A wonderfully entertaining, old-school amateur-spy mystery and a delicious opposites-attract romance in one.
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
Lie back and think of England…
England, 1904. Two years ago, Captain Archie Curtis lost his friends, fingers, and future to a terrible military accident. Alone, purposeless and angry, Curtis is determined to discover if he and his comrades were the victims of fate, or of sabotage.
Curtis’s search takes him to an isolated, ultra-modern country house, where he meets and instantly clashes with fellow guest Daniel da Silva. Effete, decadent, foreign, and all-too-obviously queer, the sophisticated poet is everything the straightforward British officer fears and distrusts.
As events unfold, Curtis realizes that Daniel has his own secret intentions. And there’s something else they share—a mounting sexual tension that leaves Curtis reeling.
As the house party’s elegant facade cracks to reveal treachery, blackmail and murder, Curtis finds himself needing clever, dark-eyed Daniel as he has never needed a man before…
This novel is set in the so-called Golden Era, in early 20th century England where being considered a civilized human being demanded being white, male, straight, Christian, and upper-class British—in short, a Gentleman. In those prejudice-riddled times, anti-Semitism was as commonplace as contempt for queer people and distrust against anyone non-white and/or non-British. Literary works of the time often recruit their villains out of these groups.
In “Think Of England”, one of the main characters is the very picture of a Gentleman—well-born former Army Captain Archibald Curtis, straightforward and valiant, if a bit plain. The other, though, appears to be Curtis’s very antithesis: poet Daniel Da Silva, of Portuguese descent, limp-wristed, flamboyantly-dressing, Jewish, and obviously not straight. When extraordinary circumstances force the unlikely allies together, things start to happen very fast—around them and between them.
Same as with this author’s Magpie Lord series, “Think of England” is written in a slightly ironic tone that keeps the story from turning too dark despite bloodshed and violence. The narrative voice manages to lend the story depth and quality without taking itself too seriously, which, in my opinion, is a rare gift.
Actually, pretty much everything about this book was a sheer delight to read. First, there was the setting, an isolated mansion fitted with by the standards of the time ultramodern features like electricity and telephone, but also with secret passages, booby-trapped doors, forbidden rooms and a medieval tower as a folly. Oh, and not to forget the limestone caves. Secondly, the cast, the hosting Armstrong family and a veritable motley crew of guests none of which, to Curtis’s not inconsiderable surprise, is what she or he appears to be in the beginning. Least so Daniel Da Silva. Right from the start, Da Silva unsettles Curtis, and over the course of their getting to know each other brings Curtis to a point where he questions everything he perceived about himself.
Da Silva’s quick spirit and dry wit versus Curtis’s charming bluntness and honesty make for witty banter and rich dialogue, their clashing personalities yet irresistible mutual attraction for sizzling erotic tension. Add to that a fast-paced, action-filled plot full of imaginative twists and quirky ideas and a smoothly flowing narrative and you have a fully satisfying, funny and entertaining reading experience.
I would like to thank Samhain Publishing for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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