As my "final" book for my personal MM historical challenge this month, once again, I got help from Heather C who rec'd this. Since I loved the first book that I tried from this author, The Gentleman and The Rogue, I thought, why not...
In the beginning, I was quite shocked to find out that the story took place at an asylum. Truthfully, I didn't even read about the blurb, I just picked it out because Heather rec'd it. So it immediately brought me anxiety. I couldn't help it -- the idea of men being 'treated' in those places, with electrical shock and ice-bath treatments, it BROKE my heart. I was worried that the story would go to dark and sad path, and I didn't know if I would be ready for it. With the setting in asylum like so, I don't know if my heart could take it!!
However, THANKFULLY, the story didn't offer heavy depression or torture. It did have melancholy tone to it -- with John being a patient, who longed for his freedom, who savored the friendship and kindness from Tully. I fell in love with both characters who compliment each other so perfectly. John with his hunger for academia and research and science while Tully has a more grounded compassion towards other humans. The slow-build from friendship to love was written wonderfully
The story also offered some dangerous situations, especially when John and Tully decided to pursue a more physical relationship. I was on the edge of my seat, being scared for the two of them. Unfortunately, with that kind of suspense, the resolution for this was a bit of a let-down. I was a bit annoyed with the easy way out in form of discovery of files that became proof about what went wrong at the asylum. I was content with John and Tully's happy-ever-after, but I wished it was more, uhm, difficult than that. That way the ending could feel more rewarding.
Having said that, it was still a beautiful and engaging tale. I guess, my January personal challenge is finished with a high note.
... The two of them were well matched after all. John like a bright schooner balancing lightly on the waves of life, and Tully the harbor where he found safety and shelter and rest
Personal MM historical challenge January 2014: story #7