The Diary

R.M. Jane
The Diary
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Less Than Three Press
Release Date
February 2015
Historical Romance, LGBTQ

John Bridly has been enamored with Paul Duvant, son of a rich American merchant, since the moment he laid eyes on him. But though the love proves mutual, John is a marquess, second son of a duke, and as such has a duty to his family.

When Paul has to return to his homeland, John's duty forbids him from following Paul, and the lovers part ways. Two years later, John finds a mysterious diary, dated from the last century...

Book Review by Robyn Elliot (author,reviewer)
Apr 03, 2015   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
222 people found the following review helpful
This is a historical love story with a very poignant twist, which I very much liked. I also liked the main characters, both essentially sympathetic men, products of their different upbringings. The key for them, underlying the slow progression of their love story, was a deep sense of rejection...compounded by loneliness that was difficult to break down because of the very fear of renewed rejection. I considered these themes in the story mature and reflective, rather than racing to their sexual and emotional conclusions without decent development of character.

The period is presented evocatively, and the author also captures the absolutely breathtaking heartlessness of some of the English upper classes. There is one scene, in particular, that is outrageously cruel and yet not entirely borne of fiction, I'm sure. The author has done the research well, depicting an age where many things were superficially beautiful and oh-so-very respectable whilst revealing the harsh underbelly of greed, selfishness and deep-rooted hypocrisy. Indeed, I was willing the characters to find each other sufficiently to take comfort, not only in a sexual sense, but in a heartfelt context, so they would be able to stand together against the harshness of the times in which, as gay men, they lived.

The story moves well, with tight pacing and wry, often witty dialogue evocative of the bygone age it represents. I feel the author really immersed herself in this period [later 19th century, spanning England and America], and the characters, as a consequence, have depth and purpose. The aristocrat has ambition and desires that don't match the expectations of his class, whilst Paul, the other main protagonist, is caught between serving the purpose of others, namely his family, whilst sacrificing the deepest wishes of his heart.

Supporting characters provide buoyancy and credibility to the story, and aren't reduced to ciphers, which can often happen in stories. Paul's sister, especially, appealed to me and I hope there were many more of her ilk in those deeply conservative times, providing support for her conflicted brother.

Yes, a very enjoyable read and high quality work. I recommend it without hesitation.
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