4.5 Stars, Comedy, Genre Romance, JL Merrow, Reviewed by Jules, Romantic Comedy, Samhain Publishing

A Man Can’t Outrun His Past In JL Merrow’s “Caught!”

“Love is the absence of judgement.” – Dalai Lama

Title: Caught! (The Shamwell Tales: Book One)

Author: JL Merrow

Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 276 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Blurb: You can run from the past…but the past runs faster.

Behind Robert’s cheerfully eccentric exterior lies a young heart battered and bruised by his past. He’s taken a job teaching in a village primary school to make a fresh start, and love isn’t part of his plans. But he’s knocked for six—literally—by a chance encounter with the uncle of two of his pupils.

Sean works in pest control, rides a motorbike, and lives on a council estate. On the face of it, he shouldn’t have anything in common with Robert’s bow-tie, classic-car style and posh family background. Yet Robert is helpless to resist Sean’s roguish grin, and a rocky, excruciatingly embarrassing start doesn’t keep the sparks between them from flaring.

Despite Robert’s increasingly ludicrous attempts to keep his past where it belongs, his past hasn’t read the memo. And soon his secrets could be the very things that drive Sean away for good…

Warning: Contains the alarming misadventures of a pest control technician, a stepsister with a truly unfortunate name, and a young man who may have more bow ties than sense.


Review: Reading Caught! was like watching one of my favorite British rom-coms, like Notting Hill or Four Weddings and a Funeral. It was completely hilarious, charming, smart, and romantic. I loved every single bit of it.

Robert is fantastic. Unwittingly charming and funny, and a bit of an old soul, he had me smiling and giggling from the get-go. I think I fell in love with him, literally, on page one. I also pretty much already thought bow ties were sexy; but, if there was ever any question, there is none now. ;) Sure, Mr. Enemy…er, Emeny…AKA Emsy…comes across as a bit uptight, and certainly “nerdy”, but luckily his good friends find him endearing. And, as it turns out, so does Sean.

Sean is rugged, handsome, and down-to-earth. I love that he is a local Shamwell bloke, born and raised, and that he is so close with his sister and nephews. In fact, there are many things to love about Sean…Though some in the book see him as just a “rat-catcher”, Merrow gives his character so much depth and intelligence and wit that it’s easy to see how he’s perfect for Robert, and how much Robert needs Sean to ground him.

Just as there were many things to love about the main characters, there were many things to love about the story itself. The author touches on trust issues, overcoming one’s past, class struggles, and doubts about self-worth. Robert’s relationship with his friend Rose was a delight. His ease with his students, and seeing how much they clearly adored him, was refreshing and fun to read. His relationship with one student in particular, Charlie, and a surprise meeting Mr. Emeny has with the boy’s father was perhaps my favorite part of the book. AND, it was fun to learn so many new words and Britishisms!

What a wonderful, lovely book. I think anyone who picks this up will thoroughly enjoy it! I am also VERY happy that the title on GR includes ‘TheShamwell Tales #1’. That means there will be MORE, right??? :) I can’t wait to read more books in this universe (hopefully with these same characters). And, I will be checking out JLMerrow’s back catalog as well!!

You can buy Caught! (The Shamwell Tales: Book One) here:


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