Review by DMac: Prelude to Love, by Anne Barwell

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Prelude to Love, by Anne Barwell
A Dreamspun Desires Novel
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: January 2, 2018

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars


Music speaks directly to the heart.

Two very different men face turning points in their lives after the collapse of long-term relationships….

Joel is a music teacher who knows it’s time to forget his ex and move on, while Marcus runs a lawn-mowing business and has come to Wellington to escape the reminders of a recent breakup. Although they’re opposites, when Joel and Marcus connect, their romance has the potential to hit all the right notes.

Too bad neither of them feels ready for new love.

With family and friends in common, dating is risky—things could get messy if it doesn’t work out. The sweet song of possibility draws them to each other, though, and they share a kiss following a Chopin prelude. But it will take some practice and perseverance to find their perfect harmony…


M/M Pairing
Gay Characters

Content Warning for: Homophobia (parents)

The writing was good, but I just really couldn’t get into this book.

My main problem was that most of the book didn’t even have anything to do with their relationship. Half of the book focused on Joel preparing for an upcoming concert, and then half was about his relationship with his dad. This led to the intimacy in the book being mostly situational instead of something that grew organically between the two MCs. Situational intimacy is fine if you like it but the reason why I enjoy romances is seeing people build a relationship in different ways. I don’t want to see the relationship built for them through meddling friends and situations forcing them to talk. It’s too easy and unrealistic.

Even though there were many issues in the book the resolutions and relationship were just unrealistically simple. I don’t want to read people screaming at each other but apart from not contacting each other for a bit there was low amount of conflict in this book. This is particularly bothersome because in the summary it says “neither of them feels ready for new love.” To me that signifies that there is going to be a slow burn romance with emotional conflict (internal or external) about it. Nope. Didn’t really happen and I felt like I was told one thing and delivered another.

To be honest, I didn’t like either one of the main characters. The length of the book was 234 pages, but I feel like it should have been half that. I don’t think the MCs, or their relationship, were interesting enough for this length. Joel had his music and Marcus had his gardening but still their personalities were tied to their relationship or their family. I know that sounds weird, but I don’t think we really got to know them outside of certain situations. With some characters their personality is so clear, but I honestly couldn’t tell you what these MCs were really like. I love character development in books so this was a downer for me.

I really hate to say it but I was just bored with this relationship, the MCs, and the whole book. I didn’t get invested and I just wanted to be done with the book so I could review it. I hate it when it feels like that because even if I don’t really enjoy a book I still want to give it a chance so I can give a fair review. There’s nothing really problematic or wrong with the book so I would recommend that, if you are really interested in it, you look at other reviews. It’d be a good book if you want something fluffy to read during your down time.


Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads

You can purchase Prelude to Love from:

Publisher | Amazon | iTunes | Google Play | Barnes & Noble

Or add it to Goodreads

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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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