Title: Saints Save a Sinner
Author: Dawn Douglas
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 06/01/2015
Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)
Genre: Gay Fiction, Historical, M/M Romance
William Arthur Ainsworth, second son of the Earl of Cannahan, has just purchased a Lieutenant’s Commission in the Coldstream Regiment, British Foot Guards. A new officer, Will shows promise and is taken in hand by experienced Scottish Sargent Duncan Blair. Friendship grows into affection and desire as the men fight the French from Egypt to Sweden and back to the Spanish Peninsula through the six coalitions of the Napoleonic Wars. A bloody defeat in Spain and tragedy at home pull William away from service in the British Army and turn him from an officer to an earl, but status, time, and distance combined can’t change Will’s feelings for Duncan. When a hard-won peace is finally achieved, Will realizes the most important mission he may ever undertake will be convincing Duncan that the end of the fighting can mean the beginning of their lives together.
A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Daily Dose package “Never Too Late.”
William, the second son of the Earl of Cannahan has always wanted to be a soldier. His father, realising that William needed to learn how to be a soldier before commanding men buys him a commission as a lieutenant as soon as he completes his education at Oxford, at the age of twenty one. William had been hoping for a commission of a higher rank but he soon realises his father was right when he finds himself in the thick of battle. William proves his mettle in battle and field promotions come quickly bringing William new responsibilities, and his own Sergeant, Scottish Duncan Blair. Duncan, fourteen years older than William is the son of a Glasgow Wool Merchant whose business crashed. Duncan is well educated and insightful, he also has a commanding presence and is a great teacher and leader of the enlisted men.
William was schooled at Eton and realised quite young that he desired men over woman but Duncan is out of bounds, not just by his lower rank, but also by the fact that Duncan likes woman. None of that however stops William from developing an infatuation for him which flourishes when Duncan becomes his Batman as William moves upward through the ranks as leaders fall, battle by battle.
The story is told in an episodic way, each chapter headed by a new battle/place and date, and it covers the years 1801-1815. What seems to start off as a father/son friendship, certainly from Duncan’s perspective, over the years develop into much more as the two men fight alongside each other. More than once Duncan is wounded protecting William. When William’s older brother, the future Earl, is injured in a fall from a horse William’s position within the army and his peers changes as it becomes clear he will be the next Earl of Cannahan. As much as William does not want this role he soon has no choice but to leave the army, and Duncan, and assume his responsibility at home.
Can William find a way to keep Duncan in his life? The infatuation he has for the man has long been replaced by a love which he knows is returned after an explosive confrontation after Duncan caught William with another man. William simply cannot imagine a life without Duncan by his side. Duncan is more pragmatic and accepts that what they both want they can never have.
Saints Save a Sinner is one of the Dreamspinner Daily Dose stories and both its title and the gorgeous cover immediately caught my eye. The prompt this year didn’t really appeal but I’m so glad I read this book as I adored it. For any readers familiar with the American Vietnam series Tour of Duty William and Duncan reminded me very much of Goldman and Anderson. William being the young inexperience officer and Duncan the more experienced and battle hardened sergeant. I’ll say no more as I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone tempted to read it expect to say it does have the potential for a happy ever after as William eventually comes up with an idea to bring Duncan to his side, if only he can convince the proud Duncan that the future they both want is within their grasp.
I loved everything about this story and if I could change only one thing it would be for it to be longer. I really hope Dawn Douglas writes more historical stories and I will certainly be queuing up to read them. If you love MM historicals as much as I do please don’t miss this.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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