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First Impressions

by Christopher Koehler

Penny’s Rating: B+

Publisher Description: “The first time Henry Hughes and Cameron Jameson meet, it’s an unmitigated disaster. Cameron reminds Henry of all he left behind when he stopped making adult films, and he cruelly rejects Cameron. When Cameron discovers Henry’s porno-thespian past, he assumes he’s dodged a bullet.

But circumstances continue to throw the two together. Though the physical attraction between them grows, they cling to first impressions, even as a slow dance reveals just how good they could be.

Henry finally realizes how wrong he was, but Cameron can’t cope with “sleeping with the enemy”. It will take a confrontation for Cameron to realize just how wrong he’s been, but unfortunately, he may have lost his chance.”

ebook, 300 pages
Published April 16th 2012 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781613724804
edition language: English

If someone had told me before I offered to review this book for Net Galley that First Impressions was a gay contemporary romance novel that follows the plot of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I would have told you that there was no way that would work as a novel. So I am glad I didn’t know that when I started reading. You would think that the title, First Impressions, which was Austen’s original title for Pride and Prejudice would have tipped me off, but no. Perhaps I was distracted by the yummy shirtless man painted on the cover, but I was a few chapters into the novel before I noticed the familiar Austen plot. Yes, I am an Austen fan, and P&P is one of my favorite novels of all time. I do not think you have to be a Austen fan to enjoy Mr. Koehler’s novel, but for me, being a fan of all things Austen added a whole other level of enjoyment to Koehler’s tale.

The characters that Mr. Koehler created for this tale are endearing and hilarious, and work beautifully in their roles as P&P characters. Cameron, who takes the part of Elizabeth Bennett, and Henry, who plays a very well endowed ex-porn star version of Mr. Darcy, are prefect in their roles. Their encounters are both wonderfully awkward, and increasingly adorable as their attraction for each other builds, but neither has the courage to admit their true feelings.

As for the rest of the Austen’s characters, Koehler made brilliant choices and created some really funny character’s as a result. Who would have ever though that Lady Catherine could be a wealthy porn empress drag queen? Or that Wickham could work as a slut friend and meth user? Or that Mr. Collins could be a crazy gangster who takes Cameron along for a drive-by shooting while on a date? Plus, don’t even get me started on the hijinks of Cameron’s completely inappropriate roommates and best friends, aka the Bennett sisters.

More than anything else, I loved the fact that even though I knew the overall plot of the novel, Mr. Koehler’s tale continually surprised me. He managed to write an amazing modern-day version of one of my favorite novels, plus it’s humorous, and to top it off, unlike an Austen novel with its sexual tension and longing glances, this tale has some pretty hot sex as well! This is a must read for any M/M fan who loves Jane Austen. Thank you Mr. Koehler, and if you ever decide to tackle a re-telling of Persuasion, I am so there.

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