November - Historical romance
Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk, part of the Whyborne & Griffin seriesRating: 5 stars
I used to read only historical romances and was a hardcore Mary Balogh fan, transferring her older books to my Kindle as they were released in the newer format. But gradually as all the books became clones of each other and the characters and plots became nearly indistinguishable in my mind, I moved to contemporary, then Western romances and beyond.
Since I started reading gay romance, I've pretty much stayed with contemporary settings although I've been intrigued with Jordan Hawk's Whyborne & Griffin series from the first book appeared last year. I didn't read Widdershins until this challenge, however.
Hawk's self-published book doesn't disappoint. For those looking for an occult historical gay mystery--or any gay romance actually--Widdershins is a delight.
In this installment of their partnership, introverted scholar and dead languages translator Percival "Ival" Whyborne and former Pinkerton detective Griffin Flahery join forces to investigate a group of men raising the dead using an incantation found on an Egyptian scroll. While the main plot revolves around these troubling acts, the real story rests on how two totally diverse men not only develop a friendship but also a love affair.
Therein lies Hawk's mastery. She makes this odd duo understandable and believable. Ival needs Griffin as much as the detective needs the scholar. In an era when their liaison was considered a crime, their discretely told tale becomes an even deeper love story than those of Regency misses who flirted at balls and were at the mercy of their families' matrimonial wishes.
Yet because of the occult twist to the case, I'd recommend Widdershins to readers of Meljean Brooks rather than Balogh even though the steampunk trappings of a Brooks story aren't involved.
For atmosphere and the building of a wonderfully fusty library and museum, Widdershins is at the top of the heap. Add in the sparks between Ival and Griffin, and it's a delightful read for anyone looking for something unique in historical romance.