Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Blue Eyed Stranger (Trowchester Blues, #2)” as Want to Read:
Blue Eyed Stranger (Trowchester Blues, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Blue Eyed Stranger

(Trowchester Blues #2)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  248 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Billy Wright has a problem: he’s only visible when he’s wearing a mask. That’s fine when he’s performing at country fairs with the rest of his morris dancing troupe. But when he takes the paint off, his life is lonely and empty, and he struggles with crippling depression.

Martin Deng stands out from the crowd. After all, there aren’t that many black Vikings on the living hi
ebook, 230 pages
Published April 6th 2015 by Riptide Publishing (first published December 9th 2014)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

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

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Blue Eyed Stranger, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Blue Eyed Stranger

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  248 ratings  ·  65 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Blue Eyed Stranger (Trowchester Blues, #2)
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
Alex Beecroft’s writing is poetry: lyrical, evocative, and properly British.

Both the MCs, Martin and Billy, are involved in reenactment societies, Martin in one focused on ninth century Vikings and Billy in one with a focus on morris dancing, a type of choreographed English folk dancing that started in the fifteenth century.

The men eventually create a new music/dance troop, and their passion for their hobby is contagious.

I am a history buff, and British history is my favorite, so I loved the de
Richard Derus
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4.5* of five

I suspect a lot more of us are familiar with hiding the agony of depression than we're willing to admit or discuss. BLUE EYED STRANGER blows that set of closet doors wide open. Add in a peek at the culture of historical re-enactors, the second-generation syndrome, and hefty dollop of sex packed in the water of love, and the winning formula is complete.

My review is live now.
K.J. Charles
I love Alex Beecroft's writing, and I love this book.

Martin is such an interesting character, combining pride in his ancestry and black British history with a vivid awareness of himself as a minority. He can't hide being black, but he can hide being gay, and does. You can really see the accumulated affect of all the microaggressions on him, especially from the 'bantering' of the very macho world of Viking reenactors, which makes his situation very real. Meanwhile Billy is struggling with very s
Feb 11, 2019 marked it as maybe  ·  review of another edition
Freebie at the right now: ...more
Kaje Harper
Jul 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, favorites
This second book in the series gives us two more interesting characters, and a fun immersion in the world of historical re-enactment.

Martin Deng is a history teacher, and a Viking re-enacter. He left his old society and founded a new one where he hopes, one day, to be able to be a gay, black Viking without the jibes and personality conflicts that kept him in the closet so far. But at present his fledgling society is struggling, all the work and weight is on his shoulders, and he's keeping his he
Ulysses Dietz
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
The second of the Trowbridge Blues series, we are once again dropped into this charming, fictional little city somewhere in what I assume is the UK’s heartland. With Beecroft’s elegant prose, we are also dragged into a world few of us know: the community of historical re-enactors, who recreate the things and activities of long-gone cultures. It’s wonderfully geeky, and I suspect more educational that I realized as I read it.

Our heroes are unconventional, in that we deal not just with men carryi
Feb 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mmr, arc, twenty-fifteen

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

At first I rated this book 2.5 stars, but, now that I have let the story settle in, it has dropped down to two. It just left me feeling a bit uneasy; that the relationship between the two main characters was unequal.
Billy, one of the main characters, is severely depressed, and by severely I mean can’t get up and move, locked in his head, a hair close to suicide depressed. The only thing that gets him moving is dancing with his
I am quickly becoming a big fan of this author. There is just something about the way that she writes that I find unique and compelling. In this second book in the series Martin is a black school teacher who spends all his free time acting in Viking re-enactments. Martin is also gay and very much in the closet. One weekend at an event he meets Billy, a Morris dancer (and yes I did have to Google Morris dancing)and the two men instantly hit it off. They quickly fall in to a relationship (which pr ...more
Wart Hill
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Things I Find While Shelving

I received a free ARC via NetGalley

Another beautiful love story from Alex Beecroft. Billy is dealing with crippling depression on his own, coping with his work with a morris dance group. Martin is a school teacher who moonlights as a reenactor of viking battles. They meet at an event and it’s love at first sight. Pretty much literally, which is why this book is only getting 4 stars instead of 5. Their romance was just. BAM! TOGETHER!

That being said, I love them togeth
Vanessa North
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Really, really nice writing here.

Back when I was in college, I had friends who did all kinds of re-enactment stuff and always tried to get me to do it with them. Socializing in costume is basically my idea of hell, however, so I usually managed to avoid it, with the exception of a themed wedding I really couldn't say no to. So the idea behind this book? I was worried I would have a difficult with it. However, being a Beecroft fan and a fan of the first book in this series, I decided to give it a
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
It was not a bad story. Billy, saddled with bouts of crippling depression and Martin, a middle school teacher saddled with being black and gay in a society that has difficulty accepting anybody who’s different. I don’t think I was aware of how many gay m/m romance books have a history re-enactment group in the story and I don’t know if that’s simply something picked up by the genre or if there is really a higher number of gay men practicing this hobby.
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Billy Wright has a problem: he’s only visible when he’s wearing a mask. That’s fine when he’s performing at country fairs with the rest of his morris dancing troupe. But when he takes the paint off, his life is lonely and empty, and he struggles with crippling depression.

Martin Deng stands out from the crowd. After all, there aren’t that many black Vikings on the living history circuit. But as the founder of a fledgling historical re-enactment society, he’s lonely and harried. His boss doesn’t l
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: romance

What I liked about this one is the portrayal of MI and how love does not conquer all and is not the cure for struggling with your mental health issues.

What made me struggle with the romance even with that in mind was that some parts of the relationship felt... tricky? Maybe? It's hard to put my finger on the exact moments and actions, and I can acknowledge that this might have just been a timing problem for me. With things and upheavals going on in my own life I might have been extra sensit
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, sweet, depression
Twenty six year old Martin Deng is a history teacher who is also involved with a re-enactment group. He's a black Viking when in his character of Ametel, and he’s gay. Feeling like a bit of a minority, Martin is very much in the closet. The school he teaches at is run by a principal who doesn’t much care for him or his hobbies. He’s heard plenty of ‘poofter’ jokes around re-enactment campfires so he’s worried about members of his group, Bretwalda, getting wind of his sexual orientation. And his ...more
May 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbt, fiction, romance
I'm black and no stranger to depression so I was excited to read this story as soon as I read the summary. But my excitement quickly turned to boredom. The way this author depicted both realities swung between dismissive, unrealistic, and even preachy at points and really left much to be desired.

The dialogue was stiff and the characters lacked depth. I wasn't rooting for Martin or Billy as much as I was cheering myself on to just get through this book and read something else! Even the romance f
This book is so REAL in ways that I don't usually associate with romance novels, tackling depression and racism in such a raw and head-on way just within the first couple of pages that I was totally thrown for a loop. The former especially gets dealt with in such a shockingly deep and true way that I've almost never seen in writing before, and even if I hadn't liked this book, I would have respected the hell out of it for writing such a realistically depressed main character, because oof, did I ...more
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gay-fiction
Modern day Saxons and morris dancers; I must admit while reading this book I actually learnt so much about what people get up to in their free time, how people keep history and traditions alive, etc. it introduced a whole new world to me. At the beginning I didn’t have a clue about the different traditions in morris dancing and its history or how the whole re-enactment scene brings history alive so spectators like myself can get a real impression of history first hand. By the end of the book I w ...more
This is a well done romance between two compelling heroes: Martin and Billy.

We get dual points of view in this book and that gives us deep into Billy's depression and Martin struggles with being fully out.

The depiction of depression is especially vivid and just as vivid is the love of history and place that inhabits the story. I love learning as I read and this details of Morris dancing and Vikings as well as early music are a treasure.

I also like how Billy's mental health issues are not make
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-e-things, queer, lgbtq
Lovely. I think both morris dancing and historical re-enactment are cool, plus I love Alex Beecroft's books, so I was well placed to enjoy this book and I definitely did. It's vivid and engaging and interesting and a little different. Alex Beecroft is so dependably good and I enjoy their books so much. ...more
Veronica of V's Reads
This review was written for Joyfully Jay reviews.

This is the second book in the Trowchester Blues series, but can be read as a standalone.

Billy is a morris dancer in a troupe that performs at country fairs. He is remarkably sensitive, shy, lonely, gay, and struggling with severe depression. At times he is overwhelmed by the sheer cacophony of life and cannot function.

Martin is na Englishman, a history teacher, and a lover of ancient times and ways. He heads up a reenactment group of 9th century
Maria Rose
This lovely romance is the story of Martin and Billy. Both men are involved in reenacting authentic history (Martin as a Viking and Billy as a Morris Dancer) and are drawn to each other at a fair, finding that though they may be different in temperament, they really click. But Martin, a black gay man already feels the sting of ostracism over his race and keeps his sexuality hidden, something Billy at first accepts but begins to feel frustration with, as he is tired of always being overlooked. As ...more
Liv Rancourt
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've read a couple things by Alex Beecroft, enough to know she's a smart writer. The premise of this book was off-beat enough to be intriguing, and the execution lived up to that promise.

The story is set in the world of historical re-enactors. Billy's a morris dancer - a Renaissance artform - who suffers from severe depression and anxiety. The only time he can be himself is when he's in costume, including black face paint. Martin's a teacher who heads up a new group of living-history Vikings. W
Mar 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Blue Eyed Stranger is an emotional journey for Billy Wright and Martin Deng as they struggle through individual challenges and the hurdles of a new relationship. Billy’s depression and Martin’s closet anxiety are fully third and fourth main characters in the book. Beecroft does an exceptional job of sharing the depression and anxiety for each character; I felt stomach aching pain for them both, though I had a bit more empathy for Billy.

Billy’s hurdles were largely out of his control and he strug
Morgan  Skye
May 07, 2015 rated it liked it
This is the second book by Alex Beecroft I’ve read and the second book in her Trowchester series. I really admire her writing. She is fluid, coherent, descriptive and not telling, creates amazingly detailed characters and a deeply emotional story.

This is a very DARK story. There is an almost instant connection between the two lovers but the physical aspect of their story is a slow burn.

Martin is in the closet and Billy has some serious psychological problems. When they find each other they find
Oh gosh, this was a weird experience for me. As a romance: it's VERY GOOD. A++ I approve wholeheartedly.

As a study of historical re-creationism, I'm not sure if it's IRRITATING or SPOT ON. This guy's Viking re-enactment group are called Bretwaelda. An Old English word for an *English* war-band. The characters throughout keep consistently mixing up Saxon and Norse culture *without ever referencing the Danelaw as a justification*.

The spiel on the Victorian origins of blacking up in Morris Dancing
Jan 22, 2015 marked it as books-own
Billy Wright
Martin Deng

Billy Wright has a problem: he’s only visible when he’s wearing a mask. That’s fine when he’s performing at country fairs with the rest of his morris dancing troupe. But when he takes the paint off, his life is lonely and empty, and he struggles with crippling depression.

Martin Deng stands out from the crowd. After all, there aren’t that many black Vikings on the living history circuit. But as the founder of a fledgling historical re-enactment society,
Apr 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
I just didn't feel alot for this book or characters. Billy's suppose the be depressed. Closet case Martin's love is suppose to help him. I just don't see it. Martin should have been helping Billy to see a doctor in the beginning especially since he knew the score on the disease having a sister that had it. On top of that I never really could tell his his father was a homophobe/asshole or if he was someone that Martin didn't want to disappoint. It felt like the man's character wavered alot throug ...more
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A really well crafted series of three books, all had been a delight to read.
I would love to get to see more of the people in Trowchester.
Each book features another couple, different circumstances and each book is a little written gem itself.
They can all read as standalones but really, you wouldn't want to miss out on any of them.
3.5 rounded up

This book is very different from the first, and can absolutely be read as a stand-alone--the characters/events from the first book don't play any role at all, really. Part of me likes that, and part of me struggled a little mentally with the concept of these books being in the same series but really not having anything in common except a location, which actually didn't even *feel* like a unique enough location to really be enough of a link. Such a small thing, but it did mentally t
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thoroughly enjoyable m/m romance with writing that sparkles from an astonishingly knowledgeable author

Blue Eyed Stranger by Alex Beecroft is a thoroughly enjoyable contemporary m/m romance. The superb writing is evocative and visceral in turn, connecting with me emotionally such that I found myself caring about the main characters and their future - individually and as a couple. Each has a burden to bear. Billy's life is threatened with severe, untreated (and undiagnosed) clinical depression t
« previous 1 3 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Backlot Gay B...: Blue-Eyed Stranger, by Alex Beecroft 5 6 Apr 15, 2015 06:14PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Slippery Creatures (The Will Darling Adventures #1)
  • The Problem with Mistletoe (Five Points Stories, #1)
  • Hostile Ground
  • First
  • Love Comes Silently (Senses, #1)
  • Love Comes in Darkness (Senses, #2)
  • Professional Distance (Thorne and Dash #1)
  • Love Comes Home (Senses, #3)
  • Yours All Along (Loving on the Edge, #7.5)
  • Glitter on the Garland (Glitter on the Garland, #1)
  • An Enchanted Beginning
  • Love Comes Around (Senses, #4)
  • Love Comes Unheard (Senses, #5)
  • Love Comes To Light (Senses, #6)
  • Fire and Water (Carlisle Cops, #1)
  • Save the Date
  • A Not So Typical Love
  • Back to You
See similar books…
Spaceships and galaxy spanning empires, conversations with angels, viking villages, haunted mansions and forbidden love in the Age of Sail... I love a good strong plot in an exotic setting, with characters you can admire, and a happy ending.

If you make a venn diagram of genres, including historical, fantasy, gay romance and mystery, I occupy the space in the middle where they overlap.


BTW, if you

Other books in the series

Trowchester Blues (4 books)
  • Trowchester Blues (Trowchester Blues, #1)
  • Blue Steel Chain (Trowchester Blues, #3)
  • Seeing Red (Trowchester #4)

News & Interviews

Happy Women's History Month! One of the undisputedly good things about modern scholarship is that women’s history is finally getting its due....
63 likes · 9 comments