Gary Stringer's grown up, at least, that's what we're led to believe as we begin this long-awaited sequel to Bedknobs and Bachelors, where we were first introduced to Kathryn Brown's loveable lad-about-town.
As we catch up with Gary, it would appear he has, indeed, moved on from the man he once was. He's settled down. He has a family of his own now, good friends, a decent job, on the surface everything appears to be going well. But nothing is really as it seems, as we soon find out.
Seminars and Shenanigans is a funny, often laugh-out-loud story of a man struggling with what he feels he should do, and what it is he really wants out of life, because, of course, you only get one of those. And whilst Gary Stringer won't be everyone's cup of tea, I like him. Kathryn has created a character with depth, a jack-the-lad who is so much more than that, and she is one of those authors who knows how to write comedy. This book made me smile, a lot, but there were also times when I was shouting at my Kindle because Gary Stringer can also be incredibly frustrating. But that's good. If you find yourself caring about a character then the author has done their job, and I cared about Gary Stringer. Yes, he's cocky, but not arrogant. He knows he's flawed, and that's what makes him likeable, his vulnerability. There are many times when he questions himself, and his actions, because deep down he's a good man, who wants to do right by the people he loves. And that's what I loved about this story, the fact that Gary makes mistakes, and he realises that - sometimes too late, but that's life, right? But those mistakes are what moves the character, and his story, forward. In Seminars and Shenanigans Gary's dealing with another crossroads in his life, but a very different one this time around. He knows he has to grow up, once and for all, but that doesn't mean he has to do it the conventional way. He's doing it his way. And that's what makes this book a breath of fresh air. Gary's journey is one that forces him to face his demons, it's a wake-up call, and by the end of the book, yes, I still had a smile on my face, but also a slight lump in my throat.
Full of humour, eye-opening conquests (Kathryn Brown can write a HOT sex scene!), and with the ability to still tug at your heartstrings, I loved this book. Gary Stringer is one of those characters you don't forget in a hurry, and that's testament to the author's writing. Five stars from me, and if we ever get the chance to meet Gary Stringer again, well, I for one wouldn't complain.
Seminars and Shenanigans is out now, and it's FREE to read with Kindle Unlimited! It's also available in paperback.
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And if you want to find out how Gary Stringer's story began, why not check out Bedknobs and Bachelors? Also available to download, or in paperback.
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