As I have given you my hand to hold
So I give you my life to keep.”
Sniff. There’s something in my eye. I do recommend this book, but be aware it is a slow burn and can be a bit like a tour guide to San Francisco.
You can buy A San Francisco Romance: The Story of Ryan and Leland here:
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