I've read a lot of m/m fiction between reading my wife's work for Dreamspinner and doing galley proofs for them as well. Summer Song was a book I had the distinct pleasure of proofing earlier this summer before life became so insane that I had to back off almost completely from doing any kind of proofreading. That said, I can't recommend this book highly enough. First time Dreamspinner author Louise Blaydon tells an intriguing story set in 1950s California, back when LGBT was just a random set of letters that don't carry the meaning they do now. Best friends Billy and Kit are returning to high school after a summer apart and something seems off, especially when Billy starts acting strangely around Leonard, the new student at their school.
So frequently in romantic fiction - not just m/m fiction but also heterosexual romance - the romance is so much the central relationship, that the other relationships in the story suffer. Friends and family members do little more than take up space on the page and are so often pulled from stock that the characters are cliched and frankly, not very believable or interesting. Not so with Summer Song. What I loved most about this book was how it effortlessly blended the story of Billy's love for Leonard with its ramifications on his friendship with Kit. I felt very invested in both relationships and thought that Blaydon did a exceptional job of showing how a close friendship between men - regardless of orientation - can be frought with some of the same difficulties that you see in romantic relationships.
This was one of those books that really made me feel good at the end because ultimately, it really was a love story that involved all the characters in some way or another.
Summer Song is Blaydon's first book for DSP, but I'm eager to read more from her.
(Yes, I really am going to get to 25 before the end of the year. I'm starting 13 days off right now and it WILL get done.)