Note: This book was originally released as part of an anthology, Hamilton's Battalion, and will be released as a standalone novella on June 26, 2018. This book was provided as an ARC in exchange for a review.
I'm still very much dipping my toes into the m/m romance subgenre. This is not really a matter of preference, only that I tend to follow the same authors who tend to only use LGBTQ characters and romances as subplots and supporting characters. This is my third novel in this category, and the second in the m/m tradition. So that being said, I'm happy to have read this. The leads are engaging, the banter is lovely and swift and as always, Courtney Milan tackles the larger issues so deftly you don't even notice what she's doing. There's always something deeper at work in Milan books, and her hero and heroines are always just left of conventional, which is my favorite thing about her work. I love knowing when I pick up a book from Courtney Milan, I'm about to be taken on a journey that no other author could have done.
I really love this time period -- there aren't a lot of romances set in the historical United States outside of the post-Civil War West, but I could stand a few more Revolutionary/Early Republic American romances from the East Coast.
This was actually a perfect time for me to read this book as I'm about to embark on a summer research project for my graduate program about the transatlantic abolition movement and American reactions to British abolition in 1833. I was immediately hooked by John Hunter, an escaped slave struggling to get back to his family in Rhode Island as sentiments were rising against the free black population. And Henry Latham, the British chatterbox (or as Hunter called him in the beginning "a prattle-basket") was a lovely mix of irreverence and complete seriousness of purpose. Their walking journey from Virginia to Rhode Island was entertaining.
What I really liked about this novella is what didn't happen. There was no struggle over their sexuality--they had both met one another with a sense of comfort about preferring men. The best thing about Milan's couples is that their conflict is almost always rooted in something foundational--something that requires something to change rather than simply someone being honest. The more I read, the more value I find in these kinds of romances.
John and Henry are in love by the time they reach Newport, but it's a world that would make it difficult for them to be together without more growing--and actually, the conversation about having a life together never happens. They never broach the subject. Not only do they prefer each other to women, but they're an interracial couple in a country that continues to enslave millions. They leave one another in Newport to put together separate lives--John to be reunited with his family and other freed blacks in Maine, and Henry to wrestle his fortune away from his terrible father and to find some deeper purpose. They try to live apart, and neither are quite satisfied by it.
It's a quiet, character romance that I really enjoyed. It makes me want to go back and reread After the Wedding to see more about how John and Henry's life continued.
The Pursuit Of... (The Worth Saga)
Note: This book was originally released as part of an anthology, Hamilton’s Battalion, and will be released as a standalone novella on June 26, 2018. This book was provided as an ARC in ...