Being a houseboy to two domineering males is far from easy, but Gillibran Brown has learned to take their temper tantrums in stride. Well…if he’s being honest, it’s probably Dick and Shane who take his tantrums in stride, but somehow their unconventional ménage works. Desperate and down on his luck, Gilli lied his way into a position as housekeeper and cook for Dick and Shane. They had been a couple for nearly a decade before the bratty, sweet, and troublesome Gilli wiggled his way first into their home and then into their bed and hearts.
Theirs is far from an easy relationship and often Dick and Shane find themselves strapped to the emotional roller coaster that is the life of Gillibran Brown. Through health scares, death, and stressful holidays, Gilli, Dick, and Shane forge a life for themselves, unique in its rewards and sacrifices. But Gilli is a stubborn man full of passion and despite his need and desire for domination, he might just break before he bends.
Fun with Dick and Shane was one of the first books that popped into my head when thinking of potential reviews for the Around the World Challenge Week of our Reading Challenge Month. It takes place in England and while that’s not such an exotic location, Gilli’s voice is so uniquely British that it makes Fun with Dick and Shane an utter joy to read. Told from Gilli’s perspective, the book is organized by diary entries interspersed with episodic story moments from Gilli’s life with Dick and Shane. I suspect this book, and those that have followed afterward, are semi-autobiographical rather than true fiction. They are told in such an easy, natural way and the details are too intimate and emotional to feel fully imagined. The relationship between Gilli and his daddies is complex to say the least. They are a part of a ménage, which is layered by dominance and submission and domestic discipline. As Gilli describes it, “Shane is lord of all he surveys, he Tops Dick and they both Top me, in an authoritarian sense as well as in a sexual sense. In other words, I am subject to discipline and corporal punishment at their discretion.” It makes for a complicated and often emotionally fraught relationship, especially as Gilli is prone to tantrums and excessive emotional outbursts. But they serve to make one another better and stronger and between his ranting, humor, and the depth of true love he feels for Dick and Shane, it’s easy to see why this trio manages to maintain its ballast. Dick and Shane come through as real and visceral men who have taken on the challenging job of loving Gilli, not because they have to, but because he was the missing piece of their unfinished puzzle. And while it’s easy to love the warm, cuddly Dick and hate the stern, cold Shane, Gilli shows us that he isn’t complete without what each of his men has to offer.
The only issue with Fun with Dick and Shane are its considerable editing and grammar issues. It’s written more as stream of consciousness than a more traditional style and this can be maddening to those of us who live and die by at least basic punctuation. Additionally, editing would have helped to tighten up several areas, but honestly these are annoyances that you get used to fairly quickly. And while I’m not excusing them, the stories Gilli tells are simply too enjoyable to be bothered by missing commas and the like.
Fun with Dick and Shane is the first in the series of books about the long-suffering life of Gillibran Brown. His quick wit, outrageous tantrums, uniquely British point of view, and often painful and heartfelt honesty made him one of the most relatable and endearing voices out there. And while his connection with Dick and Shane is far from conventional, it offers a humorous and candid portrayal of love at its best.
This review is part of our September Reading Challenge Month for Around the World Challenge Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win a fabulous prize from Riptide Publishing. One lucky winner will receive a selection of print Advanced Review Copies of Riptide books before they are even released (non-US winners will get ebook copies upon release instead). Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by Dreamspinner Press (a loaded Kindle fire filled with DSP books!). You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on Around the World Challenge Week here. And be sure to check out our prize post for more about the awesome prizes!