Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

The Lawrence Browne Affair

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Lawrence Browne Affair (2017) Cat Sebastian

Set in Cornwall, England in 1816

Lawrence Browne, the Earl of Radnor is mad. He’s driven away most of his staff, and the local vicar is worried about his stability.

“Five servants quit,” Halliday said, tapping Lawrence’s desk in emphasis. Dust puffed up in tiny clouds around the vicar’s fingertips. “Five. And you were woefully understaffed even before then.”

Five fewer servants? So that was why the house had been so pleasantly quiet, why his work had been so blissfully undisturbed.

Georgie Turner is a confidence man, and has gotten himself into trouble, and so flees to the country on a job from his brother–looking into whether the mad earl really is mad.

Georgie had no illusions about evading Mattie Brewster’s men for long. Georgie was a traitor, an informer, and the Brewster gang would make an example of him. And rightly so.

That isn’t to say that Lawrence doesn’t have issues.

Lawrence had learned years ago that when he felt the creeping unease that signaled what he had come to think of as an attack of madness, he could sometimes set his mind to rights by exhausting himself.

It’s actually rather interesting, seeing how mental disorders were viewed–and how thin the line was between madness and being different. (Both could get you locked up.) I suppose that adding homosexuality–which was viewed as criminal and aberrant–would only have made it easier for someone neuro-atypical to see themselves as mad or going mad. I note it because this isn’t the first historical romance where one of the characters sees his homosexuality as a sign of his instability.

Sodomites had been a favorite subject of his father’s rage-fueled tirades, in which he lumped it in with other crimes against nature, such as Catholicism and being French.

I liked both Georgie and Lawrence right from the start, although as a confidence man, Georgie had the people skills that made him easier to like from the get-go.

On a hunch, he cut the onion into several oddly sized chunks. Before its pungent aroma had even reached his nostrils she was by his side.

“No, no. What are you about? Chop the onion fine, like this.” She took the knife from his hand and held up a paper thin slice of onion for his edification.

That bit where he ingratiates himself to the cook amused me to no end.

I also quite liked Simon, Lawrence’s son. Both how Lawrence ended up with a son as well as Georgie’s reaction to Simon (as well as Lawrence’s lack of a relationship with him).

Simon regarded him, his nose red with cold. “Uncle Kemble says Lord Radnor isn’t my real father anyway. So it’s only natural that he can’t be bothered.”

“Uncle Kemble can sod right off, then,” Georgie said promptly, before recalling that this language was not suitable for an eight-year-old’s ears. “Damn!” No, that was no improvement. Simon’s eyes were wide. “I’m sorry. But your uncle is a thoroughgoing bastard if he says that sort of thing to you.”

I think one of the things I am liking so much about the MM historicals I’ve been reading is that the illegality of the relationships give them an extremely different take on historical romances–two people that don’t necessarily trust each other can have a relationship and eventually develop that trust, because the very nature of their love could get them both killed or jailed.

As with the other MM romances, there is a lot of boinking, but I still quite enjoyed how the two men worked things out–and worked out things with Simon.

Publisher: Avon Impulse
Rating: 8/10


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