Author: Lee Rowan
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Rating: 4.50 of 5 Stars
Sequel to Winds of Change/Eye of the Storm
Royal Navy Series: Book Three
The Royal Navy meets the Stately English Manor Murder Mystery, and if it were only a matter of Colonel Mustard in the library, things would be so much easier.
After an ambush by the French while on a routine surveillance mission, Will Marshall and David Archer are advised to retreat to the English countryside to avoid Bonaparte’s animosity for a time. Upon their arrival, they discover that David’s eldest brother has died after a mysterious accident and this puts his other, very unsuitable brother in line for the title. David’s suspicions—that the new heir had a hand in his brother’s death—seem so unreasonable that even Will finds it difficult to believe his fears are valid. If Davy thought his lover was hard to convince, his autocratic father, who still sees him as the inept youngest son, won’t even listen to him. Davy and Will are thrust into the role of sleuths, trying to determine the truth behind the mystery.
All the while Will has concerns of his own: his fear of losing Davy is still stronger than his desire to keep Davy beside him on the quarterdeck… but he knows no other life than the Navy.
First Edition published by Cheyenne Publishing/Bristlecone Pine Press, 2010
Home is the Sailor is book 3 in Lee Rowan’s Royal Navy series, it follows book 2, Winds of Change & Eye of the Storm, and book 1, Ransom.
It’s January 1803 and England is in a state of temporary peace with France. The two nations have been at war since Napoleon seized power in 1799. William Marshall, a Commander in His Majesty’s Navy, is captain of the schooner Mermaid and David Archer, his lover, serves alongside him. During this period the Mermaid is running errands between England and France for the Secret Service and it’s during one of these errands that the Mermaid is ambushed by another ship. The ensuing fight shows both men that it’s folly for them to think they can continue to serve together. William, after nearly losing Davy a year before, is so fearful of losing him a second time that it affects his ability to command his ship and ensure the safety of his men. This can’t go on. Upon their return to England both men are instructed to stay out of sight as it appears the French have a bounty on their heads so they return to Davy’s home, not realizing that tragedy that has recently befallen his family.
I loved this book, and the series, but I’ll admit that some readers will find the switch from sea to land a bit disconcerting as after the initial skirmish on the Mermaid the rest of the book is more a detective novel than a sea novel. Regardless of the setting though the story is all about Will and Davy, two men whose love for each other could lead them to the gallows.
Will follows Davy to his home, after all what else would he do, his life revolves around Davy and the Royal Navy, he has nothing else. To their dismay and sadness they discover that that Davy’s elder brother Mark, the future Viscount Archer, has been killed in a hunting accident. This leaves the Archer’s middle son Ronald as the new heir. Ronald is a despicable man but would he kill his own brother for money and title? As Davy reacquaints himself with his family, particularly his closest sister Amelia, it soon becomes clear that there isn’t much Ronald will balk at to get what he wants. Can Davy protect himself and his family?
While all this drama unfolds Will is constantly by Davy’s side. Both men are acutely aware that the dream they had of serving together is now a distant memory but they just don’t know what to do, how to be together going forward. Davy does not relish waiting onshore while Will sails into danger, which will surely happen once war breaks out again. As only friends Davy would not even know if anything happened to Will, the first he would likely see is an article in the Naval Gazette and that is not how Davy wants to live his life.
The status quo in Home is the Sailor is subtly changed compared to the first two stories as Davy comes over as stronger and more in control than Will; he is the Viscounts son, albeit it the youngest son, but his social status is much higher than Will’s and Will is very much following in Davy’s wake. Up to now it’s been very much Will Marshall as Davy’s protector and strength and the shift in balance is what makes this story so fascinating. Davy now has responsibilities, as much as Will has when at sea and as the mystery of his brother’s death unfolds Davy’s life shapes in ways he had never considered, with even a wife looking like a necessity as time moves on. Neither man had previously ever considered a life beyond the sea and each other.
What I like lot about Lee Rowan’s writing is how she doesn’t take liberties with what two men in love would or would not do in the story settings time period. There is very little sex in this story as while under the family roof Will and Davy will not consider anything more than a chaste kiss in the dressing room between their shared bedrooms, secrecy is paramount. The only time they can allow themselves any kind of physical contact is when completely alone such as in a riding carriage, the windows curtained off, or in the ruins of Davy’s childhood treehouse, hidden behind branches and leaves.
The story is well written and engaging; nothing that happens seems unusual and strange given the time period. It is quite easy to see the villain early on, although that did not spoil my enjoyment, and the ending is quite a surprise. It’s also realistic for the time, and for Davy and Will it’s almost a chance to have a new beginning, a chance to be together within the veneer of respectability. These stories were written and originally released some years ago but now they have found a new and hopefully final home at Dreamspinner Press I hope that we will get to meet Davy and Will again as their story is very much a happy for now, and I’d really like to see them with a happy ever after.
I highly recommend the whole series for anyone who loves historical MM romance, this will not disappoint.
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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