This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Samhain Publishing
Released on January 14, 2014
I had a feeling when I picked this one up that it was going to be an absolute delight from cover to cover and it was. While I enjoy the recent outpourings of historical romance that are available, it is always with sheer joy that I stumble across a book or series that is convincing as romance and is true to the historical backdrop in which it is written. I won’t go so far as to say that this could have been written by a contemporary of the time period, but it was pretty close. The setting, the plot, the tone, and the characters were very convincing that I was reading the story of a soldier who was injured in battle so must serve in a desk job at headquarters, do his duty by his family in participating in the London Season and explore his private inclinations with a certain dashing Colonel from another regiment.
Captain Hugh Fanshawe is a third son of a noble family and he is forced to adjust to his new situation as an invalid. He is not handsome or interesting like his older brothers or sister and most people think he is rather staid and meticulous to duty. His mother would love to marry him off, but even she doubts his marital prospects now so instead he acts as the dutiful son and escorts his mama and sister around for the Season, deals with paperwork alongside a mocking and lax fellow captain, and doesn’t think beyond the present.
Into his dull, pained and gray world, steps the handsome Colonel Theo Lindsay who is on a short leave while on assignment for Wellington. They start out as friends and then become something more. Hugh has never felt this way about anyone and he admits to himself that he is truly happy even knowing that Theo will eventually return to the front. Talk of espionage and a traitor in their midst is proved true in a shocking manner and Hugh’s life is turned upside down as a result.
This story was so well written when it comes to pacing and tension. I really liked how it has a sleeper quality to it as it sets things up, gets things going along in a gentle, even flow and then wham, twists and turns that take one by surprise. Hugh is the narrator and I loved him telling the story because that allows the suspense to stay intact. Hugh is an interesting narrator the way the author wrote him because he is meticulous in noticing details, but being Hugh, he misses the subtleties while still allowing the reader to see what he does not.
As a character, Hugh is transparently good and honest. He is stolid and loyal. Just a beautiful man and I loved reading his story. Theo is much less transparent and there are shades to him. I loved him and Hugh together. Their romance is on the sweeter and gentle side. I found it humorous the way Theo had to guide Hugh along because Hugh is the king of obtrusiveness and he really doesn’t get any subtle nuances whether it is Theo’s interest, his friend’s hints or how others perceive him. He doesn’t see himself clearly, but Theo is good for him and shows him his worth. Though these two do get up to some sexy times, it is delicately written because Hugh is a gentleman and it’s his voice and thoughts.
The secondary characters are very present and I loved they got much attention in their description so that their little stories were running along behind Hugh and Theo. Hugh’s family and surrounding friends were sparkling additions to any scene.
I was sorry to part with this story and would definitely recommend it to those who enjoy M/M Historical Romance that is on the sweeter side, paced gently and gives a strong nod to authenticity.
My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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