I'm a little more conflicted about this book than any other of March's. Firstly, it's an actual novel - squee! - it gets a star for that alone. Also f...moreI'm a little more conflicted about this book than any other of March's. Firstly, it's an actual novel - squee! - it gets a star for that alone. Also for addressing the consequences of getting fucked twice a night every day for a week. Who was the last person to do that???
I liked Tristan and I liked Max, and I loved them as a couple. Yes it's maybe a little cliched to have the big (in every sense), socially, financially, and politically powerful Duke be the Dom in their relationship, but this story didn't follow the conventional D/s narrative in that Max, while knowing exactly what turns him on, was once bitten, twice shy about expressing his darker desires. March writes absolutely lovely Doms, men who are utterly smitten by their subs and care as much for their pleasure as their own, and Max was no exception.
However... I can't help feeling the ending was just too neat and tidy. March is rather fond of the partner who cannot imagine a future between her heroes suddenly having a Big Revelation and all their objections melting away in the space of a couple of paragraphs of Deep Thought, but underlying that overly-convenient conclusion is a carefully considered and realistic way for the two men to be together - something I especially value in an historical romance. In this story... I simply didn't believe in the solution Max found.
(view spoiler)[ Firstly, he's a bloody Duke, and he's *obsessed* with making his late father proud of him for being a good Duke and managing the estate properly. Last time I checked, about the biggest responsibility for the heir was producing the next, not making a throwaway decision to let one of his cousins inherit the title. There's simply no way marrying and having children is not something Max would do, as much as m/m fans might not want to hear that.
Also, Tristan refuses to be a kept man, but ends up...a kept man. It really makes no difference if Max gives him his money on a monthly basis or in a lump sum, it's still the same thing. And the most annoying thing about this was I think March already found the solution - there wasn't a tailor in the Hampshire village where Max lived, and when Tristan returned to London he apprenticed for...a tailor. So finish the apprenticeship, move to the village, open a shop. Fine, their social standing wouldn't be equal but it wasn't anyway and Tristan only had a day maid, there would have been nobody to be any the wiser if the local Duke spent some of his evenings sleeping in the tailor's house.
Oh, and one last thing. Is it wrong of me to have really wanted Max's manservant to have been having an illicit affair with his best friend? Because I did and do and in my mind, that's who the shadow darkening the window was and always will be. (hide spoiler)]
Still, those niggles aside it was an enjoyable book to read, as March's books always are. It suffered from perhaps (gasp!) a surfeit of sex, but then she writes it so well who can complain about that? Overall it's a solid 3.5-4* read and if you're a fan of March's you'll love it.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Meet Elliot...The kid was on the tall side, lanky, almost dorky to tell the truth, but that didn't stop Danny's gut from reacting. He really was beaut...moreMeet Elliot...The kid was on the tall side, lanky, almost dorky to tell the truth, but that didn't stop Danny's gut from reacting. He really was beautiful - with floppy brown hair, huge dark eyes and this milky skin that didn't look like it had seen much of the California sun.
Um...or maybe you already have.
Then there's Danny. Danny in his effortlessly cool plaid shorts and perfectly white polo, easy smile, and that shiny auburn hair he flipped off to the side.
Something like this, perhaps?
Together, they become Larry Delly.
Seriously, it's so blatant it kinda distracted from the story itself. Which is a shame because the story is generally sweet and well-written.
A bugbear. This:
Sara squealed and jumped out of her chair to do a spazzy little dance. "Oh my God! I can't even!" "Can't even what?" Elliot asked. Sara rolled her eyes. "Handle you two? Deal with the cuteness? I just... can't." She started dancing and giggling.
Sara, for the record, is no fan. She's been Elliot's bestie for years. So WTF is with her squealing over him like he's some object? Like his emotional life is reduced to something cute for her benefit. Ugh. It annoys me enough when real-life fangurls do that, but at least they don't know the guys they're doing to about. In a way, they are objects to them. But Sara's meant to give a damn about Elliot, she's meant to know him as a person, not just a member of a boy band. So I found all the squeeing over him to be in poor taste.
But the story itself... sigh... I've heard it before. Over and over from friends who, sadly, have been lost to the Larry fandom. El/Harry getting jealous over one of the other guys playfully feeding Danny/Louis? Where have I seen that before? Oh yeah, TXF. When they were all living in a house together for a TV show. Y'know, just like the boys from One Direction. Or is that Static?
The beard, the fake stories that one of them is a veritable manwhore, even the slightly plaintive note sounded in a interview when the shippers are accused of damaging the actual friendship between the boys with their obsession with them being together. Literally word-for-word I heard the same thing in a write-up of an Alan Carr interview.
The result was I spent more time spotting Larry trivia than actually engaging with the characters O'Shea had created. They became more cardboard than they deserved to be, because this story is genuinely sweet - saccharine so at times. I loved the slow build up, I loved that they didn't hop straight into bed and start humping like bunnies, I loved how effortlessly tactile they were.
Because I knew what the conflict was going to be, I can't say I was particularly moved or invested in the drama/angst of it all. The resolution - to me - fell a little bit flat as well. But it was an entertaining, easy read and I'll probably re-read it again at some point... if only to remind myself what the lawsuit was about ;-)(less)
Cute, and I especially loved all the Coleridge references (even if I will be reciting Kubla Khan in my head all night...) but at the end it felt all a...moreCute, and I especially loved all the Coleridge references (even if I will be reciting Kubla Khan in my head all night...) but at the end it felt all a bit too much like a theology lesson. Clever, but perhaps overbearingly so.(less)
Moving Lancelot forward to the present-day did -- eventually -- work; even if the timeline was waaaaay off in places. Arthur's Champion kinda suited a...moreMoving Lancelot forward to the present-day did -- eventually -- work; even if the timeline was waaaaay off in places. Arthur's Champion kinda suited a motorbike, leathers and a handgun. But the back and forth between Arthur and Tancred is getting a little bit dull, and the ending was very abrupt.(less)