I warmed immediately to Vaughn’s artistic sensibilities and the sense of isolation and detachment that stemBlank Spaces is a sweet, engaging romance.
I warmed immediately to Vaughn’s artistic sensibilities and the sense of isolation and detachment that stem from his confusion about his asexuality. He seems to float through the world around him, observing it but not letting it touch him. If not happy at the start of the novel, he’s content to have traded the possibility of a romantic relationship for the guarantee of never having to be sexually intimate again. But, nevertheless, he’s lonely and longs for the romantic love he thinks will be impossible for him to find.
Jonah is the perfect foil for Vaughn. He’s very much rooted in sensation, using strings-free sex to blot out the deep pain of his troubled past. And, like Vaughn, he also believes that he’s fundamentally unlovable and that sensation is all he can expect from personal relationships. Jonah doesn’t believe he’s worthy of being loved—and certainly not by a guy like Vaughn.
Their journey towards each other through the book, each learning to accept their own nature and to accommodate the needs of the other, is sweet and angsty and had me rooting for them even when I couldn’t see how they’d reach their happy ending. (I loved the ending, btw: non-traditional, but charming and happy and perfect for this pair.)
The writing is polished and the story, involving mysterious thefts from the art gallery where Vaughn works, is handled well and has a satisfying resolution. It doesn’t intrude on the romance, but serves it and provides enough plot to keep the pages turning at a good pace.
For me, this book had all the feels with the added benefit that Vaughn’s asexuality brought something different to the m/m genre. Recommended for anyone looking for a sweet, fun romance with a good dollop of angst and an ending that leaves the heroes happy and in love. ...more
These days we'd probably call this an 'own voice' novel, but there weren't many own voice authors writing about being gay in 1913 which makes this booThese days we'd probably call this an 'own voice' novel, but there weren't many own voice authors writing about being gay in 1913 which makes this book uniquely fascinating to me.
A central theme, or message, of the book—and the conclusion which Maurice eventually reaches—is that being gay is natural. I was particularly struck by the notion of the 'greenwood' as a place of sanctuary for Maurice. He considers how many men 'like him' had escaped to the greenwood in England's past, a place where they could live naturally--in harmony with both nature and their own nature--rather than being subject to the laws of society. It's also essential for Maurice to strip himself of his class baggage in order to fully embrace his nature—and to, literally, embrace his lover Alec. (Interesting that Forster writes a sexually liberating game keeper over ten years before Lady Chatterley's Lover was published.)
I was also delighted and a little surprised to find the book had a HEA—and, in fact, that Forster had never considered anything else. As a result, some critics have described Maurice as a fairy tale. They’re wrong. Forster dedicated the book to ‘A happier year’ and over a century since it was written, we’ve moved far closer to that happier year than Forster appeared to imagine possible in his Terminal Note written in 1960. That makes me happy—as does the thought of Maurice and Alec together, forever, in the greenwood. ...more
A thoroughly enjoyable historical romance, set against the beautiful Cornish scenery. I loved the exploration of mesmerism, and the uniquely VictorianA thoroughly enjoyable historical romance, set against the beautiful Cornish scenery. I loved the exploration of mesmerism, and the uniquely Victorian overlap between science and the mystical.
The two central characters were well drawn, as was the whole village of Porthkennack, and their relationship felt real and tugged at the heartstrings in all the right ways. I enjoyed the contrast between the uptight, yet more experienced, Ward with the more down to earth yet inexperienced Nick and the development of their relationship had enough sweetness and angst to keep this romance addict very happy. :)
Although this is the second in the Porthkennack series, all the books can be read as stand alones. In fact, I read this one first. Recommended!...more