Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Review - Lieutenant Samuel Blackwood (deceased)

Hi, all. Here's a little book I reviewed for Uniquely Pleasurable recently, and since it's a romance, I thought I'd post the review here too. You can find more reviews of GLBT books and movies at the site, and some free fiction to read on my site. There are more reviews there too.

Title: Lieutenant Samuel Blackwood (deceased)
Author: Emma Collingwood
Illustrator: Amandine de Villeneuve
Genre: M/M, historical

Price: USD$9.90

Summary: Daniel Leigh doesn’t believe in ghosts or curses until he volunteers to serve as first lieutenant on the HMS privet. Once there, he discovers ghosts and curses are the least of his worries. He hadn’t imagined falling in love. Now he has to break a curse and banish a ghost without losing the man of his dreams to them.

My review: I’ve never read a penny dreadful or a Georgian ghost story, and probably would have found the language of this book too affected if it weren’t for Temeraire, His Majesty’s Dragon. Having the introduction to a more archaic and proper form of the English language, I wasn’t quite as put off as I might have been. Read this book in the spirit it was written, and you will see beneath unfamiliar formality of the language to the tale of a sweet, generous man who only wants what’s right.

Daniel sets out from the beginning to solve a mystery and put things right without any idea that he would have such personal stakes in the outcome. No unsuspecting hero here, he is a little bit surprised by love. It’s hard to review this book without giving away the entire thing, which leads me to my biggest complaint; it’s too short. There are a number of themes touched on that could have been explored so much more. I guess it’s the nature of the genre, though, and fitting, as this book was not conceived as a novel, but as exactly what it is; a short story based on those old penny dreadfuls, and, I understand, the first in a series. This book is definitely short and sweet and I liked it enough to wish there was more to it. I felt I barely got to know these men before it was all over.

There is merit in that brevity, though. It took less than an hour to read and left me pleasantly sated. It’s a pretty little book that I’ll pick up again because there’s something to be said for having that hard copy in your hand. In this case, especially, as the paper version allows time to really appreciate the drawings. Amandine de Villeneuve has done a perfect job marrying the style of the illustrations to the spirit of the prose. It’s a great story and nice collection of drawings. (Even if it is too short)

My Recommendation: For an hour of your time, this is a pleasant experience both visually and in terms of a satisfying read; a great change from the usual, and I’ll be looking forward to more.