The Beautiful Things Shoppe Cover
Title: The Beautiful Things Shoppe
Author: Heat: Re
Genre(s): Romance Contemporary
Tropes: Enemies to Lovers Office Romance Forced Proximity Small Town Opposites Attract
Tags: m-m gay queer antiques business owner small town meddling elders
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Synopsis from the Creator:

Their collections may clash but their hearts are a perfect match.

Moving to eclectic New Hope, Pennsylvania, and running The Beautiful Things Shoppe is a dream come true for elegant and reserved fine arts dealer Prescott J. Henderson. He never agreed to share the space with Danny Roman, an easygoing extrovert who collects retro toys and colorful knickknacks.

And yet here they are, trapped together in the quaint shop as they scramble to open in time for New Hope’s charming Winter Festival.

Danny has spent years leading with his heart instead of his head. The Beautiful Things Shoppe is his chance to ground himself and build something permanent and joyful. The last thing he needs is an uptight snob who doesn’t appreciate his whimsy occupying half his shop.

It’s only when two of New Hope’s historic landmarks—each as different as Danny and Prescott—are threatened that a tentative alliance forms. And with it, the first blush of romance. Suddenly, running The Beautiful Things Shoppe together doesn’t seem so bad…until Danny’s secret threatens to ruin it all.

Review: The Beautiful Things Shoppe, by Philip William Stover

[fa icon="calendar"] Feb 22, 2021 9:45:00 AM / by Suzanne

The Beautiful Things Shoppe is one of those magical enemies-to-lovers romances in which neither character comes off like a jerk. Danny and Prescott end up sharing an antiques shop and have completely opposite approaches to the venture. Danny sells old bits of pop culture including a cartoony cookie jar and Prescott prefers high-end furniture and housewares. They have an immediate dislike for each other, but it's a flimsy thing that quickly gives way to respect and then those inconvenient feelings.

The Beautiful Things Shoppe is a softer book than the first in the series, The Hideaway Inn. The setting remains the same--a diverse, queer small town full of wonderful secondary characters--but while the first deals heavily with toxic masculinity in the gay community, this is just a soft story with moments of humor. As Danny introduced Prescott to everyone in town and he's welcomed in, I felt welcomed as well. I'm rather envious, honestly. Who doesn't want a super queer town full of annoyingly friendly people who want the best for you? There's also a campaign to save a couple of historical buildings in New Hope and I liked being reminded that a small group of people can accomplish things if they work together. (Prescott's real-estate developer ex is an ass who sexually harasses him, just a heads up about that.)

One of the characters prefers to take his time with physical intimacy so the romance is fairly low heat, but the author has done a great job--with both books in this series--of letting the characters lead the relationship development. Everything feels natural rather than forced, with no obligatory sex scenes that feel out-of-character.

I enjoyed The Hideaway Inn, but I loved The Beautiful Things Shoppe. It's a big warm hug and I hope Philip William Stover writes a hundred more.

Audio Notes: This audiobook was great! Michael Dean and Kale Williams co-narrate and I felt their voices were distinct and reflective of the characters' inverted or extroverted personalities. Here's a libro.fm link (not affiliate).

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Content Warnings: sexual harassment and mentions of a past partner pressuring one of the MCs, mentions of a character cheating on a MC, past parental abandonment/addiction issues, poverty

I received an audio copy of this book for review from Harper Audio, but I purchased my own copy after loving it.

Topics: review