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If It Ain't Love
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If It Ain't Love

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  856 ratings  ·  137 reviews
In the darkest days of the Great Depression, New York Times reporter Whit Stoddard has lost the heart to do his job and lives a lonely hand-to-mouth existence with little hope of recovery, until he meets Peter, a man in even greater need of new hope.
ebook, 34 pages
Published August 25th 2011 by Tamara Allen
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The Gentleman and the Rogue by Bonnie DeeThe Magpie Lord by K.J. CharlesWiddershins by Jordan L. HawkDowntime by Tamara AllenBound by Deception by Ava March
Best Gay Historical Romance
38th out of 473 books — 842 voters
Hot Head by Damon SuedeBear, Otter, and the Kid by T.J. KluneThe Locker Room by Amy LaneDivide & Conquer by Abigail RouxBetween Sinners and Saints by Marie Sexton
Best M/M Romance Published in 2011
86th out of 503 books — 1,000 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,679)
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Feb 18, 2014 julio rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to julio by: Weasel (Daniel)
Shelves: shorts
So, it went like this:

I was staring at the lovely cover, and wondering why the designer did x instead of y, and basically wishing that I had made it, and wondering if perhaps there were answers to my questions on the first page—

—But just a peek, right? Because I don't really have any time right now for anything, you see.

Of course, the next thing I know I'm in Depressed New York feeling this crazy compulsion to read on and on and on—because measured prose filled with compassion and wit and clever
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~

This is the first Tamara Allen book I've read, and I'm impressed with the quality of the writing.

Set during the American Great Depression of the 1930s, If It Ain't Love is at once hopeless and HOPEFUL.

Beautifully written, evocative, and historically accurate without being pedantic, this short story packs an emotional punch in under 40 pages.

If you're looking for smex galore, this is not the story, but the lack of graphic sex didn't irk me.

The story has a dreamy, floaty quality, and the

I'm such a fan of Tamara Allen's.

I typically don't read historicals. But, I wanted to give this a shot since her writing is so beautiful and I loved "Downtime". What a treat.

Whit and Peter meet during the Depression...and's depressing. They find, after already forging a bond, that their paths cross in other surprising ways. I really liked the storyline. I think it would have been so much more satisfying, however, if it was a longer book and dove deeper into the topics introduced h
Alona Free
First: look at that cover!
Both formats have two of the most amazing covers in the genre!
Well done for that!

Than... Well, everything else was wonderful- The writing, the setting, the pace, the characters... Few can do it so well in under 40 pages!
Bravo Tamara Allen, bravo!

It's a beautiful short story, that takes place at the hard time of The Great Depression in New York.
You can feel the depression, you can taste it! That's how good the writing is!
And into that darkness of hard times, Tamara tak
Story wise -- this one was quite lovely. There was this sweet tenderness between Whit, a reporter who has lost his heart and passion of his job, and Peter, a man who suffered a tragedy of himself. Their relationship was gentle and rather quiet, probably due to the time period where showing off romance between two men wasn't really possible.

As for the writing style ... this was when I hit a major bump. Tamara Allen came to me highly recommended. I had Downtime with me for years, but every single
Macky ~ Sinfully...Addicted To All Male Romance
A sweet, poignant and tender tale set during the depression. Two men brought together by circumstances beyond their control they forge a friendship that turns to romance but outside influences threaten their bond and one of them has to look at himself and his actions to put it right. More story than actual sex, although there are some tender but not overly graphic love scenes . It's beautifully written , so I'll definitely be checking out more of Tamara Allens books. A very satisfying free short ...more
Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌
A vivid, poignant and hopeful story.

If It Ain't Love is a gentle, heartwarming story set during the skillfully painted scene of America during the Great Depression. Tamara Allen manages to capture the desperation and darkness of that era with such subtle yet evocative prose until even I couldn't help but feel the stench and grit of unwashed skin and sharp pangs of hunger and despair.

What really shone through for me was the absolute and powerful theme of hope. During a time where even something s
Jun 01, 2014 MiʂħүJѻ rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to MiʂħүJѻ by: Richard
Beautifully written, beautifully told. A reminder that doing right in the face of adversity can have unexpected rewards.

I will certainly be reading more by this author.
This review can also be found at Brief Encounters Reviews.

Sometimes Twitter can be a marvellous thing. If the author hadn’t flagged up on Twitter that she’d published this short at ARe, I would have missed this absolute gem completely. The story is set during The Great Depression of the 1930′s in New York and follows Whit who, unlike many men, has a job. He’s a freelance reporter for the NY Times but has lost his heart for journalism in the face of all the horrors he sees daily. After borrowing
Kaje Harper
This is a wonderful, sweet, hopeful love story, set in the Depression when hope was hard to come by. The period details all ring true and the characters are very real. Short but a complete story, much heavier on the relationship development and plot than the sex, which is nice in a short. And it's free! (Thank-you Ms. Allen.) This is one I will reread.
Mar 16, 2013 deirdre rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to deirdre by: Susan
Shelves: free, short-story, m-m
Great short read . . .

Great MCs . . . Made me empathetic in such a short span
Loved the story line . . . finding unexpected love in such difficult difficult times
Sweet romance, nice plot twist
Great writing . . .really great writing!!

Off to find more from Ms. Allen!
♡Karlyn P♡
4.5, great little m/m romance story set in depression era Manhattan. Loved the writing voice, an author to watch.

This was a quick read at roughly 30-40 pages, but it packed quite a story. I devoured this one and really felt the chemistry and love bloom between the two leads. I especially enjoyed the setting of the Great Depression. The author did a great job of painting the background and made you feel like you are right there. I recommend it to all who enjoy romance, not just the M/M stuff. Thi
K.Z. Snow
Nobody -- and I mean nobody -- in the m/m romance genre can craft fiction like Tamara Allen. In fact, her work transcends genre boundaries, whether gay or historical. It is just-plain-superb writing. Always. By any standards.
3.5 stars.

A lovely free story set during the Depression. Tamara Allen does a great job developing her characters for such a short story. I love her writing style. Definitely recommended.
Tamara Allen weaves a wonderful tapestry of time and place in this gentle, historical romance between Whit, a newspaper reporter and Peter, a mysterious toff he meets up with one night.

Set in the Great Depression when so many were out of work and jobs were scarce, Whit is on his last dollar and trying to keep things together. Familiar times, familiar sentiments. In those days a dollar could buy you dinner and a bed for the night in a flophouse...and maybe find you some desperately needed good lu
Other reviewers have pointed out much that is relevant to a story which might be short (40 pages?) but is deeply satisfying, and yet they failed to point out what I deem to be its greatest charm.

Set in a gloomy New York in the thirties, it does not exactly avoid the bleakness of that times but it sort of skips over it. The most unsavoury facets of those harsh years are just hinted at, as if in passing. When Peter and Whit meet in a squallid dosshouse, Ms Allen choses not linger on the poor surro
Heather C
Jan 17, 2015 Heather C rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Heather C by: Kaje Harper
don’t like to read Tamara Allen because with ever book I read, that makes one less book I have left TO READ!! Her stories are so wonderful, they immediately draw me in and I care so much about what’s happening to the characters…If It Ain’t Love was no exception!

Set during the time of the Great Depression…this story was quite sad and, well, depressing! But also filled with LOVE and HOPE and a nice happy ending. Yeah, these guys will be alright.
It ain't. It definitely ain't

(ugh, even typing "ain't" hurts me.)
Brandon Witt
If It Ain’t Love is one of those rare stories—in every way. Rare that a captivating, lovely cover has equally captivating, lovely writing. Rare that a pure romance is so much more than just a romance. Rare that a short story felt like a complete novel.
I honestly don’t feel like I’m overselling when I say that Tamara Allen crafted a masterpiece. The level of depth, connection, time, scene, and movement was astounding in such a brief work of art. She did in less than forty pages what I strive to d
Eden Winters
What a fabulous voice Tamara Allen has! I was caught up and swept away by this little gem. I smiled, I cried, I "awwwwwww'd". The author took me back to a time older relatives had told me about, let me see the despair, the sorrow and, eventually, the hope. She created two men from two different backgrounds, and leveled the playing field with hard times. Would Peter and Whit have crossed paths in a saner world? Maybe, but it took a shared night in a flophouse to bring them together. They're good ...more
4.5 stars
A sweet but also dark story set in the time of the Great Depression. Don't normally like novellas as it's hard for me to believe that two people can fall in love in less than 50 pages, but in this one, it works.
Anna D.
A wonderful and inspiring story. This book is as much about finding salvation through love (and meeting that someone who inspires you to want to live and have something/someone to live for) as it is finding salvation through hope and second chances. I’ve read school books and seen movies about The Great Depression but putting another face and being inside a character’s head and knowing their circumstance really allowed me to feel the despair, desperation, and loneliness of the people during this ...more
⊱ Irena ⊰
If It Ain't Love is a wonderfully written and very depressing story. At least at first. What do you expect when it's set during the Great Depression?
You get to see most things you don't want to see: hungry people waiting in lines to get some food, crying; people without jobs and places to sleep while it is freezing outside. All that in some thirty or so pages.
After she kills your every happy thought, Tamara Allen introduces Whit to Peter. No, it is not a fairy tale, but even with some nitpicking

4.5 Stars

This was one of those rare shorts that has you thinking you’ve read a novel. It has a beginning, a middle and an end, you aren’t left hanging feeling like something is missing and even though more is always nice it’s not necessary with this one the HEA is there and feels just right. It’s a story that’s wonderfully sweet with two men that you know from the start need each other. This is definitely a feel good read, a story that will make you awwwwe then shed a few tears all the while smi
This is really lovely, I just really feel like it should be longer and the characters more fleshed out.
I kinda feel bad for the protagonist when he's just being nice and people think really bad of him.
The story is just so sweet and hopeful in the midst of The Great Depression.
4 1/2 stars. Such a lovely little story. The depression era setting is unique in romance, probably because it's so difficult to write a happy ending in it, but Allen pulled it off -- with an m/m story, no less. If Frank Capra were alive today, he would make a movie out of this.
Set in a time oddly reminiscent of current day, this is a beautiful story of soul-mates finding each other, of reaching bottom without losing humanity, of love and hope.

My only complaint? Too short. Highly recommended.
Anyta Sunday
Every story I read from this author just gets better and better! Lovely historical short.

What talent!
Beautiful. Just beautiful.
Review originally posted at

Whit Stoddard, a Times reporter is one of the lucky ones in that he has a small resource. When I read how the editor loan him $5.00 and then later $1.00, I was shocked at the dollar amount. Who can lives off such paltry figures? I realized I’m reading a story about the depression era.

“Whit smoothed the crumpled bill, folded it, then eased it securely into his vest pocket. Some of the dollar would have to be spared for a bed. He wasn't sleeping i
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This author has been published under the pen name James Allen.
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