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

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,020 Ratings  ·  160 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 Magpie Lord by K.J. CharlesWiddershins by Jordan L. HawkThe Gentleman and the Rogue by Bonnie DeeDowntime by Tamara AllenThink of England by K.J. Charles
Best Gay Historical Romance
33rd out of 563 books — 1,055 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
82nd out of 506 books — 1,018 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,031)
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Feb 18, 2014 julio rated it liked it
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
Dec 22, 2014 Alona rated it it was amazing
Shelves: m-m, short
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
Dec 19, 2012 Susan rated it really liked it

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
Nick Pageant
Aug 22, 2015 Nick Pageant rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, shorties
Sweet little story set during the depression. I wish there had been a lot more to this because the writing is fantastic.
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 Gay Romance Book Reviews
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
Katrina Passick Lumsden
Aug 30, 2015 Katrina Passick Lumsden rated it really liked it
One of those "pleasant surprise" reads. This is currently free on Amazon, and it's a short read, so you've got absolutely nothing to lose. And believe me when I say, it's worth the time. Fantastic atmosphere and characterization, and the prose is beautiful. Allen captured the desolate desperation many must have felt during the dark days of the Great Depression, and she used that desolation to highlight the miracle of finding love amidst ruin.
Jun 01, 2014 MishyJo rated it it was amazing
Recommended to MishyJo 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.
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
Kaje Harper
Sep 24, 2011 Kaje Harper rated it it was amazing
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.

The past few days I've heard Rihanna singing: We found love in a hopeless place... quite a few times, and every time it reminded me of Whit and Peter from If It Ain't Love, and how I never wrote a review of it to at least say how much I liked it. Well, time to rectifying that.

I really liked it.

If It Ain't Love is a memorable love story. This I know for certain because months after reading it, I can still recall it quite well. Of course, this could have something to do with the fact I read it ri
Sep 06, 2011 Jenre rated it it was amazing
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
♡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
Heather C
Jan 17, 2015 Heather C rated it really liked it
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.
K.Z. Snow
Sep 19, 2011 K.Z. Snow rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 22, 2012 Elizabetta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hist-rom
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
Jan 27, 2013 Furio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Brandon Witt
Oct 20, 2013 Brandon Witt rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 08, 2011 Eden Winters rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 20, 2014 Miriam rated it did not like it
Shelves: tenebris
It ain't. It definitely ain't

(ugh, even typing "ain't" hurts me.)
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.
Feb 21, 2014 Anna D. rated it really liked it
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
Dec 26, 2012 Monika rated it really liked it

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
⊱ Irena ⊰
Aug 09, 2014 ⊱ Irena ⊰ rated it liked it
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
Jun 20, 2016 Brooke rated it liked it

Who would have thought the Great Depression was so depressing? And yet even with that heavy atmosphere this little short is like a nice pair of fuzzy socks that make you comfortable.
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.
Apr 16, 2013 Fangtasia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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This author has been published under the pen name James Allen.
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