Book Review: Mating Tomeo by A.J. Llewellyn

Mating Tomeo by A.J. LlewellynTitle: Mating Tomeo
Author: A.J. Llewellyn
Genre: Historical Romance, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy provided by publisher
Published: May 2012 by Ellora’s Cave

In 1946 Hawaii, Tomeo Yamaguchi harbors a secret that would be considered shameful by his traditional Japanese family-he aches for the caress of other men. Which makes it particularly devastating when Tomeo's father hires a tanomoshi-a matchmaker-to find a bride for his son. Tomeo spends time with the tanomoshi, Shin Yamada, and as the men come to know one another, deep feelings emerge, the transition from friends to lovers inevitable. They fall into a clandestine affair, their hushed and hidden lovemaking as beautiful and breathless in their eyes as it is torrid in the eyes of others. More time spent worshipping Tomeo's body means less time finding him a suitable bride. Shin's forsaking his duty...but mating Tomeo is worth every stolen second.

Reviewed By: J9

In a Nutshell: Lovely multi-cultural romance with a unique setting of post-WWII Hawaii.

The Set Up: Tomeo’s parents adhere strictly to their Japanese homeland’s culture, including hiring a matchmaker, Shin, to find him a bride. But Tomeo is attracted to the matchmaker and they begin a clandestine affair that will change their lives forever.

Why I Read this Book: I love historical MM romance, not that WWII is ancient history, but the time and the Hawaiian setting captured my attention.

What I Liked: This is a simple, uncomplicated romance I enjoyed.  Tomeo and Shin are honest about their attraction and never hurt each other. Their romance has the exuberance of young lovers as they explore each other in cars, sneak kisses at Tomeo’s family dinners and drink cocktails at jazz clubs. The eroticism is well balanced with their emotional development. This isn’t an angst-filled romance but more of a gentle love affair between nice men.

What I Also Liked: I really liked the setting of post-WWII Hawaii. I’ve never been to Hawaii but this book has lovely descriptions of the island, including flora, fauna and the pineapple plantation where Tomeo works. Additionally, the post-WWII setting is well integrated into the romance and story as Tomeo’s family have their first phone installed and are finally getting food after being on war rations. I adored the multi-cultural aspect of this book as it’s set in the Japanese-American community after the Pearl Harbor bombing so the prejudice Tomeo and his family face is part of book, as well as their culture around food and family.

I really enjoyed the community of Tomeo’s family and Shin’s lovely father. Tomeo’s father is a traditionalist, hence arranging a marriage for Tomeo. Shin’s father is a loving one that I really liked, up until nearly the end of the novel when I think he did something out of character. The plot of Shin finding Tomeo a bride provides good tension for the novel but doesn’t overshadow the romance which was important for me.

What I Didn’t Like: As I mentioned, I really liked Shin’s father with his gentle acceptance of the world they live in which is why I was a tad shocked when he reacts the way he does to Shin and Tomeo. It’s handled well at the novel’s conclusion but it seemed a bit out of character. And I think I’m used to having total resolution with family members in MM romance and that’s not the case here so I may be judging this all a tad harshly.

IMO: This was an enjoyable read with a gentle, sexy romance with a stellar setting.


J9’s Rating:
3 1/2 Frogs

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About J9: Vegan. Avid runner. Android addict. Never without a book in hand. Currently devouring MM romance but reads historial romance and paranormal romance as well. Follow J9 on Twitter.


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