I love historical romance and I love MM romance. Put them together? Yes, please! This is actually a re-read. Ava March was just on my mind and I decided I would pick this series back up and read through it. I get so into her historical MM books, that I just can’t stop reading. I could read them all in one sitting if I had the time.
In a time when status was everything, being gay was dangerous. Just to throw a little history your way, it wasn’t until 1861 that England abolished the death sentence for sodomy. They decided 10 years in prison was more appropriate. According to the synopsis, Ben and Cavin’s story takes place in the 1820s. The possibility of death is there, though I think that punishment was more often enforced on poor men who found themselves in bad situations than rich men in serious relationships. My understanding is that gay men were safe, for the most part, as long as they kept their relationships secret. That’s the kind of world Ben and Cavin are dealing with. For Ben, he’s content to be himself and be with Cavin. He does understand the importance of secrecy, but he’s accepted his attraction to men and prefers to embrace it. Cavin, too, is very sure of who he is and the fact that he’s attracted to men. His issues have much more to do with Ben’s status than anything else. Cavin has spent his entire life being told that he’s nothing, and he almost believes it. His struggles are less with himself as a gay man and more with himself as man with nothing who came from nothing (at least, by society’s standards). I think the notion that Ben would care so much for someone like Cavin could have been unrealistic. It wasn’t, though. Ben is the type of man who cares about everyone. Even when he talks of his reasons for not marrying, he makes it sound as if it’s more for the lady’s sake than his.
“That would be cruel, condemning some poor woman to a husband who can’t feel true attraction toward her… I plan to remain a bachelor indefinitely.”
Such a gentleman! March did such a great job writing a character with the caring, sweet personality required to make that sort of leap. It probably helps that Ben went through the doubt and confusion of feel “other” around other boys. I guess I should talk about what you’re really interested in: the sexy times. Together, Ben and Cavin are passionate and sweet all at once. They burn up the sheets with intense sex scenes, but there’s a kind of tenderness between them that draws them closer to each other. They find a kind of intimacy with each other that makes them such a great couple.
I loved this book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys MM romances. Keep a lookout for my upcoming reviews of the rest of the series.