I don’t often post anything other than the most cursory reviews, and when I do it’s because I think the book is really worthwhile.
First of all, I should say that the author is a friend – an online friend because I have never met her – but that this review is completely honest. If I hadn’t loved the book I simply wouldn’t have reviewed it at all.
Secondly, I have been meaning to post this for ages and it kept slipping to the bottom of my ‘to-do’ pile, for which I am truly sorry. However, I hope a review now, some time after initial publication, might send a few more readers to Sarah’s work.
This is an m/m historical romance in the style of Georgette Heyer. I imagine Heyer, whose own work contained minor characters who today might have been openly written as gay, would have enjoyed and approved of this story.
The historical research is immaculate but is presented with a light touch. The events take place during the Napoleonic wars, when Hugh has returned to London from the Peninsula with a severe leg wound that makes him unable to do very much other than squire his mother and sister to social gatherings. His brother dismisses the injury (which is permanent) as the minor inconvenience of the title, but for Hugh, it is earth shattering, both in the constant nagging pain and in the expectations of loneliness that arise from his disability.
He meets Theo, a serving officer, and together they fight spies in Westminster, Hugh’s problems, and the social mores that could keep them apart.
Like Heyer, Granger uses a superficially light story to give us plenty of glimpses of more important issues. The book is a romance, but it is also about attitudes to disability, especially disability resulting from service in the armed forces, attitudes to homosexuality and attitudes to social and family expectations which affect the young of both genders.
Again, like Heyer, the author creates memorable minor characters, especially Hugh’s friend Emily, and subsidiary plotlines such as the one concerning Hugh’s mother and sister. These additions to the main storyline give us a delightful and thought provoking look at the Regency period amongst the aristocracy.
Some reviewers have drawn comparisons with Austen’s work, but this book is in an altogether frothier and lighter vein, with a liberal helping of spying to hold the reader’s interest. It is not primarily social commentary although there is plenty of social commentary tucked into the corners of the romance and adventure.
I loved the heroes and was thoroughly immersed in their problems. I loved Hugh’s family life, and I loved the blossoming romance. By the time I had finished I felt that the characters were my friends and I wished them all well in their lives.
I don’t want to say any more about the plot. I get tired of reading reviews that are long and detailed and act as substitutes for the actual books. If you enjoy Regency romances you will enjoy this. Go and read it!
(I’ve used the Amazon photo of the cover for this post but I bought the book from Samhain Publishing.)