tasting ‘helpless’ – day notevencloseto6

The Blurb:

In London during the gross indecency trial of Oscar Wilde, Douglas Shrove finds himself still haunted by memories of his dead lover while skirting violence, blackmail and the affections of two men. 

There are two who seek you out.

That is what the gypsy told Douglas Shrove a few months after the death of his lover. And the gypsy was right. Two men were vying for his affections.

Mark Goldcrest: an aristocrat like himself; a golden Adonis, cool and discreet.

Warren Scott: a shabbily-dressed denizen of a Bohemian world that Douglas can’t begin to understand.

One is what he seems, and one is not, and one is dangerous.

But which is which? Both men are attractive and attracted to him…but only one has a dangerous secret.

One is what he seems, and one is not, and one is dangerous.

One of Douglas Shrove’s admirers could be his salvation—if the other doesn’t destroy him first.

Why I bought it: I won this during the M/M Romance goodreads group’s anniversary celebrations.

Dislike/like (ending on a high note):

Dislike~ Most of my mates know how I feel about historical fiction.  My rabid avoidance comes from a deep, abiding hatred for authors who don’t thoroughly research the period in which they are setting the story.  One of the perils of my working in the history field unfortunately.  I therefore can’t help but begin reading an historical romance expecting the worst… (cont. below) 

Like~ However, and I know this may come across as patronising, I was pleasantly surprised by Helpless.  The author did an excellent job at portraying the time period, complete with the historical and social context of Oscar Wilde’s trial.  This added a depth and richness to the story which made it more than just a chicks-with-dicks version of a regency romance.  It made it a convincing and at times heartbreaking look at what life was like for so-called deviants.  

Dislike~ More of a warning~ Douglas, the main character, drove me batshit.  He seemed so insipid in parts I kept expecting him to have an attack of the vapours and take to bed.  Yet, as the plot progresses and Douglas’ character develops, I realised the author had emphasised this to show his increasing independence, his growth from being ‘helpless’.  Clever, yes?

Like~ As I sit here typing this, I have come to the conclusion that what I liked the most about this were the contrasts in it.  Things were not always what they seemed and, while some characters and situations may be a little trope-y, the twists the author has managed to work into the plot and subplots as well as the historical context give it a freshness which makes for a very good read.

So, what I think: If you are interested in an m/m historical romance with a strong dash of crime/thriller, I would recommend Helpless to you.  I enjoyed it very much.


‘Tasting’ is my version of a mini-review where I talk a (very) little about what I liked and disliked about a book as well as who I think the story will appeal to. Oh, and I’ve added a bit about why I picked up the book in the first place – sometimes this can be interesting to know.

About Kris

Reads, rants, randoms & R+s. You've been warned. BTW, don't follow me if you're a GLBTQQphobic wanker. It won't end well. For you.
This entry was posted in historical, m j pearson, m/m, m/m romance challenge 2010, romance, tasting. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to tasting ‘helpless’ – day notevencloseto6

  1. Chris says:

    So, the sort of historicals that I like (historical fluff, history lite) probably drive you batshit?

  2. Chris says:

    And thus the MJ Pearson books I have in my TBR are probably going to send me into history overload…

  3. Kris says:

    LOL. I've not read any of her others, but based on this one I'd say not. She actually has a very light touch at creating setting. There's no info dump and no dense description. It was very good.

  4. Chris says:

    Whew! I love the over-the-top codpiece ripper covers.

  5. Kris says:

    Yeah, the covers for her other historicals are certainly that. LOL.

  6. KB/KT Grant says:

    This looks like the same artwork that did Black Wade. Hmmm Wade… pirate buttsecks.. drool.

    Speakin of buttsecks, how was it here?

  7. Kris says:

    KBC: You think so?? I reckon it's quite different in style. There is something old school historical romance cover about it.

    Pretty much all of the sex scenes were fade to black. That was fine with me because it suited the whole feel of the story.

  8. Tam says:

    History lite, yeah, that's my thing.

    So who was the bad guy? Obviously the rich aristocrat because we all know they are bad to the bone under those fine clothes and poncy manners and the poor hardworking guy is the good one. Right? Am I right? Did I just save myself some money? 😛

  9. Kris says:

    Hmpf. I don't do spoilers.

    Bad Tam. BAD!

  10. Jenre says:

    Ah, yet another book I've had on my TBR pile for far too long.

    *shakes fist at pile, before lapsing into feelings of reading inadequacy*

    Great review though. I can read both sorts of historicals from those heavily researched to 'wallpaper'histories. The only times I find myself turned off is when the author throws in all the tiny useless information they've researched that has nothing to do with the plot or characters. I just get bored then.

  11. Kris says:

    Jen: You won't have to worry about anything irrelevant in this one. All things are tied to the story.

    I thought you were trying to decrease your TBR pile this year??

  12. Tracy says:

    Historical m/m is not my thing for some reason. I was talking to Zoe about it when we did our blogger get together – when you were here, and I think we figured out why I'm not as attracted to it. I think (we think) it's because of the historical times it always feels like a HFN rather than a HEA and I love my HEA's. Yes, the books are good and written well, mostly, (I haven't read this one) but the uncertainty of the whole relationship in historical times, I think, is a huge turn off for me.

    Wow – more than you wanted to know! lol

    Good tasting though. 🙂

  13. Well, I am seriously in love with the cover illustration (Yes. I am one of THOSE people.) and you review just cinched it for me.

    I gotta have it. Thanks!

  14. Amara says:

    I like the “tasting” review deal. Cool. May check out the book too.

    And, I like the blog look you have going on. Gotta say thou, I'm redesigning mine… using the same stinkin' template! Now I look like I'm all copying you. Sheesh.

    BTW… how'd you get that extra single sidebar container at the bottom, can't for the life of me get mine to do it! It's driving me crazy!

  15. Kris says:

    Tracy: “… but the uncertainty of the whole relationship in historical times, I think, is a huge turn off for me.”

    I totally understand where you are coming from. Although I am happy with my HFNs, the chicks-with-dicks or regency lite approach to these types of m/m stories is unrealistic to me precisely because the historical context makes them so unlikely.

    Miranda: You're such a cover slut. 😛

    Amara: Ta binks for the comment re: my tastings. 🙂

    The layout was actually one of the ones in blogger. Have you updated to the new blogger design? There are quite a few new layouts in there.

  16. Amara says:

    Yep, sure did, same one even but on one of my different blogs. It insists on robbing me of that last container, which in turn gives me fits. What it doesn't seem to understand is… I WILL win. I will just have to play rough with it, it is begging after all

  17. I'm totally ok with that, Kris. *GRIN*

  18. Kris says:

    Amara: I'm sure that there is a word for peeps who have bondage fetishes about electronic devices. Let me just consult with the oracle… the Urban Dictionary. 😛

    Miranda: LOL. The problem is that if we wouldn't be able to come up with the numbers to even attempt an intervention. 😉

  19. orannia says:

    I wants to read this! I love the thought of a character growing from being 'helpless' 🙂

  20. Kris says:

    Orannia: I liked that about it too. Let me know what you think if you do read it.

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