Reviewed by Helyce
Malcolm Kavanagh took a big risk when he went after Owen Watson, professed his feelings and asked him to stay with him in London. He really had no clue what he was getting himself into, but at that moment he just knew he couldn’t let Owen leave. It would have been the biggest mistake of his life. Owen agreeing to stay with him was the easy part, however.
Malcolm may be the older man here, but Owen is definitely the more experienced when it comes to relationships and feelings. Malcolm is floundering in unchartered territory having never been in love before and every day there is something to learn or some challenge to overcome. Owen is patient as Malcolm attempts to learn how to share his home and his life with Owen especially when Malcolm’s job becomes more and more demanding. When Owen gets his own job in an area Malcolm finds less than desirable, Malcolm will get a crash course in Relationship 101.
City Mouse begins right where Country Mouse ended. Owen has returned to Malcolm’s flat agreeing that this relationship definitely has potential. They are in the honeymoon phase where everything is new and the world outside can be ignored for a little while. Until Malcolm has to return to work, that is, and Malcolm and Owen’s reality comes crashing back. Owen is able to keep himself busy, but he wants a job of his own. It’s important that he be self sufficient. Unfortunately, the job he does find-while perfect for Owen in every way-does not meet Malcolm’s standards and becomes the catalyst for their first major disagreement.
I enjoyed revisiting Owen and Malcolm as they navigate their new relationship. Malcolm having never been in a relationship, much less having been in love, makes a lot of assumptions and a lot of mistakes. But knowing Malcolm and his take charge attitude, this did not come as any sort of surprise to me. It didn’t surprise Owen either and I loved how his character moved through each event with calm and patience until Malcolm steps over the line and Owen is forced to speak out.
I love how this story is told from a week to week perspective. Owen is very close to his mother, who misses him terribly but supports his decision to stay in London and explore this relationship with Malcolm. When they speak, she counsels him lovingly as she explains what he can expect over a six week period-from the honeymoon phase to the dreaded sixth week and Relationship Armageddon-which she insists, will be a turning point in their relationship. As day to day life intrudes upon their new and somewhat fragile relationship, Owen starts to see what his mom has been trying to tell him and he starts to get anxious as they approach week six.
Owen’s job choice becomes their main source of contention because it doesn’t fit Malcolm’s view of what Owen should have for himself. I felt Malcolm’s push for Owen to have a better job and more money came from a really good place within Malcolm. Initially, you feel like it’s all about ‘status’ and ‘money’ but I began to realize that it truly was less about that and more about Malcolm wanting something better for Owen. It really becomes the bridge by which Owen helps Malcolm to understand that all they need is each other; that the materialistic things while nice were not necessities.
What comes through the most, though, is the strength of the relationship between Malcolm and Owen. Though Malcolm gets a little crazy when he and Owen argue and I was truly worried there for a minute by his choices, you never get the feeling that they would consider anything but doing whatever was necessary to work it out. And though Malcolm clearly has a long way to go, his character’s growth from the last book through this one was perfectly done.
While Malcolm and Owen are definitely in focus here, the authors round out the story with a fun cast of secondary characters that we meet via Owen’s new job. From motherly Emmaline to sexpot Wendy there are many laughs as well as emotional heartfelt moments. I had a nice warm and fuzzy feeling at the end of this story and I certainly hope it is not the last we see of this couple.