July 4, 2016 by kitmoss
REVIEW: One Glimpse (Indulgence Book 2)
by Lydia Gastrell
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (October 19, 2015)
For years, Sir Samuel Shaw has secretly lusted after the handsome and popular Lord John Darnish, a man known for his good humor, expert riding prowess, and very female mistress. Certain that John is an unattainable fantasy, Sam is shaken when an accidental discovery reveals John might not be as unattainable as he once thought. But what is possible is not always likely, and Sam finds himself trapped between keeping a friend and risking everything for the unlikely hope of something more.
John is terror-struck when his drunken mistake threatens to shatter the double life he has worked so hard to maintain. His terror soon turns to hope when he finds himself drawn to Sam, who he is sure does not share his interest in men. But subtle things cause him to second guess and fear that his hopes are making him see what he wants to see.
Sam’s risks and John’s hopes turn futile, however, when blights from Sam’s past resurface to threaten them and Sam’s family. Can Sam choose between the love he has always wanted and the security of his family, or will forces outside his control hurt all the people he holds most dear?
REVIEW by Christopher Hawthorne Moss
This is a longish book but with plenty going on to keep you hooked. It is not perfect (more on that later) but should feed the tastes of any typical MM book lover. You see Sam right away being betrayed by his youthful crush, which provides the reader with the background of all the other miscreants in the story. Then you shift to several years later and London where Sam is now a fully practicing homosexual, but in general has the reputation of the humorless curmudgeon.
Part of the problem is that he still sees himself as the unattractive pudgy boy he was back in Harrow. In fact he’s always assumed that Henry rejected him as much for that reason as for his fear of being seen as gay. He approaches all his adult relationships in much the same way. He assumes that everyone who looks askance at him is judging him for his low rank (he is merely a baronet), because they guess he might be gay, or for some other perceived social ill. The fact is that, as my own partner says, chances are no one is thinking about him at all. So much of his assumptions about other people’s judgment prove simply to be wrong and were in fact because of a fault in their own stars.
Sam is living in London now and is very wealthy. His sisters, married or widowed, live in London too except for his youngest sister, Flor, who has just come for her season and to be chosen by a promising suitor. She seems at first unlikely to go for the run-of-the-mill ne’er-do-well, but young Elliott Evers, mercenary to the core, convinces her that he wants to marry her. In the meantime Sam accidentally runs into Viscount Darnish, a perfect specimen whom Sam has lusted after for years in the all-male floor of a brothel. Now Sam knows that Darnish is, like him, a lover of men. His lack of self-confidence keeps him from telling Darnish of their similarity. Darnish spends a painful period of time worrying about Sam, whether he will reveal his nature to others, and trying to understand why Sam is such a decent guy. That whole sequence is almost painful to behold. But Sam turns to Darnish, who is now his lover, when Evers elopes with Flor.
In the meantime an old buddy of Darnish’s, Michael Sills, sets Evers to blackmail Sam into no longer spending time with Darnish. In fact, he may not even talk to him. Sam cuts Darnish dead, breaking his heart quite thoroughly. But Darnish turns to Henry, Sam’s old schoolboy crush, to ask him to speak to Sam to find out what’s going on. Sam shows up in Henry’s house about twenty minutes later, and Henry and his partner figure out that they need to get these two together to find out what to do about Evers. The rest of this storyline is quite satisfying.
The faults I found in this book have to do with how the story is plotted. At one point Henry, his lover, Sam, and Darnish all admit that they don’t know a lot of other gay men in London. This seems rather unlikely since at least two of them knew about the male floor at the brothel. The only reason for this bit of information is uncertain, perhaps only to keep the tale of Victorian Uranians to a minimum. The whole story with Evers has its weak points but is generally acceptable. I also just don’t understand the title.
This is the second volume of a two-volume set, the first book concerning Henry and his partner, but I hope there will be a third because there is just way too much mystery around Julian Garrett.