Tuesday, 26 January 2010

M/M Challenge, An Improper Holiday by K.A.Mitchell

As second son to an earl, Ian Stanton has always done the proper thing. Obeyed his elders, studied diligently, and dutifully accepted the commission his father purchased for him in the Fifty-Second Infantry Division. The one glaring, shameful, marvelous exception: Nicholas Chatham, heir to the Marquess of Carleigh.

Before Ian took his position in His Majesty’s army, he and Nicky consummated two years of physical and emotional discovery. Their inexperience created painful consequences that led Ian to the conviction that their unnatural desires were never meant to be indulged.

Five years later, wounded in body and plagued by memories of what happened between them, Ian is sent to carry out his older brother’s plans for a political alliance with Nicky’s father. Their sister Charlotte is the bargaining piece.
Nicky never believed that what he and Ian felt for each other was wrong and he has a plan to make things right. Getting Ian to Carleigh is but the first step. Now Nicky has only twelve nights to convince Ian that happiness is not the price of honor and duty, but its reward.
I don't usually read historicals (though nowadays if I do they are most likely to be m/m) but I saw the review of this on Review by Jessewave and a couple of other places as well. And it was getting such good reviews that I thought I'd give it a go.

I'm very glad I did. For a couple of reasons in particular.

Sometimes I'd like a little bit more reality in my love scenes. Generally (eek, I hate to use that word but...) m/f romances are more guilty of the fireworks, butterflies, shooting stars that accompanies the first love scene. In m/m romances it's usually much clearer and I think more sensual that the partners have to discover each others bodies. What we have in An Improper Holiday is dealing with the consequences (for want of a better word) when the first encounter goes disastrously wrong.

What I liked very much was that it was Nicky who was clear that he wanted a relationship with Ian, and Ian who was the more reluctant of the pair. Completely in keeping with his character, Ian took on more responsibility for what happened.

I also loved the relationship between Ian, Nicky and Charlotte. Surprisingly it's because of this that I've dropped a grade (conversely it's almost a good thing). I wanted the story to be longer. I wanted to know how things were going to progress. (Hopefully not spoiling anything here). Probably the remit of the story - covering the twelve holiday days - didn't allow it. But I couldn't help feeling slightly disappointed that it ended where it did. I wanted more. I wanted to know how things were going to work out in the longer term.

I also hope that there will be a sequel for another reason - the debauched Julian Lewes, object of Ian's jealousy.
Nicky was never sure whether he could believe everything Julian said. “You are incorrigible.”
“And why not? I possess the three things guaranteed to make life pleasant: wealth, power and a big cock.”
At one point Nicky says to him (paraphrasing) that one day he (Julian) will fall in love and he will laugh to see him fall into the abyss. That's a book I am very much looking forward to reading, reformed rakes are one of my favourite character types. :)


Tracy said...

I have to admit to being leary about reading m/m historicals but this sounds really good. I've seen the cover but have always passed it by. Thanks for the review - I'll pick it up. :)

LesleyW said...

Tracy - Yay! Successful pimpage. Hope you like it.