This week Throwback Thursday is going back in time – again. Yes, my favorite MM sub-genre, which of course is historicals, is being featured.
First up is the lengthy and oh so satisfying debut novel by Tamara Allen: Whistling In The Dark. This one is set in New York City, amidst the emotional ashes WWI and just as the 1920’s are about to start roaring. The author’s ability to convey the pace, the flavor, and the spirit of the city held me completely captive. Hearing about the safe havens very lively queer culture that thrived in NYC during the time period was of huge interest to me. One of the characters, Sutton, is a musician – a type which never fails to capture my interest. Sutton is a somewhat naïve small-town boy in the big city, and Jack, well Jack embodies big city street smarts and savvy. Both men have a ton of fortitude and heart. The story of how they meet, become friends, and eventually lovers is a grand adventure. Be ready to settle in, for a long read – as I mentioned, this is a slow burn story – there is so much more going on than the romance element. Tamara’s other stories are just as wonderful. I advise anyone with an interest in historical fiction to check them out.
Summary: New York, 1919. His career as a concert pianist ended by a war injury, Sutton Albright returns to college, only to be expelled after an affair with a teacher. Unable to face his family, he heads to New York with no plans and little money—only a desire to call his life his own. Jack Bailey’s life has changed as well. After losing his parents in the influenza epidemic, he hopes to save their beloved novelty shop—now his—by advertising on the radio, barely more than a novelty, itself. Sutton lands work in Jack’s corner of the city and the two conclude they couldn’t be less suited for friendship. But when Sutton loses his job, Jack gives him a place to stay. Sutton returns to the piano to play for Jack and finds the intervening months have healed him. The program promises to rescue Jack’s business and Sutton’s career…but success brings its own risks for two men falling in love.
Next we have The Desire For Dearborne, which is one of the earliest historical romance categorized MM books I read. No, I’m not counting classics such as Maurice or The Charioteer 😉 I have to mention that I find the cover for this book to be…unfortunate. To me it emulates a long line of MF “bodice ripper” books, and the fact is, neither main character in this book is anything close to effete, weak, or looking to be rescued from life. Entirely unrepresentative of the story. Anyhow, as with the Allen book above, this adventurous Regency tale features a naïve country boy. Leander comes to England from America, to claim a family Earldom, something that certainly came as quite a surprise to him. He goes about the necessities with great aplomb, and more than a little notice from society, and a fellow Earl, Julien. We get a good look at London society -the class disparity, the hob-nobbing, the eternal power struggles – and we also get a cracking good adventure and a steamy romance. This is a book I often re-read. The author’s last public post that I could find was in Nov. 2014, where she was outlining her writing plans. I do wish she would surface with more stories, I loved her fantasy book, Hidden Treasure, as well.
Summary: Leander Mayfield is the only surviving son of a poor farmer… or so he believes until the day he learns he is in fact the new Earl of Dearborne. Still recovering from a lingering illness, the sensitive young man travels to Great Britain to claim his estate and embarks upon a bewildering new life.
Julien Sutcliffe, the Earl of Blackstone, is suffering from ennui. He’s tired and bored with all the finery and wealth and wonders about him. Then he meets this refreshingly naive American Earl, newly arrived in England, and suddenly the world comes alive around him again.
Irresistibly drawn to one another, Julien finds himself besotted, and Leander is equally smitten. But just when they think they may have finally found happiness together, Julien and Leander discover that something–or someone–is determined to separate them permanently.
Happy time traveling!