Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️
I’m a relatively new reader of MM romance. With the creation of the Vino & Veritas world, my expansion into this romance has grown exponentially. Obviously, this limits me in that my breadth of knowledge about this sub-genre is limited. But what I’ve found in it has slaked my thirst for new aspects of romancelandia.
In romance at large, one of my favorite tropes is second chances. There is the requisite angst of whether “they should or shouldn’t” renew their interest in each other. You find yourself lost in the tension that drives the story forward, a tension oftentimes not resolved until the last moments of the story. With these types of stories, there is an emotional investment because the two characters have been disappointed previously or driven apart by life’s events. With Laurel Greer’s Turnabout, all of these qualities find purchase in a story so delectable in its steam, so demonstrative in its message about forgiving the past to find a future, and decided in its insistence on a happy ending for its two main characters, Auden and Carter.
At its core, Turnabout handles the difficult topics of familial acceptance and taking chances. Through the scope of Auden and Carter, the reader is treated to two entwined separate journeys that span a decade. Greer’s focus on the changes in Auden and Carter from their early twenties to their mid-thirties shows the ways that people change, how people grow. Yet, even in their growth, we find with Auden and Carter that feelings and thinking remain the same. After a decade apart, Auden and Carter are still madly attracted to each other, but their lives, their values, seem oppositional. As Turnabout progresses, what we find is Carter’s need to be accepted by his father, and Auden’s fear of failure. Both of these needs are wrapped in their past experiences, and it takes much of Greer’s story to bring about the healing that they each require.
What I loved about this story is, firstly, its sensorial nature. Over and over again, Auden and Carter crave each other’s tastes, smells, and touches. It adds a profound sensory eroticism that isn’t often found in romance stories. It was profound enough in Turnabout to pique my intrigue at Greer’s choices in highlighting Carter’s “salty taste” at his throat.
Even more, the tension that Greer so carefully builds keeps you suspended in her story. There is no guarantee that Carter and Auden will find a happy ending to their journey. In fact, all seems lost fairly late in her book, but then Greer crafts this beautiful grand gesture, and she rights the book in a multitude of ways. By the story’s end, your hunger for their happily-ever-after is satiated by her epilogue and bonus epilogue. For me, there is a maturity to Auden and Carter’s love that lends a gravity to the totality of the book, making the story feel soulful in its evolution.
I am so thankful for stories such as Laurel Greer’s Turnabout. They aren’t incredibly flashy in their nature; instead, they hone in on truths about life and use the journeys of its characters to remind readers that an HEA can be found even when it seems impossible. Even more, Turnabout in itself is an apt reminder that being seen and loved are the greatest wants of people.
In love and romance,