Book review: The Burnt Toast B&B, by Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz

Belleau Burnt ToastBelleau, Heidi and Haimowitz, Rachel. The Burnt Toast B&B. (Wolf’s Landing series). Riptide Publishing. 2015. $13.59. 215p. PB. 9781626492172

Derrick Richards owns a failing bed and breakfast in a Bluewater Bay, a prime tourist destination thanks to the popular supernatural TV show Wolf’s Landing. When his most recent clients flee their reservation early, Derrick decides to let the place die a quick death and move on with his life. However, when Ginsberg Sloan, a stuntman on Wolf’s Landing, lands on his doorstep, he ruins Derrick’s plans of letting the business molder. Ginsberg is out of work thanks to a broken arm. Derrick can’t bring himself to send the man away directly and begrudgingly sets him up in the worst room available with the intent to drive him out with bad service.

Ginsberg doesn’t fall for Derrick’s games. He sets his sights on making the B&B into a project, working with Derrick to revitalize the business. Derrick’s life is thrown for a major loop. Not only does he end up with a successful business that he never wanted, but he and Ginsberg start to fall for one another with unexpected consequences. Tangled up with his own insecurities and sense of masculinity, Derrick has to tackle his own sense of self in order to keep the man he loves in his life.

At its core, Burnt Toast B&B is about coping with and overcoming insecurities and feelings of inadequacy. In this case, its Derrick’s ingrained sense of masculinity and what he should be like as a man. The novel is also about making a space for yourself where you’re comfortable.

Burnt Toast B&B is an excellent romance with a transgender character that is well researched and presents gender in a non-objectified manner. Additionally, Belleau and Haimowitz actively address the issues of fetishization of transgender people within the narrative in a way that makes sense and never feels heavy-handed.

An excellent representation of under-represented identities is wrapped up in an adorable package with a side order of sexy lumberjacks. Highly recommended for library romance collections.

Amy Call, Reference Librarian

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