Book Review – The Fireman’s Pole by Sue Brown

Publisher: One Hat Press
Pages: 195
Characters: Dale/Ben
POV: 3rd
Genre: Contemporary

Sparks of passion ignite between the lord of the manor and the hot, new firefighter. But when Ben’s home goes up in flames, will Dale be in time to save his life?

Dale runs from the big city to a rural fire station to nurse his broken heart. But he immediately incurs the wrath of the handsome lord of the manor when he knocks over the village maypole.

Ben is used to people avoiding him. But the sexy, new firefighter is not like everyone else. Everywhere Ben goes; Dale is there too, and Ben can’t ignore the magnetism between them.

Will Ben ever forgive Dale for knocking over the maypole? Will Dale wait for Ben to disentangle himself from a relationship he was forced into? Will the villagers, the fire fighters, and the staff at the manor house, stop interfering in their relationship?

So many questions and no time to answer them, as an arsonist’s crimes are escalating, and Dale is worried that Ben could be his next target.

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I loved Dale and Ben’s story. It has all the tropes I love about stories set in small towns/villages—someone new to village life, a community in which keeping secrets is impossible, and a wonderful supporting cast. I liked the mix of romance and humour, with a touch of drama and action.

The feel good vibe of this story pulled me in immediately and although I guessed who was behind the arsons, his final art of revenge had me turning pages to make sure these guys got their HEA. I loved them together, and how Dale speaks his mind and that the class difference between them isn’t an issue once they get to know each other. Dale’s ex is a total piece of work, while Ben’s ex, Sabrina totally rocks, but isn’t the person for him. I loved Sabrina. She’s a force to be reckoned with and I wouldn’t want to get on her wrong side. Dale and Ben are sweet together, and I loved their mutual attraction which quickly grows into friendship and more. They’re good for each other. Ben’s conviction that he can keep their relationship, and that he’s gay, from the village is naive, and sweet.

The supportive community of Calminster is a highlight of this story. I liked how Dale comes out at work immediately, and it’s very totally a non-issue. His team at the fire station feel like family, and I like how they all look out for each other. Mrs Wilson is wonderful, and I like how she and Colson have become Ben’s family since his parents died. The plot twist with Colson was perfect. Ben really is clueless about a lot of things, but totally onto it with anything business related. I liked how he doesn’t take any nonsense from Sabrina’s father, who is a bully and not a nice person at all.

The final arson scene is exciting and satisfyingly action packed. I loved seeing Dale in action as a firefighter. My only niggle with the story is that I thought it ended abruptly. I swiped the page, thinking I must be missing another scene. I’d love to see these guys again, and read another story set in Calminster.

4.5 stars out of 5.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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