Book Reviews

Love You So Special (Love You So 3) by Tara Lain

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Artists/Actors/Musicians/Authors / Blue-Collar Workers / Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 04-May-2021

Book Blurb

The plumber, the pianist, and a tank full of fish.

Artie knows he’s nothing special—just-your-regular-brown hair, a solid plumber’s job, not much education, and a family that can barely get off the couch.

Francois was born special— famous, rich, and revered as one of the world’s great classical composers and pianists.

But then Artie loves tropical fish, his existential philosophy-quoting neighbor, and anything that Francois plays.

While Francois’s fear of crowds reaches near paralysis and only Artie’s strength and certainty gets him through.

This might be a match made in heaven if Artie can believe he deserves it.



First edition published by Dreamspinner Press, September 2018.


Book Review

“I love the way you care for me, make me feel safe, when wrapped in your arms... you protect'll always be there for me...I love the way you talk to me...kiss me… look at me...your eyes, your smile...your voice...I love everything about you. You're perfect in my eyes.” ~ Jenna

At best Artie Hayes, of 'Love You So Special' by Tara Lain, has always thought of himself as boring, dumb, and nothing special. He loves his family but recognizes that they are unmotivated settling for what they have. Artie helps them out financially sometimes, but it makes him sad., He has accepted their attitude is most likely not going to change, but Artie doesn't want to turn into his father.

Artie likes his job as a plumber, but he doesn't have much in common with the men he works with, who are crude and often lazy. What hurts even more is that they are homophobic, often making hurtful comments. Artie knows he is gay, but has not come out. He is afraid that his blue-collar workers would not take kindly to Artie if he shared his secret, so Artie keeps a low profile, works hard, and keeps his mouth shut. Artie's latest job is working at an enormous concert hall. He especially likes sneaking into the auditorium and listening to the beautiful music. It doesn't matter that he's not familiar with the style; all he cares about is that it makes him feel good. On the last day of the job, he hears music, although no one is supposed to be there. Artie follows the melodious sound until he reaches the auditorium. Someone is playing the most beautiful sounds he's ever heard. Before he knows it, the music abruptly stops and Artie feels bereft; he wants to hear more.

When his boss offers him a job building a guest house, he warns him that two men have already been fired, but he's hopeful because Artie is such a good guy and a hard worker and he hopes Madame will appreciate that. Yet, when his boss introduces Artie to Madame, the owner of the house, and her son, Francois, Artie wonders if he will last, because he is not sure if anyone will meet with her approval. While on his lunch break, Artie is thrilled to hear the same glorious sound that he heard in the auditorium, coming from the main house. When he realizes that Francois, the young man in the ragged clothes he met earlier, is famous, Artie researches him, his life, and his music. Even though he doesn't have much formal education, Artie has one of the most important qualities in life – he isn't afraid to ask questions or search out information about things he isn't familiar with. For example, even though the music is new to him, he asks questions about it and learns that it is written by Chopin, he makes sure he knows how to pronounce it.

Francois Demarais has been a recluse for years, terrified of people, especially crowds but, for some reason, Artie makes him feel safe. Francois is impressed with Artie's wit, natural charm, and his curiosity. Mostly, Francois is impressed that Artie can sense his mood by the way he plays and insists that Artie must be associated with music to be able to feel and hear such a thing. When Artie tells him that he has no musical experience, Francois is even more impressed. Francois realizes that Artie's appreciation comes from the fact that he simply listens. Yes, he is famous and has many fans, but Francois feels that no one has really listened to what Francois wants or needs for years.

Francois and Artie are very loveable men, although, for entirely different reasons, neither of them appreciates how special they are. Their love is special because they see in each other what no one else sees in them. Artie makes Francois feel safe and protected and Francois makes Artie realize that he's not as dumb as he pretends to be. They break out of their respective shells and take more control of their lives, something they may not have done without each other. Tara is an expert of taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary, making things happen that seem very improbable and make her characters’ situations happier. Also, even though I don't know how Tara does it, she has the ability to make me feel more sympathetic toward characters who initially seemed to be the bad guy. Of all her men, I have a special affinity for Francois and Artie and am happy they discovered each other. Thank you, Tara, for another poignant, endearing tale.





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Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novella, 186 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 04-May-2021
Price $3.99 ebook, $10.99 paperback
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