Book Reviews

Taste (London Love) by Sophia Soames

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by ParisDude on 22-February-2022

Book Blurb

Finn Christensen doesn’t do feelings. He doesn’t do relationships. When he has an itch to scratch, there are always clubs and hook-ups. Quick, dirty encounters in dark places that feed the need that brews in the pit in his stomach. He works every hour of the day as the front office manager for the Clouds Westminster Hotel in central London. He’s a good boss, and he knows his shit.


Then Mark Quinton swans in like he owns the bloody place, and Finn’s carefully managed world starts to fall apart.

Mark Quinton is impulsive and stupid and childish. He’s the last person in the world who should be allowed to run the food and beverage department at the Clouds Westminster, however many brilliant ideas he has and somehow miraculously pulls off. He needs…something. He needs Finn Christensen.

It’s a match made in hell. A recipe for disaster. There will be a bloodbath one day. They both know that. Everyone knows.



Taste is the second book in the London Love series, following four extraordinary ordinary couples living real fairy-tales in the city of London. Taste is a hurt comfort, enemy to lovers romance set behind the scenes in a busy inner city business hotel. The books are all Standalone and can be read in any order, apart from Exhale which is best enjoyed after Breathe.

Trigger-warnings for off page mentions of domestic violence, depression, kleptomania, ADHD and culinary crimes involving cheese. HEA.

 

Book Review

Well, this book started with a bit of a surprise for me as Sophia Soames novels go—because it started with something of a bang. A steamy scene in a London nightclub with hints and innuendos I didn’t get at first and an ending that was almost shocking, it was so intense, breathless, urgent, almost violent and rapey (no worries, it featured two consenting adults, and no, it was definitely not a rape scene). I never got such tension, angst, and ferocity out of any other novel written by this author, who for me and until now was the epitome of quirky but sweet characters, who, as oddballs go, often do weird things, but never with such vehemence.

 

The two characters involved in this scene turned out to be the two main heroes of this second instalment in the ‘London Love’ series (duh): Finn Christensen, highly competent front office manager in a central London hotel, manly, serious, and work-focused to the point of being bland and off-putting for his colleagues. A loner, a harsh guy, not someone anybody would think of as boyfriend material. And his colorful “counterpart”, Mark Quinton, the young, witty, light-hearted manager responsible for the food and beverage department of “Finn’s” hotel. Superficial Mark with his long hair gathered in messy buns, his flashy shirts, tight trousers, constant jokes and banters, Mark, the guy everybody loves at first sight. Everybody except Finn, for whom, as the story unravels, that man is not only the exact opposite of everything he cherishes in his working world, but, as I learned little by little, reading chapter after chapter with bated breath, his personal nemesis, The Foe with capital letters—the guy who should never have crossed his path.

 

So, tension between these two hard-working guys (yes, Mark isn’t all that superficial, he is even exceedingly good at his job)? Check. Chemistry of the sort your chemistry teacher might warn you could lead to an explosion that might blast away everything around you? Check, again. Steam and shameful secret encounters because they cannot help it, they feel drawn to each other? Check, once more. Twists and turns and back stories on both sides that I neither expected nor even could guess at first? Check, check, check. A plausible explanation for that anger simmering beyond the surface? Check, again.

 

Yes, as I said, for a Sophia Soames book, this was new territory for me (I didn’t read them all yet, but I guess I read more than two thirds of them) because there was more tension and there were more “serious” issues in this one than in the others. As the secret problems of both guys were only slowly revealed, little crumb after little crumb, I even almost disliked one of the main characters at first—I’m talking about Finn. Well, I didn’t really dislike him (Sophia doesn’t do ghastly characters), but I had a harder time “getting” him and feeling close to him. I’m afraid that happened not because he was unlikeable or because the author might have done a bad job, for once, fleshing out a character (that was not the case), but because that first scene was still always ghosting around in my mind, and I was loath to forgive Finn too easily. But little by little, when I had picked up the author’s morsels one by one like Hänsel in the Grimm tale, I was allowed to approach Finn differently, and of course, as always when I read one of Sophia’s books, he won me over, and my heart went out for him.

 

What was really cleverly done was this creation of two almost caricaturally antagonistic characters, whom I encountered as sketched-out silhouettes at first, and then, the author filled in the traits, shadows and light bits, colors, more colors, until they were standing before me in all their naked glory, yet as visible as if the first sketches had magically turned into not even photos but holograms. And these colors showed me something quite different from my first impression: unsuscpected depths and struggles beneath Mark’s at-a-glance jovial superficiality; hurt and wounds and never really handled childhood issues (but not only) covering Finn’s hyper-sensitiveness with a veneer of cold don’t-get-too-close efficiency. And of course, throwing them into a confined work environment where they could only clash and bring out the worst (and best) in each other made much more sense. They were made for each other, and to follow their painful, difficult path from mutual destruction to mutual lifebuoys created a wonderful narrative I finished in almost one sitting.

 

So, another great romance, a bit apart from the others, that Sophia Soames has written here. The secondary characters eased and greased the whole story because they were just what I expected from Sophia—sweet and supportive and all borderline bonkers, just the way I love them. If the author showed me one thing in this book, it was an ability to also handle more difficult issues, more complex characters with hard back stories, without breaking a sweat, so to say. Another book I can only praise and recommend!

 

 

 

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, 290 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 21-November-2021
Price $5.81 ebook, $13.99 paperback
Buy Link https://www.amazon.com/TASTE-London-Love-SOPHIA-SOAMES-ebook/dp/B09DT94F8D