Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Whistling in the Dark” as Want to Read:
Whistling in the Dark
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Whistling in the Dark

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  713 ratings  ·  103 reviews
New York City, 1919. His career as a concert pianist ended by a war injury, Sutton Albright returns to college, only to be expelled after a scandalous affair with a teacher. Unable to face his family, Sutton heads to Manhattan with no plans and little money in his pocket but with a desire to call his life his own. Jack Bailey lost his parents to influenza and now hopes to ...more
Paperback, 340 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Lethe Press (first published December 10th 2008)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,995)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Too anodyne for me. I want a spark, something. At least it transports you to the 1910s in no time.


Too slow, too average, too bland. I liked the shop, the music, the environment, the lifestyle, the after-war theme. But details and surroundings are nothing if there are not worthy and memorable characters to focus on.

I think Tamara Allen is not for me.
This is probably not going to be a proper review - not even a bullet one. I am so tired. And I even have things to do today.

All I'm going to say is that this is a beautiful, heartwarming, believable, almost flawlessly written novel that is as much a story of friendship, finding your place in the world and overcoming all sorts of hardships (I can't seem to find a way not to make it sound terribly cliché) as it is a romance. The only reason why a. it took me two weeks to read it, and b. I only rat
Kaje Harper
This was a wonderful book, that had the truth and flavor of a historical without any loss of immediacy and connection. Sutton is sweet and honorable and a little lost, and will go straight to your heart. Jack is wild and determined and wounded, and carries on with gallant courage behind the mask of not giving a damn. There are moments of humor and moments that will break your heart. I haven't read anything by this author yet that hasn't been beautifully written and emotionally satisfying. Highly ...more


I love Tamara Allen. Her books feel like you’re reading something special. Every one feels like a treasure. I don’t often use the word “delightful”, but it works perfectly to describe “Whistling in the Dark”.

Her cast of characters in this story, much like in every other story I’ve read of hers, are like family. And she brings you into the fold. Accepted. Cozy. :)

Sutton is a down and out son of a railroad mogul, who, rather than go home to where he’s not accepted, he tries his luck living i
Ho-hum, I tried. I really really did.
I wasn't bad by any means, it just wasn't fantabulous for me either.

It was...a beautiful tale of two men falling in love despite the world telling them they shouldn't (or couldn't).
It was...a first-class cast of adorable and sweet characters.
It was...sad, made me a little mad, and finally a lot glad.
It was...slow and smooth, but perhaps too slow at times
It was...m/m that I would love for my mom to read (seriously, I think she would love this)
It was...worth p
Why I Bought the Book: This has a bit of a story behind it. You see, I didn't actually buy this book I was given it about 3 years ago. I had just started to guest review for Reviews By Jessewave (yes, I have been doing that for three years!) and Wave sent me the book to review because she knew I liked historicals. Then there was a bit of a mix up (as can happen when you're juggling several reviewers) and someone else reviewed the book instead before I got chance to read it. Wave told me to keep ...more
This was a great tale of romance at it's best that also happens to be a m/m story. The story was fully engaging and both the heroes were likeable and relatable.

Set just after WWI and about 4 months prior to prohibition, both heroes are back from the war with their own demons, dreams and desires. Relating to each other on different levels in almost every way, slowly they find that two different people can become one perfect couple.

My only issue with this book is the almost too accepted homosexu

I'm becoming such a big fan of this author. Tamara Allen brings the early 20th century alive in a way that makes you believe you can actually smell, taste, hear, and see it. The increasing popularity of jazz, of the radio, the traumatic experiences of young men having served in the first world war, this all gets a stage here, becomes a part of this beautiful story of two young men trying to survive in New York City, where the neighbourhood can be as hostile and dangerous as it can birth true
4.5 stars - I’m going to start by explaining why this book has been on my TBR pile since June 2012. The thing is, I’ve read other works by Tamara Allen…and I’ve LOVED THEM. To pieces. With immense and overflowing joy that makes me want to go outside and sing (badly) to my poor neighbors and to the café downstairs and to the overworked clerks at the drug store across the street. “There she goes again...reading Tamara Allen,” they’ll say as I serenade in the paper towel section to the handsome Bra ...more
3.5 stars

Buddy read and my buddies are still reading, thus the spoiler tag

(view spoiler)
The main appeal of the book is that it's a gay romance that takes place in the Jazz Age, and it is a very sweet book. It's main flaw is pacing; it kind of just goes on and on, and a lot of things happen, particularly in the second half of the book, but I think there are just too many plot threads, and everything gets wrapped up in a nice bow, and this is a book that could have stood to be shorter.

There are also some instances where I feel like we, the readers, don't get enough information for s
A truly lovely story in a brilliantly crafted world with charming characters that draw you into a story so engaging and absorbing, you wish it never had to end. But all stories must end and this one ends on a wonderfully romantic note that will resonate with readers and keep this as a must read in the future. With an attention to detail and descriptive prose, this story takes the time to develop and let the characters fully emerge. The slow blooming romance and lack of explicit sex is well worth ...more
K.Z. Snow
Incredible novel. The kind of book that makes other writers in the same genre want to throw in the towel, because they'll never be this good. I loved it beyond expression.
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
Another one I have to return to later. DNF at 6%.
After being thrown out of his college for being caught in the arms of a teacher, Sutton Albright, headed to New York. To find a place for himself. To figure out how he can move on without the music that lives in his head. And to, more importantly, avoid the disappointment of his family and friends once they hear of his untimely dismissal. New York has very little to offer, though, in the way of welcoming parties, and soon Sutton is homeless, nearly penniless, and running out of things to pawn. A ...more
Nancy Carbajal
What I've read of Tamara Allen's writings, I've enjoyed. Thanks to a friend I've once again been transported into the lives of two young men in love. Barely into their twenties, both Jack and Sutton have been to war, are gay at a time when it's illegal, dangerous and both in their own different ways, find a deep love for each other. Sutton, shy, cultured and from a world vastly different than cocky Jack....finds himself in New York trying to find his way after a failed affair. Jack takes him in ...more
What a great book! I loved the story, the characters and the writing. :)
Sarah Goodwin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
rating: 4/5

A really sweet romance set in 1919 New York City that surprisingly is full of pre-prohibition historical accuracy; from the period speak to the descriptions of post-war NYC, Allan doesn't skimp on the history despite the "romance" genre.

The Great War left ex-soldier Sutton and Jack lost and broken. Sutton's attempt at normal fell apart when he was expelled from school for having an affair with a male teacher. Embarrassed and worried about his family's reaction, he decides to try and
After seeing this posted as a giveaway, I considered buying it, but I have a long list of books to read, so it got set aside. After an author I like recommended it as a favorite, and gave a favorable description, I gave in and ordered it (along with Allen's other book Down Time).

I loved it. I tagged it as a romance, but it's really not, although the romantic interests of two men is the central focus of the story. It's about so much more (war, fighting, being who you are, freedom, struggles, the
Elisa Rolle
I had a very good history teacher in high school; he didn't teach us history through date but through the words of people who lived in the period we needed to study. I still remember the word, but not the name, of a writer who told his World War I: it was the war that changed the way of make war; before the WWI there were knights and the war was made by men; after the WWI there were machine and the men were only numbers, bodies to slaughter. Young men went to war with dreams of justice and came ...more
Elizabeth H.
Considering the ratings and reviews for Whistling in the Dark, I was disappointed in this book. I basically had to force myself to finish it, and there are two major reasons.

First, the book is too long. I really do prefer longer novels and am often frustrated when I can finish a "novel" in one night. (I do read very quickly.) But long for the sake of long? That's not good either. I feel that the author stretched her material. She needed a good editor who could have guided her in reducing the te
Whistling in the Dark is a heartwarming and poignant historical romance set in New York in the aftermath of World War I. It's the story of two men, both damaged by the war in different ways, who are drawn together first by fate, then by friendship and finally by love.

Sutton Albright, son of a rich Kansas businessman, has just been expelled from college and, too ashamed to face his parents, travels to New York to look for work. Here he meets Jack Bailey, who is desperately trying to keep his late
This book was utterly incredible. I thought I'd be stuck with a stuffy, dull historical book, but that wasn't what happened at all. The two MCs are very different from each other - they actually don't even like each other at first. But their slow friendship and eventual relationship was amazing to read about. Both men have intriguing histories that they're still trying to sort out, and the many subplots in this worked together to create a story that was engrossing and lovely!
Great book!
I was positivly surprised because it was so well wrtitten and lovelly.
One could practicaly feel the atmosphere of the NY city in the early 20th. The timeperiod of the great depression and right after the 1. World War, does not sound promissing but the author describes the potential in a big city, like new kinds of music and inventions.
The characters have they flows, they are not the perfect,superficious dolls, created for romance and sex alone, like in some other books. Sutton and
Angel Martinez
A sweet m/m romance, steeped in the attitudes and issues of the time (post WWI) I thoroughly enojyed this one. Oh, yes, there are some slow spots, especially at the beginning, but the characters are marvelous and the writing transportive.

Before the sexual revolutionm,before 'gay rights' was even a thought, these boys struggle with a society where gay men are shut away in institutions as mentally ill, where they can be arrested simply for talking to someone at a known 'pick up' spot, and where mo
Ruth Sims
I enjoy Tamara Allen's writing. Period. Whistling in the Dark especially appealed to me because of the post-WWI setting. For some reason, there aren't that many books set then. It's an unabashed love story of two young men, both American veterans, who have been damaged in different ways by the war. Sutton Albright's career as a pianist was ended by the war. Jack Sutton has scars of a different sort. The feel for the era is faultless, and also interesting because of Jack's passion for the new-fan ...more
Isobel Gammon
Apr 19, 2015 Isobel Gammon rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone with a sweet spot for gay romances
Gorgeous, simple book. Explores love in a tender, unobtrusive way. It's no 'Maurice', but it will certainly leave you with a warmed heart. I fell in love with Sutter and Jack, both of them wonderful characters that, although immensely charming, could have used a little more fleshing out. I feel like this book had the potential to be a truly fantastic and poignant piece of literature, but it seemed to fall somewhat short of its mark. If the author had perhaps condensed it slightly and given more ...more
Franz E
So this is the second book I've read by Tamara Allen, following a Downtime, which had me pretty convinced in Allen's amazing talents. This book trumped even Downtime.
Let me tell you about it;
It starts with Sutton in New York, close to having no home, no money and no hope. A twist of fate gets him a job and things start looking up. Meanwhile the reader meets Jack, who is quite the opposite to the sweet and shy Sutton. Jack, just like Sutton, has returned from war but is struggling to overcome t
Anna Matsuyama
Quite a world, isn’t it? No bother at all for them to push a gun in our hands and tell us to kill any number of fellows we can—but God forbid we should kiss one. (Theo to Jack and Sutton)

Beautiful story, romance at its best.

Maybe I would have preferred a bit harsher world to Jack and Sutton as it would ring more realistic. But I don’t mind if in the story main characters were lucky enough to be surrounded mostly by kind people.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 66 67 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Audiobooks: Free Romance audiobook! 1 23 Aug 16, 2014 09:11AM  
  • Bonds of Earth
  • Counterpoint: Dylan's Story
  • Kindred Hearts
  • Well Traveled (Gideon and Jedediah, #1)
  • Brethren (Raised by Wolves, #1)
  • Allegiance: A Dublin Novella
  • Out of the Blue
  • Dash and Dingo: In Search of the Tasmanian Tiger
  • The Desire for Dearborne
  • Skybound
  • Provoked (Enlightenment, #1)
  • The Gentleman and the Rogue
  • Think of England
  • False Colors
  • His Client (His Client, #1)
  • According To Hoyle
  • Lessons in Desire (Cambridge Fellows, #2)
  • A Private Gentleman
This author has been published under the pen name James Allen.
More about Tamara Allen...
If It Ain't Love Downtime The Only Gold Blue Skies Beautiful Isle of Somewhere

Share This Book

“Jack hadn’t thought of love as a promise before—a promise that, even when the world was falling down around him, would stay kept. But without Sutton saying a word, he knew that there would be comfort when he couldn’t sleep tonight. And tomorrow and the day after, there would be a home to go to, even if it was no more than a pair of arms around him and a head tucked close to his in the darkness.” 7 likes
More quotes…