ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: One Under by JL Merrow


35598278Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: March 19, 2018
Received From: NetGalley

London Underground worker Mal Thomas is staying in Porthkennack to recover from a traumatic experience. Getting some more bad news from home is the last straw—until big, blond museum curator Jory Roscarrock steps up to offer some comfort.

A doctor of English Literature, Jory should be in a prestigious post at a top university. But a youthful indiscretion has led him to abandon academia to come back to his home town, Porthkennack, and the controlling family he’s never really felt a part of. He’s delighted to find a kindred spirit in the young Londoner.

But Jory’s family hurt Mal’s best friend deeply, and while Jory’s desperate to repair the damage, his own mistakes threaten to keep them apart. Meanwhile Mal’s torn between his feelings for Jory and his duty to his friend—and his fears that a failed relationship could be more than his shattered confidence can take.


GENDER: cisgender
SEXUALITY: homosexual, bisexual


TROPES: hurt/comfort, class disparity, mutual pining, marriage of convenience (not between the two main characters)
TAGS: adult, contemporary, romance, queer romance, queer characters
WARNINGS: suicide, bullying, mental illness (PTSD, panic attack), cissexism / transmisia, ableism, fatmisia, slurs, gendered slurs, misgendering & deadnaming of an ancestor from centuries back


I really enjoyed this installment of the Porthkennack series!

Both of the main characters were wonderful. We know both from the first book of the series, though we know Mal better than Jory, and it’s so great to get to see more about them and how they end up getting involved. Mal is super easy going, and I liked that he pretty much fell into friendship with Jory, and how he wanted to vet Jory to make sure he had good intentions towards Dev, then whoops, fell into feelings. And Jory was so sweet and shy and nerdy that I couldn’t help but love him. Both of them were so good together and the mutual pining was so strong it hurt.

Also, I enjoyed reading the conflict in Mal when it came to Jory. He very clearly wanted to protect Dev from being hurt again, but he also couldn’t help his feelings for Jory. It was so sad and touching to see him struggle to make both sides work, until he finally realized that he could basically do both. Since Jory’s nothing like his siblings, Mal can still protect Dev from them but have Jory in his life as well.

I would definitely say this is in my top three favorites from this series, and I am looking forward to more.



JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through is a 2013 EPIC ebook Award finalist. She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Connect with JL:


Riptide Publishing
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository


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