I was disappointed in this book and frankly, couldn't finish it.
The book opens with Christopher riding in a phaeton in a blinding rainstorm. The American Heritage Dictionary defines a phaeton as: A light, four-wheeled open carriage, usually drawn by a pair of horses.
This carriage does not have an enclosed compartment, which we are led to believe Christopher was riding in. He'd have been soaked to the skin and then some, as a phaeton is a sporty-type vehicle. Knowing this jolted me from the very beginning. In the story, it was also drawn by four horses, when it was actually drawn by two.
The disclaimer at the very beginning indicated the author had created an "alternate universe." I was pleased that it would include the banishment of laws against homosexuality. Because of that, I was encouraged to read on. The other part of the "alternate universe" disclaimer that I didn't enjoy, was the fact that an illegitimate son can come in and lay claim to what has been bequeathed to the deceased rightful heir, but in the disclaimer, we are asked to suspend our imaginations, so I did and that was fine.
These disclaimers are often added after the editing process, when the release date looms and no time exists to correct the obvious errors. I am not saying that is what happened here, by any means, but it seems plausible to me. There are enough historical illusions to make me believe it was intended to be a true historical, but certain facts are skewed for the purpose of the story, outside of the two indicated above.
My question is, why set the story in a time when phaetons were what they were? Why call it a phaeton? If you are creating an alternate universe, make it up, call it by another name or use a real carriage that fits the one you have in mind.
Don't make the story time specific. For the purpose of an alternate universe, if it is created on purpose, there no reason to set a story in 1792 and then create an entirely new history.In my mind, that is calling it an historical and dressing up the characters to look the part. In this story, the language doesn't give the feel of authenticity, the fact that the men fall in love immediately upon seeing each other is off-putting, and the rush, rush feel of the first half, made me turn off my reader and call it quits. I couldn't finish the book.
I love historicals, m/m particularly, but I like them well-researched and to have a ring of believability to them, and this didn't.
I truly hate giving bad reviews, and if a reader doesn't care about historical authenticity, this is a well written book. I'm admittedly picky and the alternate universe designation, save for the abolishment of laws against homosexuality laws, which shouldn't exist in any time period, shouldn't be applied to something that in every other way is considered an historical.