AUTHORS: Charlie Cochrane, Erastes, Chris Smith, Jordan Taylor
PUBLISHER: Noble Romance
LENGTH: Anthology (roughly 82k)
GENRE: Historical gay romance
A collection of four historical novellas, each about a gay romance in an era on the cusp of change…
NOTE: In the matter of full disclosure, I was offered a copy of this book for the purpose of a review.
The common thread binding together the stories in this anthology is an intriguing one. All are written in a time and place that is about to undergo some monumental change, hence the appropriate title. It gives the authors a lot of leeway to be creative, though ultimately, some are more successful than others.
The anthology starts out with “Tributary” by Erastes (who also selected the stories for inclusion), the story of Englishman Guy Mason and his retreat to a reclusive hotel in the mountains of
Following that is “The White Empire” by Chris Smith. Missionary Edgar Vaughan escapes his life to travel to 1838
Coming after this is Charlie Cochrane’s “Sand.” Writer Charles Cusiter has been tasked by his benefactress to get her son out of
Rounding out the anthology, and straying from the British heroes, is “The Ninth Language” by Jordan Taylor. Set in
Does this mean I wouldn’t recommend this anthology? Absolutely not. It’s consistently well-written, and there’s more than a measure of base entertainment to be taken from each. I also think that readers who are devoted to this particular genre will be more satisfied with it than I was. The greatest strength of the collection is the loving detail that is bestowed upon the settings. Historical lovers are likely to fall in love with the authors’ attention to detail, where that is not the first – nor really the second – aspect I look at. I tend to view settings in historicals as vehicles to allow the characters to flourish and shine, while it often feels in this, it’s the other way around. For the stories I didn’t fall in love with, it was usually because of a character. And just because I didn’t connect with a story, doesn’t mean other readers won’t.
8/10 – Mostly clean, heavily detailed, the first two stories were much easier for me to read than the latter two
7/10 – Not the strong point of any of the stories
8/10 – Even when I might not like the characters, most of them are well-rounded and written
7/10 – On a purely engaging level, the second story surpassed the other three by a large margin
9/10 – Considering the genre and authors involved, it’s unsurprising that the eras and places were so richly developed