Erryn reviews ‘To Hold a Hidden Pearl (Rossingley Book 1)’ by Fearne Hill. The ebook was published May 24, 2021 and is 299pages. The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Richard Stranks, released on May 24, 2022, and is 8 hrs and 23 mins long. A copy was provided for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I was ready to try a new author and narrator.
Dr. Jay Sorrentino is getting married in 10 days’ time to the girl of his dreams, so what the hell is he doing in a gay London club with a stupidly handsome stranger? As if calling off the wedding and alienating his friends and family isn’t enough, Jay also has to contend with starting a new job at a new hospital. So the last thing he needs is for the bloke from the club to be his prickly supervisor.
Dr. Lucien Avery is a difficult colleague. He’s also the unexpected and reluctant heir to the vast Rossingley estate. Reclusive and miserable, he hates most of his colleagues, people who eat packed lunches, and supervising junior doctors. That is, until the delectable Dr. Sorrentino turns up on his doorstep.
A light-hearted M/M contemporary romance, Rossingley takes place in Southern England and is centered around a fictional country house and estate by the same name. The first in the series, it can be enjoyed as a stand-alone.
I’d never heard of Fearne Hill, but I was happy to snap up the first audiobook by this author. I will take issue with the ‘light-hearted’ label – I needed tissues. But I loved it. A little tear now and then is a good thing, as far as I’m concerned.
I’ll start with Lucien. I felt great empathy for him. Oh, he’s a jerk at work – but he’s also faced great personal tragedy that’s left him overwhelmed and feeling not up to the task of running his family’s estate. He was the spare – this wasn’t supposed to be his burden to bear. On top of that, he’s gay – which doesn’t do well to continue the lineage – of which he is the seventeenth. He also has a secret fetish that he keeps hidden from the world. Hence the pearls.
I also loved Jay. The bloke’s about to get married but is also realizing he might not be as straight as he’s always believed. Before tying himself to a woman he adores and a lacklustre sex life, he heads to a gay club in London. The results are… interesting. In the end, he realizes he can’t go through with the wedding. He breaks his fiancée’s heart, and creates a huge mess to disentangle, but he’s free.
Until he comes face-to-face with the guy from the bar.
Underpinning the relationship is the goings-on in a hospital. Through Lucien we meet many different patients and even now I’m tearing up. Those stories were heart-wrenching – and a reflection of real life. Still – tremendously impactful.
I loved Jay and Lucien together – they just fit. And yes, that makes life complicated for both – but it also brings happiness neither anticipated. And I loved the epilogue.
This is just the first in the series and I can’t wait for the next book. Finally, Richard Stranks is a new narrator to me and I have to say he did a great job. Won’t hesitate to pick him up again.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Fearne Hill resides deep in the British countryside, in the county of Dorset, surrounded by animals. She likes it that way.
Her popular Rossingley series was nominated in nine separate categories of the 2021 Goodreads M/M Romance awards and received an Honourable Mention in the 2021 Rainbow Awards.