Book Reviews

The Making of Jonty Bloom (Unfinished Business 1) by Barbara Elsborg

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Bob-O-Link on 01-July-2020

Book Blurb

Finding his fiancé in bed with his brother was bad enough, finding out they’re getting married is the final blow.

Devan Smith needs to cool his anger. He needs to forget the lies and betrayals and work on resetting his life. When his boss orders him to scope out a remote hotel for a possible buyout, Devan’s only interested in getting the job done and getting out. What he’s not interested in is the guy with the piercings, bleached hair, and the smart, kissable mouth behind the reception desk.

Working the hotel reception is the only thing that’s stable in Jonty Bloom’s unstable life. His best friend has had a terrible accident, his ex refuses to move on, and his eight-year-old self is still waiting for his mother to collect him from school. Jonty needs his job. What he doesn’t need is the rude, arrogant, and hot as they come guy who’s rocked up demanding he be let into his room right now.

Thrown together by a freak accident, Devan and Jonty’s lives entwine, and neither wants to loosen the knot. Can the irrepressible Jonty be the reset Devan needs? Can Devan be the making of Jonty Bloom, or will secrets drive them apart?

First in the Unfinished Business series. All books are standalones.


Book Review

Why keep you in suspense? I pledge on my critic bifocals that Ms. Elsborg’s ‘The Making of Jonty Bloom’ is a fabulous read, and I think you are bound to enjoy it – from beginning to end - and all the yummy bits in between.


Taking note of the opening line of the book blurb, above, the book easily could have been a simple romp about two brothers boning the same guy - an erotic experience for one-handed reading (though that has already been oft done, causing so many digital calluses). Ms. Elsborg has taken the more difficult road, engaging us with the lives of two wonderful, misplaced, perhaps even lost, men. Together they will generate reconciliation and personal growth. Sound a little familiar?


We're two lost souls on the highway of life
And there's no one with whom we would ruther
Say, "Ain't it just great, ain't it just grand?"
We've got each other!
[Damn Yankees - Music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross].


Jonty can’t easily be missed. (“Even ignoring those four silver studs running the length of his ear, that safety pin in his eyebrow, the messy peroxide hair with dark roots…”) He has had a dreadful life. At eight, he was abandoned by his mother into the hands of an abusive father; his last relationship was with a psychotic stalker; and - in lieu of an internal dialog, Ms. Elsborg has provided repeated imaginary conversations between Jonty and his best friend, Tay. These latter are marvelous literary constructs, revelatory for us as Jonty’s introspection. We learn how he is particularly happy, even safe, working in a local hotel. There is no doubt that Jonty is a bit of a flake, and much of the novel’s brilliant bon mots are from his mouth. (“He supposed there might be worse beginnings. The day the Titanic set sail for example. Or when Vesuvius decided to belch.”)


Devan is older, more attuned to the big city and business. Yet he too is strung out, trying to figure why his fiancé had so badly betrayed him. Meeting Jonty is quite the coup de main, throwing him well off his established orbit. As Ms. Elsborg insightfully notes, his developing attraction to Jonty is annoying, and he is even annoyed that he partly enjoys being annoyed!


Enough of introducing these main characters. ‘The Making of Jonty Bloom’ is especially enchanting in its plot structure. There is mystery. There is risk to life and limb. There are secondary characters to love, and those to despise (hissssss!).


There is the occasional use of British English: (i.e., “skilful manoeuvres”). The repartee is equal to the best sparkling, midcentury cinema dialog (again i.e., “Sometimes he calls me Sugar. Other times Little Shit.”). As a further indication of the tour de force quality of the writing, while there is never a doubt that Devan and Jonty’s relationship will result in a grand HEA, the precedent tension coupled with comedic nail biting, are effective and keep the reader properly on edge. And through this all, Jonty and Devan really mesh, with conversations that light up the pages, and after almost half the novel, finally, appropriately detailed and effectively presented SEX. So worth the wait!


Rather than concluding this review with “Amen,” let’s share two significant quotes from Jonty, demonstrating why you must read this novel.

“This is the life you have been given, You have to keep going, That’s the big lesson. There is no choice. Giving up is not an option.”


“Hope kept me going. Hope put a smile on my face. No point in being miserable when things might get better that day or the next day of the one after.”


[Dear Reader:  When you have finished 'The Making of Jonty Bloom,' should you still require the afterglow of some additional humorous fillip, be sure to read Ms. Elsborg's “About the Author”, in which she joyously describes her life.] 



DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the author for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 308 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-July-2020
Price $4.98 ebook, $13.99 paperback
Buy Link