Tigerland, by Sean Kennedy

Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)

Genre : Contemporary, Romance

Length : 306 pages ebook

Series : Sequel to Tigers & Devils

Blurb: After an eventful and sometimes uncomfortably public courtship, Simon Murray and Declan Tyler settled into a comfortable life together. Now retired from the AFL, Declan works as a football commentator; Simon develops programs with queer content for a community television station. 

Despite their public professional lives, Simon and Declan manage to keep their private life out of the spotlight. Their major concerns revolve around supporting their friends through infertility and relationship problems—until Greg Heyward, Declan’s ex-partner, outs himself in a transparent bid for attention. 

Though Simon and Declan are furious with Greg and his media antics, they can’t agree on what to do about it. Declan insists they should maintain a dignified silence, but both he and Simon keep getting drawn into Heyward’s games. Simon and Declan will once again have to ride out the media storm before they can return their attention to what really matters: each other.

Review: When I say that Tigerland didn’t have the same emotional impact that Tigers & Devils did, that is NOT to say that I was disappointed. I was not. At all. Of Course it didn’t have the emotional highs and lows, the rollercoaster ride feeling that was Tigers & Devils. That book was about the start of a relationship that was forced to weather hard times almost from the beginning. Tigerland is set three years on and Simon and Dec have a solid partnership, having already survived the tumultuous times of the previous book. They are happy with life and quietly pursuing their individual careers as AFL sports commentator and community TV producer. The media has long since left them alone to pursue the next big thing and Simon and Dec are more than happy to keep their private life exactly that, private. Enter Greg Heyward. Dec’s ex team-mate (and ex-boyfriend) is coming out of the closet and he’s determined to drag Declan and Simon back into the media spotlight with him. Let the frenzy begin! If you’re thinking that this sounds like it’s going to be déjà vu, don’t worry, it really isn’t. Despite their differing views on how best to handle Heyward (I know, purposefully distancing by using his last name blah blah blah), and Heyward’s attempts to cause them trouble in his bid for the spotlight, one thing you are never in doubt of is the love Dec and Simon have for each other.

Although Tigerland is from Simon’s POV and centres around his and Declan’s trials and tribulations, it has, in many ways, an ensemble cast. The secondary characters of Fran and Roger, Abe and Lisa are exceptionally well developed. All the characters are complex individuals and very realistically drawn. They make mistakes, laugh, cry, love and muddle through life what life throws at them the best they can. And I think that’s what I love best about Sean Kennedy’s writing. The realism. From the personalities of the characters, their actions and reactions, and the details that exist in real life that people are forced to deal with every day (such as the fact that a gay couple must think twice before indulging in any public PDAs, and that it is still illegal for them to get married in Australia). It’s these things that make this book so engaging and believable. The characters still sound like the same people they were in Tigers & Devils, just five years older than they were when we first met them. Declan is still intensely private. Simon is still full of snark, even if time and love has softened the edges a little. The setting is uniquely Australian, with little references that, as an Australian, I really enjoyed. In short, Tigerland is a worthy sequel to a much loved book. Now I’m only waiting for the day that Australia finally allows same-sex marriage. When it happens,  I better get an invite to Simon and Declans’ wedding.

Rated 4.5 stars by BookSmitten