This is a smorgasbord of master and servant erotica, some of it a little bland but some of it quite delectable. Dates aren’t mentioned in all of them, but they all feel rather turn of the century or very early 20th century in detail.
Author: Various Authors – edited by Rob Rosen
Publisher: Cleis Press
Cover Artist: Scott Idleman/Blink
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Downton Abbey meets Upstairs, Downstairs… with enough sex to make the town vicar blush
English country houses, mystery and intrigue, sex and money—all go hand in hand in Men of the Manor, a collection of dizzyingly sexy encounters featuring randy aristocrats, eager stable boys and devoted footmen.
Does the aristocrat drop his grand manners when his manservant helps him undress? What happens behind the gilded door to a decadent party full of squiffy men on the make? And do the upstairs and downstairs chaps exchange more than pleasantries when the lamps are dimmed, the candles snuffed out and the ladies retire for the evening?
Felice Picano’s grateful houseboy writes a thank-you note to his patron, which reads like a Victorian Kinsey Report in “Folly’s Ditch.” Landon Dixon’s salacious tale of blackmail and “passing the queer” leads to mutual satisfaction in “Chauffeur’s Hole.” The new driver and an underbutler stick it up their boss’s jumper in Logan Zachary’s “Front Door, Back Door.” Rob Rosen has gathered a daring and steamy gallery of wealthy aristocrats and strappingly handsome staff for your reading pleasure.
I did a mini review for each story, here we go:
The Maze by Dale Chase
Preston and his “sex grotto”. I could just leave things right there but I won’t torture you in such a way. 😉 I’ve always enjoyed the blunt and graphic nature of Chase’s writing and that’s true here. Instead of her typical Western setting I’ve previously read, we’ve got a right proper gent discovering something about himself. Or rather, realizing it is long past time to enjoy himself in every way, something that everyone deserves. He struggles with it, unsurprisingly. Of course, that doesn’t last long, for this is erotica, after all.
~ * ~
Finnias Laredo by Alex Stitt
The gentleman whose name is in the title works for young master Fletcher, aka Toby, a recent college grad. About a year of time passes as this story progresses, creating a dreamlike quality to it. The fuzzy transitions and restrained dialogue reveal so much. These two young men know and truly appreciate each other. It’s beautiful, as is this author’s writing.
~ * ~
Finsloe by Xavier Axelson
This is fantasy erotica dropped right into Downton Abbey. Not fantasy as in some other world with swords and cloaks, but fantasy in that virgin sex is pain-free. Just saying. Anyway, it’s a sweet story otherwise, a rekindling of passion two years after Bryden left and Finsloe stayed and Bryden returns to the manor. The spark came roaring back to life in hopes of a future.
~ * ~
Booting by Salome Wilde
While still on page one, I already liked Davie, the narrator of our tale. Though, I will tell you, even his name has been changed to protect the not so innocent, reader and writer alike. 😉
The cheeky, knowing tone of this is such fun. I was smirking, I tell you, smirking. Of course, with any good cheek, you’ve got intelligence: <i>Everything is given away if you’re observant enough, and I saw all.</i> This was well written and the pace matched Davie’s voice. Oh, and deliciously hot!
~ * ~
Seducing the Footman by Brent Archer
This is how you do a hot little literary number: a relaxed beginning and believable characters that garner nearly immediate connection with me. It’s always fun when the tables are turned. 😉 I will say this did wander into the typical, and points off for calling a character a virgin, who has licked and fucked, simply because he’d never been penetrated. I know, I know this is erotica, but still. Otherwise, this is a good, hot and fun, with a small twist.
~ * ~
Folly’s Ditch by Felice Picano
Tip for you readers: when you’re reading MacIlhenny’s dialogue, do so with as thick an Irish brogue you can muster. Theater = Te-atter. See? As soon as I read that, it clicked for me. The sense of a physical place and purpose felt muddied to me, pretty unclear. On the flip side, the chippy choppy nature of the prose added to the fun, and the clever phrases and a high level of colloquialisms gave everything a lively tone. It’s still rather messy until the end, but then takes a nice turn to bring things up.
~ * ~
Manor Games by Michael Roberts
The tone of this story is wonderfully humorous. Master Jeremy and his servant are 23 and 25, respectively, and in a bit of a financial pickle. Well, Jeremy is. Said servant is our narrator, showing off his flippant, direct, confident and smart self. This is so well written and I would definitely read more by this author. Seriously. Hilarious. My favorite in the whole bunch. I need to see what else he has published.
~ * ~
Brass Rags by J.L. Merrow
Lord Algernon Huffingham –a great name, one among many in this bitty treat. There’s also humor, sort of a hallmark of Merrow’s stories. Also, please take notice of the blinking “KINK – SOLD HERE” sign above the door. Thank you and goodnight.
Yep, that’s all you get… it’s all you need. 😉
~ * ~
Mutable Memories by Michael Bracken
This is raunchy and irreverent and I love it. Young men all around, behaving like the free sexual beings they’re fortunate enough to be able to express themselves as, thanks to the lives they lead. This is rife with straight-faced tongue-in-cheek humor. This definitely qualifies as more Downton Abbey erotica for your dining pleasure. Enjoy it. I know I did. This is another author of which I want to read more of his work. And the title, yeah, it fits. Nicely plotted short story.
~ * ~
Front Door, Back Door by Logan Zachary
An ok entrant in this collection. It feels like the author was trying too hard to include what they perceived to be necessary details for a story set in this time and place. I like the characters, their personalities all unique and clearly drawn amongst each other. Unfortunately, terms like “sap” for pre-cum and sperm, and “sex” for cock, took it from decent erotica to nose-wrinkling “no, I don’t think so”. In other words, sap is not lube. Also, there really isn’t an ending, it just stops. Puzzling. A short story doesn’t have to exist without any one of the necessary ingredients that make up a good story.
~ * ~
Chauffeur’s Hole by Landon Dixon
This is certainly erotica, but not hot, and is a cliché when it comes to the story. Granted, most of these are, but if you take the plunge and make it your own, the story becomes an example of why the great cliché exists, not that it is one. Also, I recommend not using “bloated” to describe something meant to cause arousal in readers. Additionally, ixnay on splashing sizzling sperm into someone’s bowels. Just no. I think there’s something here but it was difficult to find amidst those many no-no’s.
~ * ~
Master Jeffy Learns a Lesson by Sasha Payne
This was difficult to follow, too many characters involved in scenes that felt unrelated. It’s a shame because the writing is fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously, flitting along with clever dialogue. Without some discernible story, the erotica lost its potency. This was a longer story desperately struggling to make itself known. I would love to see what the author would do to this story in giving it more breathing room in character and plot.
~ * ~
Bohemian Rhapsody by Rob Rosen
This is a clever little number played twixt James the butler and George the painter, with the master of the manor playing a supporting role. A steamy spot of cream-filled tea for your sipping pleasure. It made me smile and chuckle out loud a couple of times, and I found myself pulling for these two and a fun, enjoyable and fruitful future.
If you’re into the numbers, the overall average rating is about 3.5 stars.
If you’re into the experience, this was a mixed back with a few gems and some unfortunate misses.
I discovered a couple of new authors for me of which I hope to find and read more, which is always a good thing. 🙂
I would like to thank the publisher 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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