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Rite of Summer

(Treading the Boards #1)

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  173 ratings  ·  53 reviews
There are terrors worse than stage fright. Like falling in love.

Violinist Stephen Ashbrook is passionate about three things—his music, the excitement of life in London, and his lover, Evander Cade. It’s too bad that Evander only loves himself. A house party at their patron’s beautiful country estate seems like a chance for Stephen to remember who he is, when he’s not tryin
ebook, 392 pages
Published June 2nd 2015 by Samhain Publishing
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Tess Bowery Thank you so much -- I'm glad you're enjoying it! The cover models are about the closest we could get to Stephen (front) and Joshua (back).

In my head…more
Thank you so much -- I'm glad you're enjoying it! The cover models are about the closest we could get to Stephen (front) and Joshua (back).

In my head, mind you, Stephen looks much more like Sebalter (Swiss violinist) with longer hair, and Joshua has always been Rupert Penry-Jones. <3

(Can I put links in here? Let me try.)



(And I think Alex Pettyfer would make a brilliant Evander, don't you?)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  173 ratings  ·  53 reviews

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K.J. Charles
I really enjoyed this. It's very sex-heavy, which is fine and well done, though I honestly felt it would have worked with less. Stephen and Joshua are both lovely characters, and Stephen's relationship with Evander is very well done. What's super special about this is the historical grounding, though. All the MCs are artists, not aristos, and the Georgian gay underworld is really well delineated. I don't think I've seen the Vere Street Coterie mentioned in a romance before now, and the consequen ...more
Kaje Harper
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, m-m, m-m-m
I enjoyed this historical romance, particularly for the grounding in the historical gay society of the era. I appreciated the way historical events like arrests and punishments of those caught out in sodomy, were shown to have a devastating effect on the men to whom they were casual friends, and perhaps past sex partners. And a chilling effect on any gay man of the era.

The romance proceeds slowly, and felt realistic. I liked that the men weren't wealthy or powerful, but ordinary starving artist
Veronica of V's Reads
I really enjoyed this historical M/M/M romance. London 1810.

Evander and Stephen have been together for nearly a decade, living the gay life in London. Evander is a composer and Stephen a violinist. Evander has a patron, the Earl of Coventry who invites Evander and Stephen for a six week holiday at his country estate. Stephen doesn't want to go, he hates being confined in places where he can't be himself, and being openly gay is not possible on the earl's estate. Plus, he has to suffer the consta
Amy Cousins
If you don’t like open relationships in romance novels, this one is not for you. I loved Tess Bowery’s story of two boyhood friends who have been making their way in the world as a composer/violinist partnership and somewhat rocky romantic pairing too, until they meet an artist whose temporary addition to their bed changes everything. Bowery does a terrific job up ratcheting up the tension by including news of a real-life police raid that resulted in the arrests of dozens of gay men, and the dea ...more
Three stars. Not saying this was bad. It wasn’t. More like…it was okay but not exactly my cuppa. It’s a bit of a personal reminder that, with very few exceptions, I’m not a huge fan of Regency Romance or historicals in general.

***Mildly Spoilerish so hiding the rest***

(view spoiler)
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I got an ARC from the author so I was lucky enough to get an early look. Now, interestingly Romances are not my thing, but I quickly got thoroughly engaged with the characters!
They read like real people. I didn't feel so much like I was being told a story as I was drawn in and experiencing it with them.
The history is well researched and realistic -including slang terms, professional jargon - Nothing pulled me out of the moment.

Joshua sounds like a professional artist (something I know somethi
Andrea Goodell
Aug 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What I think I enjoyed most about this book was it was about average guys. Most period books I’ve read normally feature a Lord of the realm and a servant of some type. Or two Lords, but this was about two and then three different artist types trying to make a living and surviving as best they knew how. Even if it meant breaking a heart or two along the way.
The dynamic between the three is great. Stephan shows so much growth in the end you can’t help but love him. Evander, you want to dislike but
Rose A
Dec 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have to admit that I approached this novel with a little trepidation because M/M/M is well outside my reading comfort zone; however, I needn't have worried. The quality of Bowery's writing makes her subject matter engaging even to a novice of the genre. All the characters grabbed me from the beginning from Joshua, Stephen and Evander to more minor characters. In fact, one of the things I really loved about this story was the feeling that it did not exist in a vacuum. The protagonists were obvi ...more
Page Crusherz
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I cut my romance-reader teeth on Regency romances, albeit the ones with corsets and raven tresses, so when I find a delicious looking Regency featuring breeches and more breeches, I jump at the chance to read it.

I expected a light romp in the 19th century, but Bowery's tale was much more than that. Don't get me wrong, it was not at all light on the sex...and the sex was HOT. The many sex scenes from M/M/M to M/M left me feeling "...mmmmmm." They were great, and definitely fit the story appropria
Adrienne -kocham czytać-
"...and the hottest six weeks of summer the nineteenth century has ever seen."

*chuckles* Yes, please.
Lena Grey
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Never love anybody who treats you like you are ordinary.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Evander, of 'The Rite of Summer' by Tess Bowery, loves Stephen when they run away from home years ago, but as time goes on, he becomes more concerned about himself and being successful than anything else, including Stephen. Stephen knows Evander has changed—he chalks up his controlling ways to Evander's desire to make a “better man” out of him. Stephen is completely under his thumb When Evander is issued an invitation to spe
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
This was my second time reading, as I needed a new romance series to distract my brain in the evening. This didn't wow me, the heat was fine but something about the relationships didn't convince me. ...more
Rite of Summer by Tess Bowery
Book #1: Treading the Boards Series
Source: Purchase
My Rating: 4/5 stars
My Review:

Stephen Ashbrook and Evander Cade are a package deal and have been since the moment they ran from their respective homes. Life in London has brought them a couple of things, the freedom to quietly be together and a much larger and more receptive audience for their music. Every composer needs a muse and according to Cade, Ashbrook has always been his. Their professional life is progressi
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I Dig Good Books.

Stephen Ashbrook, talented musician and Evander Cade, composer, come as a pair. Evander manages to garner an invitation to a summer party, lasting six weeks. Stephen isn't sure this is a good idea, but what Evander wants, Evander gets. Once there, though, they meet Joshua Beaufort, painter. Joshua has been smitten with Stephen since he heard him play a year before. When the invtation to join Stephen and Evander in their bed comes along,
Book Gannet
This is a sumptuous historical romance that’s equally rich in detail and man-on-man action. Featuring three male artists (painter, musician, composer) eking out their own existences at the start of the 19th century it’s full of emotional angst and tribulations, the rush of new love, the pain of old friends, the fear of homophobic laws and the strain of patronage. In essence my thoughts on this book are pretty simple: Oh, Stephen. Oh, Joshua! Urgh, Cade.

In a way that’s both the pain and the pleas
May 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
4 out of 5 stars

“The Rite of Summer” by Tessa Bowery is an erotic m/m and m/m/m historical romance that is the start of the ‘Treading the Boards’ series. Stephen Ashbrook and Evander Cade are an established couple who have managed a comfortable life under the patronage of the Earl of Coventry, who is impressed by Evander’s talents as a composer but merely tolerates Stephen as an accompanist. A house-party changes the duo’s lives forever, as an encounter with painter Joshua Beaufort, who has admi
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not Such a Menange

This one will catch you right away--the intense love making between the young composer Evander Cade and his "muse," the extraordinary violinist and his lover Stephen Ashbrook, will toss you for a loop and send you into an orbit of a tale that leaves virtually no stone unturned when it comes to digging into the swamp that is Regency England in 1810.

But Evander is the dominant one in the relationship and practically orders Stephen to accompany him to a six-week long vacation at t
Nick F
May 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC of the book, read it and here is what I have to say.

Tess Bowery’s “Rite of Summer” is beautifully written historical erotic M/M novel where you are taken to a completely different world, whether you are reading this at home, on the train or wherever you might be. Bowery’s ability to take you through the lives and scenes of people in this time and place is truly amazing and so accurate that you feel as if you are there with the characters, not just reading their story from a boo
Sep 18, 2015 rated it liked it
(request submitted by author for an honest critique)

Two men shagging - Three men - Masturbation: Tess didn't falter in delivering some rather heated scenes. For me, Joshua masturbating was more erotic than all the other scenes combined. However, I'm just a gal who enjoys self-loving and watching others pleasure themselves. *winks*

As stimulating as those moments were, I have one small complaint --- the overuse of the word, "PRICK". In erotica tales, it's hard (no pun intended) to create elabora
Missy Fern - BFD Book Blog
May 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is the first book in the Treading the Boards series and is a mm historical. Stephen Ashbrook and Evander Cade are a couple impacted by meeting a painter, Joshua Beaufort, at a summer party. The book steams up a bit when Joshua joins them in their bed over the summer..when all is said and done two of them are together, but I won't tell you which two.

The writing was wonderful, but the persecution of these men who follow their hearts was not. Society's intolerance of their lifestyle has a
Feb 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-reads
Too long, weak editing, and repetition upon repetition drove me crazy. I would only vaguely refer to this as m/m/m as I was expecting the threesome to work out, which (spoiler) ... it didn't. It shouldn't have, and I'm glad it didn't, but still I expected it to be a working poly story not what it was. (end spoiler) The sex was overdone and more frequent than necessary. I enjoyed that it was about every day people trying to make a living at the arts and that the aristocracy was peripheral to the ...more
Miss Susan
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbtqia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

** 4.5 Stars **

I liked it a lot, it was different!
Lillian Francis
Dec 16, 2015 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Lillian by: K.J. Charles
Blaming KJ and her review for purchasing this one.
Jen Hoskins
Fuck, but this book put me through the emotional wringer. Rite of Summer is a rollercoaster—it brings you up with music and sunshine and sex before pitching you right down into really heavy emotional depths.
That’s why I need to flag up a couple of CWs here: (view spoiler)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gay-historical
I love the premise of Stephen and Evander's history. As youths they are lovers and they ran away together to London to find their 'fortunes' as they were. Eventually it became evident that their relationship isn't all that it appeared to be.
Then the Vere Street Scandal happens and they are angry, saddened and afraid for themselves and for their friends that were caught up in the raids.

Stephen is in denial, Evander is looking for a way into permanent financial stabilization and selfishly went abo
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Adored it: period-appropriate dialogue, historically accurate queers, and scorching porn.

Content warnings for period-appropriate homophobia and sustained depiction of domestic abuse (realistic, respectful, and with the good ending happily and the bad unhappily). Amazon marketed this as a triad romance, and while I feel this was a far superior novel to the fluffy mmm porn I was expecting, the plot hit me hard enough that parts of this were an intense and difficult read -- in the end it touched my
Jul 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: not-for-me
DNFed at 69% although the writing is fine and I am enjoying the historic setting. Even like the characters, although the whole angsty thing was going on a bit long and I have good reason to expect it to continue.

Mostly though, there’s a lot of sex. Pages and pages and pages, which is mainly there to be, well, erotica I guess because only occasionally does it move the story forward. Which is not my thing. Give me a story (which can use sex to explain/change things) or give me erotica (which’s pu
DNF. Picked this up hoping for some good poly histrom, but at nearly 40% in, I'm so bored. There's plenty of three-way sex but not much else. I just can't take any more. Also, while the major historical details may be accurate, the tiny inaccuracies really annoy me. ...more
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Tess has been a fan of historical fiction since learning the Greek and Roman myths at her mother's knee. Now let loose on a computer, she's spinning her own tales of romance and passion in a slightly more modern setting. Tess lives on the east coast, with her partner of fifteen years and two cats who should have been named 'Writer's Block' and 'Get Off the Keyboard, Dammit.'

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Other books in the series

Treading the Boards (3 books)
  • She Whom I Love (Treading the Boards, #2)
  • That Potent Alchemy (Treading the Boards, #3)

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