Title: Frost Fair
Published in November 2008 by Linden Bay Romance
Genre: Gay Regency Historical M/M
Other Books by Erastes: Standish, Night Moves, Speak Its Name
Gideon Frost has a couple of problems he is trying very hard to solve. The first, and in his mind the foremost, is the print shop. The old shop and press are the only legacy left to him by his father. Generally, the printing community is a very close one, but when Gideon's father was injured, and Gideon had to take over not only the duties of nursing, and running the shop, things only got worse. Unable to garner help from amidst the others in the community, he was left to fend for himself, and when his father died of his injuries, leaving Gideon in debt and with little to survive on, it was time to make some changes. To sell the shop and press were unheard of, and he set about taking special commissions, for Gideon has a talent when it comes to art, and architecture, and has been producing beautiful prints of the local great houses, for the upper classes and wealthy merchants. This has for the most part been his bread and butter, has been the meat and meal of the extras he has allowed himself. Along with Mordecai, his printer's helper, he has managed to stay solvent, but just barely.
His newest and one of his best commissions is due shortly, the house of a Mr. Joshua Redfern, and he is hoping there will be enough to settle his debts for a while, and maybe have enough left to provide himself with a few extras. There is a lot unsettling about this particular patron, he is a man Gideon finds himself very attracted to, and he can only dream about him. He has to hide his nature, and that doesn't sit well at times like this, when he would really like to tell the man how he feels, and take his chances. But Gideon knows better, he had a very close call the other night in the churchyard, where he went to try to earn a few extra shillings by offering himself there for the gentlemen who hunger for the taste of the forbidden. Only his knowledge of the ins and outs of the garden helped him and a young man who might have become a temporary lover, escape from the constabulary who rousted and arrested the men who congregated there for sex. What Gideon never expected was to be cornered and propositioned by Mr. Redfern's companion and friend, Mr. Thouless...
Joshua Redfern is intrigued by the golden beauty and the slender androgyny of the young printer. Finn Thouless, his friend and an Irishman of dubious character, had spotted Gideon Frost in a crowd, and they had followed him back to his small and cluttered shop. It was there, when Thouless commenced to tell the young man the tale of Joshua wanted a print of his house done, Joshua got a good look at the effete young man, and his heart started. He was glad Thouless was making arrangements, asking when and if such a print was possible and could the printer take this commission. Thouless has a glib tongue, a way and an ease with words and people Joshua admired, and there were many times, and especially like that instance when he wished for the ability to converse so easily. Being as attracted as he was to Gideon didn't help either, and trying to hide his nature, especially from his friend Thouless, made things even worse. He knew his friend was sharp, had thoughts of him being a person such as himself with homosexual desires and tendencies, but Thouless showed no outward signs so Joshua had to tread with care.
He’d had one bad experience with a lover, and was not anxious to repeat the process. The feelings he had for the young printer were not to be acted upon, not to be shown to his friend either if Joshua had his way. But things don’t always happen the way one desires, and Joshua is plagued with thoughts of the young man, desires hard to hide, and his misery being compounded every day. It is very hard for him to endure Gideon’s presence as he sketches the house, to chose the sketch he wishes to be made into a print, and to keep his hands to himself. He fears he is losing his heart to one he cannot have, and that only makes things worse. He finds himself in the position of visiting Gideon’s shop for the purpose of getting a glimpse of the print, using an excuse to take him to tea, and at the same time trying to ignore the effect the angelically beautiful printer has on his mind, heart, and his libido. He can’t wait to see the finished work, he recognizes the talent, and looks forward to each time he sees Gideon, be it in the crowd, or in his dreams no matter how painful the sight…
Frost Fair is a delightful and suspenseful read, and it hits to the heart of the dilemma of being gay and having to hide it from society. The Regency Society, while tolerant of all kinds of libidinous activities by the populace, held to a rather prudish morality when face with the same sex desires. Into this world, Gideon and Joshua tired hard to fit, keeping their natures secret, and yet drawn to one another by more than just a budding friendship, or patron to artist relationship. Gideon had a talent over and above his printing business, he was an artist, and did fine prints. Joshua wanted him to use it in his behalf, even though his friend Thouless was behind the commission of the artwork. He wanted any excuse to be near Gideon, yet the need to hide his proclivities was paramount. He was afraid the young man did not share his desires, and thus he was awkward in his presence. Gideon felt much the same for Joshua, but like-minded, he also hid his nature, or at least tried his best. Things would have been better if he and Joshua had not been betrayed…
Erastes writes an intriguing story, filled with love, lust, passion, and beauty. His characters are strong, beautifully drawn, and totally believable. The nature of the characters and times is set in every nuance, every line, and in the very lush setting of the story itself. It imbeds itself deep until you can actually visualize in your mind the time and place, and the people he immortalizes. This empathy shows and allows the reader to experience the depth, the heart, and the very soul of the piece, and submerses us in the reality of the situation in which his characters find themselves. He is a master of his craft, and is consistent in the tale, bringing us the vivid descriptions of life in the richness surrounding the time of the Prince Regent, and the mores and pitfalls as well. Frost Fair is a novel of the heart, and unlike many other romance works done about the period, Erastes has chosen to explore the love between two men. He has the talent to show Gideon and Joshua in their true lights, as men, as lovers, and ultimately as outcasts in society if their love should be made known. How will this all end? How deep is the betrayal and can love survive? To get the answers, go to Linden Bay Romance and get your copy of Frost Fair, by Erastes. It is here, and it is a read you won’t want to miss. If you desire a good read, and want a story that will definitely keep you turning the pages, then Frost Fair is a book for you!
Yours in good reading,
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