Book Reviews

Dirty Sexy Stupid Love by Sophia Soames

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by ParisDude on 05-September-2023

Book Blurb

In the weeks leading up to his best friend’s wedding, twenty-three-year-old Harry Thunder truly hits rock bottom. Existing in a haze of vodka and self-destruction, there’s more to Harry’s obnoxious behaviour than meets the eye.

But life, as he knows it, is about to change, and not even Harry can stop the tsunami of feelings when he finally realises that he’s allowed to be happy. That he’s just as loveable as people like…Owen Cartwright.

Owen is large and loud and calls everyone
babes, while Harry can’t even string a coherent sentence together, let alone get through the day without life punching him in the face.

But perhaps sometimes being exactly who you are can be why people fall in love with you.
Even if you’re not gay.
At all. 

Book Review

After “opposites attract,” I’m afraid we must add another trope to our ever-growing list in the romance genre (unless it already exists): “impossibles attract.” As in “no way these two guys could ever end up together, happily in love till the end of times—and yet maybe they will…” Spoiler alert: as I pointed out in a recent Sophia Soames review, of course they do, and I’m the last person to protest.


In ‘Dirty Sexy Stupid Love’, set in a small town in the UK, the author introduces young Harry. A walking mess, a walking disaster, really. He has his infrequent sweet moments, but normally? What defines him would be no social skills whatsoever, harsh and cutting remarks, and violence when he’s had too many pints or shots of vodka. Unfortunately, that happens a bit too often for his rare friends’ liking. There are only three of them left, anyway. His bestie Eddie, whom he has known ever since they learned to walk. Eddie’s lover and husband-to-be Joe, who suffers Harry’s existence for Eddie’s sake. And Joe’s university buddie Owen, a calm, almost self-effacing young nurse with quite a heavy load of complexes for not being the epitome of the slender, muscular gay guy. He’s the only one seemingly capable of canalizing Harry’s frequent bouts of booziness. Canalizing, I should add, is probably too grandstanding a word. He manages to calm him down more or less, putting up with him at his house for a couple of hours until Harry has sobered up.


The problem is, Eddie’s and Joe’s wedding is fast approaching. Trust Joe’s mother to make this an event even more important than any recent royal wedding ceremony. Now, Harry is Eddie’s best man, Owen is Joe’s. So, everybody would love Harry to be on his best behavior on D day. Which won’t be a mean feat. Because what Harry tries to cover up behind his limitless alcohol consumption is the gruesome emptiness and meaninglessness of his life. Self-proclaimed straighter-than-thou guy, his childhood and teenage years were a horrible experience devoid of love, respect, or simply esteem, his recently divorced parents being too busy pushing their own selfish schemes. He has never had a lover, shies away from closeness or even people touching him, and his career is currently going down the drain. He has taken over his late father’s successful business, only to discover that before dying sweet Daddy emptied the bank accounts and crippled the company with debts from here to the Shetland Islands. He’s about to lose his job, his house, everything, owing money to countless people and institutions probably for the rest of his life. He thinks his friends don’t know about it, but he’s sorely mistaken. They are afraid he might go over the edge. Under these circumstances, Eddie and Joe don’t understand why, on a whim, Owen takes Harry in when the resulting cohabitation promises to be an outstanding debacle…


Is it? Isn’t it? Only one way to find out: read the book. Which is once again a perfect blend of real-life drama, well presented, well explained, well developed, and sweet if struggling romance. There is unrequited love, there are two back stories, one of which is singularly compelling and painful, there is again the nod to the life-long effort to become a fully functioning grown-up that each of us has to shoulder. There is light and shadow; hopeful moments, moments of despair. And loads of meaningful, real-life dialogs that keep the story moving, show the characters’ evolution, evoke their chemistry, their interwovenness. Sophia Soames’s talent demonstrates how difficult it is, sometimes, to put one’s feelings, one’s experiences into words that can mean something to one’s interlocutor.


Harry and Owen are simply cute to watch, despite their flaws, their hesitations, their drawbacks, their flaring panics (or perhaps because of them, precisely). They struck me as two relatable, loveable young men whom I could easily imagine being real, not mere characters in a novel. And their friends! A bit faded, a bit blurry, not very empathic at the beginning, they put on weight and meaning as the read pages overtook the pages still to read. They were a beautiful example of unconditional love between two individuals, and when the going got really tough, they stood by Harry (and Owen) without asking any questions. Even Joe, who held an understandable teenage grudge against Harry, came around in the end and showed him that they not only could be, but should be friends.


Despite what could be considered dark themes, this novel was a feel-good book. I liked how the two main characters, from being incapable of communicating, for several reasons, worked out how to do it, and to exchange and share so many of their hidden parts with each other. Big thumbs up for ‘Dirty Sexy Stupid Love’ (and by the way, I love the title!).




DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the author. This book has been provided by the author for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 196 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-July-2023
Price $6.16 ebook and $13.99 paperback
Buy Link