Title ~ Sinders and Ash (Pennymaker Tales)
Author ~ Tara Lain
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 14th October 2015 (second Edition)
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
A Pennymaker Tale
Housekeeper Mark Sintorella (Sinders) works diligently at a resort hotel while designing clothes anonymously, hoping to get into fashion school. Then his carefully planned life is upended with the arrival of Ashton Armitage, son of the fifth richest man in America—and the most beautiful guy Mark has ever seen. Ash must find a wife or he’ll lose his grandfather’s inheritance, and he settles on Bitsy Fanderel. But secretly Ash is gay, and the guy who cleans the fireplaces sets his heart ablaze.
Further stirring the pot is the little elf of a man, Carstairs Pennymaker, who has Mark wearing his own designs and masquerading as a girl to impress the fashion investors in the hotel. When the clock strikes twelve, two beautiful princesses line up for the wedding—but one isn’t a woman. Will the slipper fit? Only Mr. Pennymaker knows for sure.
First Edition published by Amber Quill Press, LLC, 2012.
Loosely based on the "Once Upon A Time" stories we used to have read to us when we were tucked up in bed with our favourite toys (and I don't mean the battery operated one's, LOL) The Pennymaker Tales feature the loud (bright green or plaid) suited, small in stature but BIG hearted Carstairs Pennymaker: a contemporary 'fairy godfather' style character who in each story, with a touch of well meaning meddling and a pinch of mystique, will be orchestrating the eventual "happy ever after" of his particular charges of the moment.
In this case it's the androgynously beautiful but lowly hotel cleaner—and secret budding fashion designer—Mark "Sinders" Sinterello and his 'handsome Prince', the already wealthy, but soon to be even richer, trust fund beneficiary Ashton Armitage, who comes to the hotel (reluctantly) in search of a bride to satisfy the terms of the massive inheritance he can only claim if he marries before his 25th birthday. A date which is fast approaching.
Add in an ambitious mother, her two daughters, a midnight ball complete with slinky glamourous dress and crystal encrusted sandals all us girlies would drool over, and you've got all the ingredients for a sweet, sexy, modern day, m/m take on a much loved fairy tale romance. Not really magical in the true fairystory sense of the word, there's still enough bibbity bobbity boo about Carstairs Pennymaker to have you wondering about this little man's true origins but when it comes down to the contemporary side of the romance, it's definitely more bibbity bobbity WOOHOO!!! when openly gay Sinders and a smitten Ash get down to the nitty gritty!
Not everything follows the original. There's a non explicit girl/ girl romance gently unfolding in the background and Sinder’s aspiring fashion designer twist also adds a different dimension to the "Gasp! Who is that beautiful, mysterious girl" aspect of the story; when secretly gay Ash finds himself drawn to Mr Pennymaker's gorgeous, tall, willowy fashion designer 'niece' Mariel...Hmmm!
A revised second edition, I read this when it first came out in 2012 but since then I think Tara's writing style has just got better and better, so even though it’s a cute, sexy little story; in comparison to the recent books from her—which have all been pretty outstanding reads for me—I didn’t feel as much of a connection with it this time around. The nature of the story made parts of it feel a bit twee, but that doesn’t mean I'm not really looking forward now to seeing what sort of a spin Ms Lain has put on the classic tale of Snow White.
So, If you're feeling in the mood for a bit of an enchanting romance; put the kids to bed, get under the covers with your Kindle and read this one to yourself...but not out loud! What is it they say? Little pitchers have big ears...Haha...