by Ava March
M/M Historical Romance
ARC from Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher
This is the second in the Brook Street Trilogy, but even if you haven't read any of the others, this still works as a good standalone story. Julian Parker has returned to London after ten years in the American colonies with one goal in mind: get accepted by society by marrying an heiress. His father and grandfather lost most of the family fortune gambling and chasing women and he is determined to make sure none of that gossip still lingers around him. There's just one problem, he doesn't desire women, never has and much prefers the male form for any romantic entanglement. At his very first ball with his cousin (from the non-scandalous side of the family), Julian meets Oscar Woodhaven, a shy young man and is immediately drawn to him.
Oscar has more wealth than he knows what to do with, but he is terribly lonely and fears people only befriend him because of his fortune. Is Julian Parker about to change all that? Has Oscar finally found someone who likes him for him and not his money? I adored this book, I could hardly put it down. Both Julian and Oscar were lonely in their own way and I enjoyed watching as they fell in love. But the path of true love doesn't run smooth and it hurts when Oscar realises that Julian may not be the man he seemed after all. You wanted to climb inside the book and give Julian a good shake at what he was doing.
The book is filled with enough historical detail to give you a sense of time and place, but not so much that it detracts from the story or the characters and becomes a history lesson. The characters are well drawn, with some flaws that make them seem more human but not so many that they become dislikeable. Oscar and Julian's romance sizzles with heat, the love scenes are very sensual and fit in well with the overall tone of the story. It's the first book I've read by Ava March, bit it certainly won't be the last. Reviewed by Annette Gisby, author of The Chosen