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Lord Heliodor's Retirement

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  234 ratings  ·  46 reviews
A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Daily Dose collection Never Too Late.

Unlikely hero Lord Adem Heliodor saved his queen’s life during the Screaming, a magical attack on his city, but his broken nerves have forced him into an unwanted early retirement to his country estate. Adem thinks his life is over, but retirement holds some surprises. First, there’s his new libr
ebook, 52 pages
Published June 1st 2015 by Dreamspinner Press (first published May 31st 2015)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
First of all, I'm SOOOO happy to finally read a story with MCs in their 50s that isn't an established couple story! You go, Amy Rae Durreson! I really liked that we got to see some more mature guys get their HEA.

I'm not a huge fantasy reader nor am I a fan of romantic suspense, but I was intrigued by the premise of this story. I'm not super brave when it comes to stepping outside my comfort zone, but I'm glad I tried this one. The story was quick, sweet, and steam-free (that last part... not my
Julio Genao
Aug 15, 2015 rated it liked it
agreeable novella featuring an interesting and charming couple in the over-50 demographic. good fun :-)
♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣
4.5 Youbetchursweetbippy stars on Prism Book Alliance®

Amy Rae Durreson knows how to plop me down right in the middle of whatever place her characters find themselves. Her descriptions of physical surroundings are imbued with emotion and attitude. Beyond dialogue, beyond thought, the way the characters interact with their surroundings tells me just as much about them as anything else. This is no easy task.

The valley was too low and damp for vineyards, but hops grew here by the row, and the air s
Ije the Devourer of Books
Lord Heliodor

This was really good.

A short story with excellent storytelling. Lord Heliodor is sent off into retirement only to encounter his lost love and to find himself embroiled in a conspiracy which he thought had ended.

It is great to have a fantasy adventure which is told so succinctly without losing anything and which doesn't feel rushed. It is also fab to have a story about an older couple. I would love to read a longer story about this world.

Lovely storytelling.
Amy Durreson
Jul 26, 2016 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: own-work
When Dreamspinner put out a call for short stories with older couples, I leapt at it. I'd had a piece in their previous anthology on the same theme, Snow on the Roof, which I'd loved writing. I wanted to write something with a very different setting from that piece, which is a gentle contemporary. My first instinct was to try and write a historical, a Regency about a soldier trying to adjust to civilian life. It didn't work out, so I decided to switch focus to fantasy. I kept the idea of someone ...more
Skye Kilaen
Fantasy M/M romance with older characters, one of my comfort re-reads (despite some scary bits). After a long, successful career in public service, Lord Adem Heliodor is asked to retire when it becomes clear to everyone that trauma from a terrifying magical attack is making it impossible for him to work. Since he was a hero during the attack, it seems terribly unfair to Adem, but what can you do when the Queen sends you away? Go back to your country estate and expect boredom, that's what. Luckil ...more
Lilia Ford

Everything of Durreson's is well worth reading. This story had solid fantasy world-building and engaging leads, with the added plus of depicting the love of older folks not in their teens or twenties, which this middle-aged reader really appreciated. The story is very short, and though Durreson does a lot with the scant number of pages, I couldn't help feeling like it would have benefited from a longer treatment--the ending especially felt more rushed and artificial than it might have. I gath
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful read, short but oh so satisfying.
Jun 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
*3.5 stars*
Another book with older MCs! Adem (Lord Heliodor) and Corun are in their mid-fifties, reconnecting for the first time in 37 years. Adem has been forced to retire to his country estate where he finds Corun working in his library. They pick up where they left off when they were young lovers, but not all is what it seems and there is evil approaching. Although I liked parts of this, the romance fell a bit flat to me -- there wasn't much tension at all between the two MCs.
Serena Yates
Sometimes it is those who seem least likely to be heroes who end up saving the day. But since they are not used to being brave, they often find it difficult to deal with the fallout. Lord Adem Heliodor is a man who showed unexpected courage in the face of a horrible threat – and if this were a contemporary story, the doctors would tell him he suffers from PTSD. This is a fantasy though, so the terms are different, but the facts are the same. Adem will need to redefine his life, and it isn’t an e ...more
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ever so cute m/m romance, read on recommendation from a friend. Thoroughly enjoyable and very good fun. This is especially notable for having a later in life coming-out as part of it: I would have maybe liked a liiiittle more about that, this is definitely the fluffy side of the force when the story could, I feel, have supported a bit more weight, but that's not a problem at all if what you want is to read about two people with history coming together and helping each other. Lovely.
Shira Glassman
This is romance between older men (yum), in a fantasy/costume-drama setting, with a speculative adventure plot woven seamlessly into the relationship. A government official is sent home to his country estate when his PTSD from saving the queen from an undead horror (his close friends all turned into zombies and he had to kill them) starts to give him an erratic temper. Turns out the horror isn't quite finished, and he and his childhood sweetheart, who he's recently back together with, are right ...more
Serena Yates
Sometimes it is those who seem least likely to be heroes who end up saving the day. But since they are not used to being brave, they often find it difficult to deal with the fallout. Lord Adem Heliodor is a man who showed unexpected courage in the face of a horrible threat – and if this were a contemporary story, the doctors would tell him he suffers from PTSD. This is a fantasy though, so the terms are different, but the facts are the same. Adem will need to redefine his life, and it isn’t an e ...more
Iona Sharma
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
A reread from 2016, I'd forgotten how much I loved this one. I love the wholly unconventional romance protagonist - Lord Heliodor is a 50-something former minister for ports, forced into retirement after an incredibly traumatic experience - and his lovely, lovely, late-in-life queer romance. There are some magical shenanigans, which are very enjoyable, and a sweet ending. I really wish it had been novel-length.
Joyfully Jay
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sue
A Joyfully Jay review.

4.5 stars

Lord Heliodor’s Retirement is a fast-paced read with its fair share of angst and a truly horrifying magical curse. The author does a good job of giving background to the story with a decent sense of place. Worldham isn’t given any extraordinary characteristics, but as a reader I felt I understood it and the hold it had over Heliodor. The author’s writing style has an easy flow that suits the pacing and overall structure.

Adem and Corun are a sweet couple and, while
Crystal Marie
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is another one of those books where I was caught between a 3 and a 4 rating. If I had rated it up until the last 10% of the book, I would have given it a 3, but the ending was satisfying enough to end up a 4. I’ll admit, I’m not sure I would classify it as a ‘romance’ though. Historical suspense sorta kinda. The romance between Adem and Cory was an aside to the actual storyline, in my opinion, which ended up working out.

Adem saved his queen from the Screaming, a strange plague that once tou
I must admit that I really enjoy Ms Durreson's stories, and this one was no exception.

"Lord Heliodor's Retirement" is a wonderful combination of emotion and intrigue. Lord Adem Heliodor saved his queen's life from an unknown spell that has gained the nickname 'The Screaming' a few months ago but since then has been experiencing PTSD symptoms (of course, being a fantasy they don't call it that, but it's obvious that's what it is). Unable to do the job he loves after being forcibly retired to his
May 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: june-15
Way too short, yet captivating :D I would have loved to read an epilogue but maybe there will be more? One can hope, right? :)
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Short and sweet, with good world-building and a lively adventure.
Nina 321
Here is the 'proper' review but, in truth, this was the right book at the wrong time. As soon as the infectious magic mist appeared, I was thrown out of the escapist mood of reading an m/m romance with happy-ever-after and into my current unquiet real world of corona virus pandemic. So: trigger warning for theme of viral-like infection (not a warning we have needed heretofore). Apart from the triggering mists, the book rippled along nicely, with some likable main characters who have great warmth ...more
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lord Heliodor was kind of sparing about the details of his own life for a while, but eventually opened up about it. Once I got some idea of the world, I could start to understand what the characters' places in it were. Heliodor clearly had very bad PTSD, understandably so, so he wasn't the most reliable narrator, especially at first. Fortunately, the queen he served understood that Heliodor was acting the way he was because of the PTSD. She had him take early retirement from the court.

Once back
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, mm
Novellas and short stories are hard to rate for me because I usually finish reading wanting more of the story. This one does a nice job of telling a complete story without feeling like it left questions unanswered. The mystery of the villain and the danger that arises didn't really enthrall me because I knew it would be resolved easily since there were only a few pages left. That said, I found the characters charming and I really liked that they were older. I haven't read many stories with chara ...more
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Freaking FINALLY! An accurate portrayal of what trauma does to the mind and body without making it cheap or having no bloody repercussions. There was a beautiful elegance to this book, focusing on the life of Adem after an event that traumatized him deeply and sent him into early retirement. The amount of story woven into those pages was surprising, feeling as if it was longer than the page count shows it to be and the romance was refreshingly realistic. I will definitely be reading this one aga ...more
Elaine White
This was a sweet, intriguing story about 50+ MC's who find each other again after years apart. I liked it. It had some mystery, a lot of romance, some smexy times, and a full well-rounded plot.
But...I can't put into words what it was, but there was something missing that just left me wanting more. Maybe flashbacks rather than telling stories of their old days together? Maybe a bit more strength and conviction about Heliodor's love for Cory, before he actually appears, rather than a vague and sin
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked this a lot! It was really refreshing to read about an older couple rekindling their romance, and I wasn't expecting the mystery/action plot at all but really enjoyed it. Fun short read with intriguing world building!
A.E. Bennett
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This sweet, fantasy romance was a pleasure to read. It's short (I read it in an afternoon) but well worth anyone's time. A lovely second-chance romance that takes place in a well-developed, fantastical world.
Sasha Ambroz
Apr 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: so-gay, romance, own, fantasy
I think this book would have been much better if it was longer. Both the magic system and the relationship are undeveloped and abrupt in this size.
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
He didn’t want to talk about it, or even think about it, but his mind kept catching on it anyway. It was like having a broken step on a stairway you used every day. You could learn to step over it, forget about it except for the odd time when it caught you by surprise and you tripped, risked falling.[loc. 305]

A short, sweet m/m romance. Lord Heliodor is in his fifties, and has more or less given up on love. He's traumatised by the aftermath of a vile curse -- which led to him having to kill his
Love Bytes Reviews
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
4 Heart Review by Dan

I wasn’t sure about this one when I picked it off the list of the 2015 Daily Dose stories. I wasn’t at all familiar with the author, but the blurb sounded like it might be good. As you can see from the blurb, it is a tale of an alternate world with magic and evildoers. It is also a world apparently with no discrimination against same sex relationships.

Wow, am I glad I made the decision to pick this one. I really enjoyed this short story and the author’s writing style. The ma
Julie Hayes
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Lord Adem Heliodor has been sent into retirement, but it’s not exactly his choice, it’s the queen’s. But he can hardly argue with her. He knows he’s not the same man, ever since the Screaming. Still, it’s hard to accept being put out to pasture and not being a part of things any more. Which makes him a bit testy. Which explains why the new librarian accidentally dropping books on his head rubs him the wrong way.

Heliodor has been closed to love for many years, after his time with a certain handso
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Dreamspinner Press: Lord Heliodor’s Retirement by Amy Rae Durreson 1 6 Jul 01, 2015 10:17PM  

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Amy Rae Durreson is a quiet Brit with a degree in early English literature, which she blames for her somewhat medieval approach to spelling, and at various times has been fluent in Latin, Old English, Ancient Greek, and Old Icelandic, though these days she mostly uses this knowledge to bore her students. Amy started her first novel a quarter of a century ago and has been scribbling away ever since ...more

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