Genre: m/m historical fiction
Print length: 268 pages
Publication date: February 6, 2013
Rating: Four Stars
Blurb: A great house. A family dispossessed. A sensitive young man. A powerful landowner. An epic love that springs up between two men.
Set in the post-Napoleonic years of the 1820s, Standish is a tale of two men—one man discovering his sexuality and the other struggling to overcome his traumatic past. Ambrose Standish, a studious and fragile young man, has dreams of regaining the great house his grandfather lost in a card game. When Rafe Goshawk returns from the continent to claim the estate, their meeting sets them on a path of desire and betrayal which threatens to tear both of their worlds apart. Painting a picture of homosexuality in Georgian England, Standish is a love story of how the decisions of two men affect their journey through Europe and through life.
Second edition, newly revised by the author.
I’ll start off with the things I didn’t like. Emotional upheaval. It’s a little much. I can’t help but compare it with the other work this author has done and find it lacking in precision and finesse. Although, I was informed that this is actually the first book this author had published, and as such, can be considered an admirable beginning for an impressive legacy of m/m fiction.
The supporting characters were lacking. A few came very close to being flesh and bone but never quite got there. And to be honest, I didn’t like Rafe. Fortunately, I didn’t need to like him to keep reading, and that brings me to all of the good things about this book.
Love the descriptions. There is something very ‘Jane Eyre’ and ‘Wuthering Heights’ about the setting of the story, the emotion, the descriptions of the landscape. Maybe I’m wrong, but even Rafe struck me as slightly Heathcliffish in nature. The result, of course, was that the story sucked me right in. I’ve always been a sucker for a decent Bronte misery. Even the love between Ambrose and Refe could be described in a famous Bronte line, “It was not the thorn bending to the honeysuckles, but the honeysuckles embracing the thorn.”
Did I throughly enjoy reading it? Yes. Is it my favorite work by this author? Not even close. But I was entertained, swept away in the love, sex and pain of the novel none the less.