Erryn reviews The Shooting Season by Isobel Starling (Published by Decent Fellows Press, November 22, 2019, 175 pages). The audiobook was narrated by Gary Furlong. The book was released on December 10, 2019 and is 2hrs and 54mins. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I have enjoyed this author before and wanted to try another historical.
A brand new historical M/M novella from award-winning author Isobel Starling.
Monday 20th December 1897.
Mr. Benedict Hannan, the owner of Hannan’s Auction House in Fitzrovia, receives a letter inviting him to attend the sale of a private collection of Fine Art and antiquities belonging to the Late Lord Percival Ardmillan. Ardmillan is known to Benedict, or rather his son Euan is, and so, Benedict hurriedly travels to the West Highlands to fulfill his dream of owning a particular item from the Lord’s collection—something that he has coveted for thirty years.
In Scotland, Benedict meets the collectors who were invited to bid in the auction. He discovers that the auction of the private collection is not as straightforward as he had imagined.
Forced to come to terms with his past and present desires, Benedict finds himself in the thrall of a mysterious traveler and in turn, gets more than he bargained for this Christmas!
Read Dana’s review of the book here.
I used to read m/f historical romances and the ones I enjoyed the most were the ones where the heroes and heroines faced real risk. Interracial romances were amongst my favorites because the stakes were often high. In gay historical romances, the stakes are as high as they can get. Imprisonment, banishment, and even death were considered acceptable punishment for men caught in the act with other men. In this story, Oscar Wilde is never far from mind.
All that being said, there are risks exhibited by the men in this story. The main protagonist, Benedict Hannan, has the most to lose and the most to gain. He’s been summoned to Scotland mere days before Christmas to an estate auction. There he meets a man who, in their formative university days, had been his lover. Benedict has spent the past thirty years suppressing his unnatural urges and in less than a day, Euan Ardmillan has him reconsidering everything in his life. Realizing how lonely he truly is. Seeing that temptations of the flesh are as powerful now as they’ve always been. Euan has been busy the past thirty years – some parts have been happy, some not so much. Now he needs Benedict’s help to recapture some of his youth. His virility.
There is also another man Benedict meets on his journey. A man who also makes Benedict question everything.
I really enjoyed this book. Benedict was a man who generated my sympathies, to be sure. Living repressed for nearly thirty years has been difficult, to say the least. To watch him interacting with other men on the base level of sexual contact was interesting. I wanted more. This book left me wanting more. It does end with ‘to be continued’ and I, for one, will be eagerly awaiting the next story, curious as to where this mystery is going to lead me next.
Gary Furlong narrates all of Ms. Starling’s books and it’s a match made in audio heaven. His performances are always spot on and his talent knows no bounds. This was another great listen and, as I’ve said, I can’t wait for more.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Inspiration strikes at the strangest of times.
Born in Germany to British/Irish parents, I spent most of my childhood traveling. When I eventually found roots I went to art school and had a twenty-year professional career making art in Dublin, Ireland. I relocated to the UK in 2010 and, faced with the dreaded artist’s creative block, I started to write and found I loved it more than making art. I now live in York, North Yorkshire.