For Captain Harry Thompson, the command of the prison transport ship HMS Banshee is his opportunity to prove his worth, working-class origins be damned. But his criminal attraction to his upper-crust First Lieutenant, Garnet Littleton, threatens to overturn all he’s ever worked for.
Lust quickly proves to be the least of his problems, however. The deadly combination of typhus, rioting convicts, and a monstrous storm destroys his prospects . . . and shipwrecks him and Garnet on their own private island. After months of solitary paradise, the journey back to civilization—surviving mutineers, exposure, and desertion—is the ultimate test of their feelings for each other.
These two very different men each record their story for an unfathomable future in which the tale of their love—a love punishable by death in their own time—can finally be told. Today, dear reader, it is at last safe for you to hear it all.
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: Great concept of a couple sharing their story through a joint journal but the ending was too abrupt and the sexual intimacy non-existent.
The Set Up: Captain Harry Thompson is attracted to one of his lieutenants, Garnet Littleton, but his honor and fear of discovery keeps him away. But when typhus, rioting convict prisoners and shipwreck strike the men Harry and Garnet see in each other a source of strength and love.
Why I Read this Book: I’ve enjoyed books by this author before and was excited to read the new one about sailors in Her Majesty’s Royal Navy.
What I Liked: I was immediately captivated by the storytelling here. Harry starts a journal chronicling how he and Garnet became a couple and then Garnet finds the journal and adds his viewpoint. The two men share gentle quips in the journal as well as telling their history. This unique storytelling captured my attention and kept it the entire novella. The plot of this novella isn’t easy with sickness, riots, bloodshed and near death often but it read quickly because of all this happening.
What I Also Liked: Since the shipwreck is in the book’s synopsis, I’m not spoiling anything by saying I loved this part of the novella. This allows Harry to be away from prying eyes and love Garnet as he’s long desired. Garnet and Harry both see this time a bit differently so this is where the unique joint journal really showcases its stellar storytelling. I loved how both men share their fears about this time but also their joy and love of becoming a couple.
What I Didn’t Like: I wanted to love this novella but ended up thinking, what-the-what?! The ending was rushed and I actually thought my e-book may be missing some pages. The novella paces so well until the final ten pages and then to have the resolution it did was maddening as it rushed the commitment of the relationship and the men’s lives.
I also have to mention that this is the most PG MM romance I’ve ever read. I read romance for the emotional and sexual intimacy and when one is missing, as is the sex here, I’m always a bit disappointed no matter how good the rest of the book is. I understand Harry’s reluctance at novella’s beginning and middle but their island exile would have been the ideal location for this intimacy.
IMO: Loved the concept of this novella, which worked well, but the abrupt ending and lack of sexual intimacy ruined it for me.