If It Ain’t Love by Tamara Allen

Rating: 10/10 ★★★★★★★★★★ 
Title: If It Ain’t Love
Author: Tamara Allen
Genre: Historical, m/m romance
URL: Smashwords
Price: FREE
Other Information/warnings: None
Summary [from the author]:
In the darkest days of the Great Depression, New York Times reporter Whit Stoddard has lost the heart to do his job and lives a lonely hand-to-mouth existence with little hope of recovery, until he meets Peter, a man in even greater need of new hope.

My review:
I won’t claim to be Tamara Allen’s biggest fan only because I know that there is fierce competition for that position. But by god, I love her writing, so very very much. Yet, when this little freebie turned up, I hestitated over reading it. I was in a foul mood about other things, and a story set in the Depression sounded…well, depressing. You can understand my reasoning, I’m sure.

But I should have had faith. This is the author who can make Victorian England sound almost wonderful, who could write about post WWI America (indeed, on the verge of the Great Depression) and make it a funny, fantastic, romantic place, and who could make the dry and dusty world of banking a hot bed of intrigue and sexual tension.

Once again she works her magic, and while the grim realities of the depths of the Depression are not remotely skirted over (and of course, knowing there are people in America, land of such wealth and promise, who still live hand to mouth as they did in the 1930’s, is sobering), she uses the very misery of people flung out of work and their homes to tell a sweet, beautiful story of love, hope, and above all—kindness. Whit and Peter are adorable – there’s jus no other word for it. They care about each other, and hold each other, raising each other out of their gloom and situations. A friend described this to me as having a Christmas feel about it, and it does. It’s a story about small acts of humanity making small but significant differences to little people’s lives, even while the whole world is mired in endless financial and social failure. It’s ultimately a story about how the human spirit is an amazing , almost indomitable force for both good and ill. Ms Allen believes in the good in people, and she’ll make you believe in it too.

Read it, love it, then read her other books. You’ll never regret it, and feel a better person for the effort.