Thirteen years ago, Evelyn Winthrop ran away to sea. Now that his hated patriarch is dead, the ancestral home he returns to is more shadowed than what he left behind. Ungrateful relations and old friends alike tie a knot of scandal and depravity only a sailor could hope to unravel. And all the while, the siren song of the sea calls him to return at the first opportunity.
Neither anticipated forming more tender attachments.
To Evelyn, his unexpectedly handsome agent is the only thing anchoring him to shore. He sees a captains soul within Morgan, and his heart is caught upon the hook of commandif only Morgan would return his affections.
To Morgan, his new employers charms threaten to tear down the thorns that have grown around his heartthorns he cultivated to restrain his unnatural instincts.
When the estate and all who live there are threatened by a maelstrom of bitter secrets and sinister plots, it is down to Morgan to take command, down to Evelyn to hold fast, and down to them both to navigate their own treacherous sea.
A Queer Romance by Sebastian Nothwell. Set in 1890s Cumberland, England (modern-day Cumbria).
This book provides examples of:
- Blackmail: Bound to come up in a story about two men in a romantic relationship in Victorian England.
- Blackmail Backfire: Basil tries to blackmail Evelyn and Morgan, so Evelyn locks him in a wardrobe.
- Calling the Old Man Out
- Confirmed Bachelor: Morgan, Evelyn, and Ashmore.
- Duel to the Death
- Earn Your Happy Ending
- Fancy Dinner: Two, if you count the mock one Morgan puts on to prepare Evelyn for the real deal.
- Faux Affably Evil: Ashmore can be very charming when he wants to be.
- Formal Full Array of Cutlery: Morgan has to teach Evelyn how to use one of these.
- The Gay '90s: In every sense of the phrase.
- Grand Romantic Gesture: Evelyn offers to give Morgan the Winthrop estate hothouse. When Morgan points out the property is entailed, and therefore cannot be given to anybody apart from Evelyn's natural heirs, Evelyn offers to rent it to him... at the rate of a penny per century.
- Happily Ever After: A prerequisite of the genre, which is fulfilled. Eventually.
- Jerkass Has a Point:
- Literary Allusion Title: The title is a line taken from the song Sailor by IAMX.
- Love at First Sight: Both leads experience this, though only Evelyn goes for it. Morgan, meanwhile, does his best to pretend it's not happening.
- Married to the Job: Morgan.
- Mysterious Past: Morgan.
- Queer Romance: Or "same-sex romance," as the author sometimes puts it.
- Shout-Out: An abbreviated list of real-world titles appearing in this book follows...
- British Ferns and Their Allies is borrowed from the Winthrop library again and again by Morgan, presumably to fuel his pteridomania.
- Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman is one of two books Evelyn keeps in his sea-chest, the other being Moby-Dick.
- Manners and Tone of Good Society, or, Solecisms to be Avoided by A Member of the Aristocracy is used by Morgan to teach Evelyn to be a proper baronet. This marks the second time Sebastian Nothwell has named-dropped this book in his novels.
- Moby-Dick by Herman Melville is Evelyn's favorite book, and inspired him to become a whaler in the first place.
- Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana Jr. also contributed to Evelyn's desire to run away to sea... particularly the scene with the lash.
- Sleeping with the Boss: Part of Morgan's reluctance to act on his feelings for Evelyn are because Evelyn is a baronet and Morgan is his estate agent.
- Ten Paces and Turn
- Victorian London: Or rather, Victorian Cumberland (modern-day Cumbria).
- Workaholic: Morgan.