Grade : B+

C.S. Poe’s Curio is a superbly-crafted little gem. The author packs a lot of story and characterisation into a mere sixty pages – it made me smile and sigh and swoon during the less-than-an-hour it took me to read it.

Llewellyn – Lew – Cooper helps his wonderfully eccentric aunt Julia ("Remember the summer you took up performance art in the park and destroyed all your panties in front of picnicking families?" "It was art, Lew. I was making a statement.") to run the Curio Cabinet, a small second-hand odds-and-ends shop in the West Village. For months now, a good-looking, well-built, well-dressed man Lew and Julia have nicknamed “Professor Bow Tie” has been coming in regularly to look through the thousands of old photographs they have in the shop, occasionally buying a few; Lew would love to know what he does with them and his name – and maybe even to ask him out – but after so many months...

...we’d blown past that window of opportunity in which to make small talk.

It was too late to ask his name.

We’d have to keep up the gauche silence for every visit until either he or I died first.

Although it seems Lew’s mouth is way ahead of his brain, because, amid an awkward spew of verbiage about his aunt’s fondness for potatoes and a cannibal murder-mystery from the 1980s, he does, in fact, ask for Professor Bow Tie’s name. It’s Henry.

Julia insists that Lew and Henry would make a great couple, although Lew thinks he’s probably scared the guy off with all the verbal vomit, especially after telling him he was intimidated by his beard. But fortunately, for Lew, Henry isn’t easily put off, and after a rather lovely first date, it’s clear that Julia was right and that they really are a good fit.

There’s a little bit of mystery, a touch of steam, plenty of humour, and a rather poignant story at the bottom of Henry’s fascination with old photographs to be found here, as well as glimpses of the author’s always impeccable research and knowledge of her home city. Curio was a joy to read – an entertaining story featuring loveable, quirky characters (Aunt Julia is Da Bomb!) and the beginnings of a tender, caring romance between Lew and Henry. If you’ve got an hour to kill – or if you just want a quick but satisfying read – I urge you to give Curio a try.

Reviewed by Caz Owens
Grade : B+

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : February 28, 2024

Publication Date: 02/2024

Recent Comments …

Caz Owens

I’m a musician, teacher and mother of two gorgeous young women who are without doubt, my finest achievement :)I’ve gravitated away from my first love – historical romance – over the last few years and now read mostly m/m romances in a variety of sub-genres. I’ve found many fantastic new authors to enjoy courtesy of audiobooks - I probably listen to as many books as I read these days – mostly through glomming favourite narrators and following them into different genres.And when I find books I LOVE, I want to shout about them from the (metaphorical) rooftops to help other readers and listeners to discover them, too.
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