Author: Bey Deckard
Pages/Word Count: 78 Pages
At a Glance: Yet another lovely read from Bey Deckard
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: All James wanted was a little solitude at his favourite resort: bright sunshine overhead, soft, white sand underfoot, and a hammock to read in while the warm breeze rustles through the coconut palms and almond trees. However, when an old acquaintance shows up, and James is obliged to share “his” beach, a profound exchange over a bottle of rum leads to a lust-fuelled encounter in the dark.
Reeling from the intensity of the drunken tryst, James decides to cut his vacation short rather than face what he’s kept hidden under mountains of denial.
However, his escape is thwarted when Rudie, handsome and plainspoken, calls him out on his behaviour and makes him see that life needn’t be spent running away from his desires.
Set at a rundown old resort on a small Caribbean island, The Last Nights of The Frangipani Hotel is a story about letting go of fear and learning that passion and love can be found in the most unexpected of places.
Review: In The Last Nights of the Frangipani Hotel, the second (standalone) novella in Bey Deckard’s The Actor’s Circle series, the author once again explores sexuality through his narrator, James Talbot, an actor who’s found his own corner of paradise in a shabby little hotel on a tropical island. The Frangipani Hotel is James’s escape when the pressures of Hollywood and his own fame begin to hem him in, and it’s here that James learns he’s also been running away from his own reality. That river in Egypt everyone’s always talking about? James has been treading its waters his whole life.
Rudie Brauer is a fellow actor who shows up at the Frangipani in search of a bit of solitude. We know that Rudie is beautiful because James tells us so every single time his eyes wander to the next perfect spot on Rudie’s body—which happens rather frequently. And it’s at that point that we, the readers, know what James doesn’t seem to get—or, at least what he’s not willing to admit to. That he’s not altogether straight.
Watching through James’s somewhat skewed lens of self-awareness, we see him struggle with his lust for Rudie, his using Rudie’s body to satisfy a need James doesn’t fully understand, and we see in Rudie a man who doesn’t mind being used for a little bit of rough, so long as they both get off on it. What Rudie does seem to mind, though, is James’s obtuseness with respect to what his desire for Rudie truly means.
Deckard uses his gift for scene setting to its fullest effect in this novella—ocean waves breaking on the shoreline; the sun shining on the soft white sand; the palm trees swaying languorously on tropical breezes; and the warm, humid nights spent in a rundown hotel room—each add to the sensuality of the story, creating a dreamy backdrop and underscoring the steamy scenes between these two men.
The Last Nights of the Frangipani Hotel isn’t a traditional romance, but there is a romanticism to the story in the sentimentality James feels towards his island hideaway, especially when it becomes clear the hotel is about to be swallowed up in the all-inclusive resort machine. Part of those sentimental feelings become wrapped up in and around Rudie, who, in their short time together, appears will become something more than just a vacation affair for James, which leads James to some decisions about his future and their little slice of heaven on earth.
I don’t know that I’d call this a coming out story. Perhaps it’s more of an awakening for James, as his story isn’t about what he’s willing to show the world but what he’s willing to admit to himself and, now, to Rudie.
This is yet another lovely read from Bey Deckard.
You can buy The Last Nights of the Frangipani Hotel here: