Dreamspinner Press, July 15, 2011
When Michael accepts a company assignment overseas, he doesn't count on being dumped by his boyfriend on the way to the airport. The breakup is a bad omen--Michael's time in Europe would be one long misery of loneliness and corporate backbiting if it weren’t for his friendship with his coworker, Stephan.
When he finds out Stephan wants more than friendship, Michael is torn. Even if he chooses to risk his one bright relationship in Europe for a chance at love, when this project is over, isn't his only choice to say goodbye?
Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Contemporary, The Netherlands, Cultural differences, Colleagues, Corporate issues
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 1 out of 3 flames
Guest review by Leontine:
The thing that grabbed my attention immediately when I read the blurb was the fact this story had a Dutch setting. As I’m a Dutch gal myself I was curious how the Dutch landmarks, food and customs were incorporated and described. Aside from this fact I already read a story or two from this author in his Farm series which I enjoyed immensely.
When I began reading those initial chapters of Dutch Treat I got to meet Michael Dougherty. The first thing I noticed was that a lot of pages were spent on giving the reader a taste of his work and private life. While the developments at his work facilitated the reason for him to move to the Netherlands there was nothing that furthered my initial enthusiasm. Michael is a nice, hardworking man who has a semiserious fling going on at first with Devon. This attraction flickers and dies quickly as Michael moves to the Netherlands to take over a project. So far the story was nice, the writing easy to read but overall there wasn’t much that grabbed my attention.
Michael is an amiable man who gives his all for the job at hand. He is a problem solver and has natural leader traits which serve him in his job and, as it turns out, later in the budding romance as well. The moment he sets foot on Dutch soil is where the fun for me begins. I know this might only be the case for readers, who like me, live in the Netherlands. I just smiled when I recognized places, like where Michael temporarily lived; Vianen. I really enjoyed all the things Michael experienced; his first croquette, how he viewed Dutch architecture or going to the beach which has a name he can’t pronounce. I never thought ‘Scheveningen’ would be a difficult name to pronounce in English.
Stephan van der Poel is a colleague of Michael and takes him under his wing. Stephan shows him places, they have dinner and from there on an attraction blooms that initially unsettles Michael. He doesn’t want to ruin the growing friendship between them. Stephan is an all-round likable guy who has a sweet demeanor and has a very open personality. As the story progresses they see a lot of the Netherlands, and even some of Belgium. I really liked both Michael and Stephan, their dialogue flowing and the magnetism between them palpable. However, not once in the story did their dynamics really leap of the pages, drawing me deeper in to their tale.
There is a development where work and private life entwine within Dutch Treat. With someone scheming away in small minded power play games there was a buildup of subtle tension that becomes more obvious towards the end. ‘The dilemma’ in the romance was of course whether or not Michael would stay after the project was finished. Michael’s departure is hanging over the beginning relationship like the sword of Damocles. The romance in and on itself was a combination of sexual heat and lovey-dovey moments. They have to tackle some minor bumps in the road but other than that it was pretty much a done deal. I sympathized with the dilemma of Michael and Stephan but the author couldn’t take it to the next level where I would feel a deeper connection to them.
The frustrating thing for me was that I liked the characters, and that the story was enjoyable but it lacked the ability to affect me. The only moments I truly felt connected to the story was when Michael and Stephan did, eat or say things typically Dutch. While this is fun I want more from a story. I think Michael’s job was an essential part of the story but too much time went in to the day-to-day activities, which I didn’t care for. The love sparking between the two main characters was heart tugging tender but I simply wanted more pizzazz as they went for their happily ever after.
Final Conclusion:Everything is present in Dutch Treat to make it an enjoyable story. Likeable characters who have to deal with someone who is scheming and causing havoc. The interaction between Michael and Stephan has a pleasant feel to it and the passion is spicy sweet. Even though nothing was wrong with the story there is also nothing present to create a big bang to elevate it passed that okay feel I had.
Stephan flashed him a grin that outshone the sun. “Really? You aren’t tugging my leg?” Stephan said, and Michael chuckled, relief flooding through him.
“No, I’m not pulling your leg. I really like it here. Unfortunately, I don’t know if it’ll work out, but I’m going to try.”
Check out Andrew Grey’s website
Buy Dutch Treat here