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Monday, May 21, 2012

SERIES REVIEW: Brook Street Trilogy by Ava March

Ava March is one of my favorite male/male writers with her specialty being romances that take place in Regency England.  Her author bio claims that she is fascinated by the strict social structure of this world of the ton and what really happens behind closed doors.  The Brook Street trilogy provides readers with three couples who have to deal with personal feelings while trying to maintain proper discretion to avoid punishment from the government and society.  These stories are also connected to the novella My True Love Gave To Me which I reviewed here.





Thief by Ava March
(Brook Street #1)

Adult Fiction-Historical Romance/Erotica-Male/Male
Carina Press--March 2012
E-book, 112 pages

Rating: 4 Stars




SUMMARY

London, 1822
It was only supposed to be one night. One night to determine once and for all if he truly preferred men. But the last thing Lord Benjamin Parker expected to find in a questionable gambling hell is a gorgeous young man who steals his heart.

It was only supposed to be a job. Cavin Fox has done it many times — select a prime mark, distract him with lust, and leave his pockets empty. Yet when Cavin slips away under the cover of darkness, the only part of Benjamin he leaves untouched is his pockets.

With a taste of his fantasies fulfilled, Benjamin wants more than one night with Cavin. But convincing the elusive young man to give them a chance proves difficult. Living with a band of thieves in the worst area of London, Cavin knows there's no place for him in a gentleman's life. Yet Benjamin isn't about to let Cavin—and love—continue to slip away from him.

MY THOUGHTS

This first book in the Brook Street trilogy shows a romance that crosses the class boundaries which are so present in Regency England.  Lord Benjamin Parker is a the young, unassuming son of a marquis who has begun suspecting his romantic preferences lie beyond the ladies of the ton while Cavin Fox is a a thief who uses his looks and sexual skills to complete tasks.  After one night together, Benjamin believes he has found the man of his dreams while Cavin tries, in vain, to forget about the man who made him believe in something more.

Both of the heroes in this novella are well-written and admirable.  Benjamin, despite his aristocratic upbringing, does not care about Cavin's background and proves himself to be a sweet, but strong man.  He strives to Cavin in any way he can without expecting much in return.

Cavin is a thief from a gang that reminded me strongly of the one in Dickens's Oliver Twist.  He is a unique character with his blunt personality that contrasts with some of the vulnerabilities he reveals.  His main struggle in this story is learning how to trust Benjamin.  He is thrown off by his innocent and determination to help him.

Like most of March's romances, Thief is full of angst and poignant moments.  The sex scenes are hot and plentiful, but not without romance.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy especially after meeting some of Benjamin's friends who I am assuming will be getting their own stories soon.


Fortune Hunter by Ava March
(Brook Street #2)

Adult Fiction-Historical Romance/Erotica-Male/Male
Carina Press--April 2012
E-book, 125 pages

Rating: 4 Stars




SUMMARY

London, 1822
Impoverished Julian Parker returns to London with one goal: marry an heiress. He'll do whatever it takes, even if it means denying his desire for men. After all, with a fortune comes happiness and social acceptance—which have eluded Julian his entire life.

The only things a vast fortune has brought Oscar Woodhaven are greedy relatives and loneliness. At twenty-one years of age, he has everything a man could possibly want—except someone to love him. When he meets devastatingly handsome Julian Parker, he believes his luck has turned.

Between Oscar's lavish gifts and their searing hot nights, Julian is caught between what he thinks he needs and what his heart truly desires. But when a betrayal threatens to tear them apart, Julian discovers he'll do whatever it takes to convince Oscar the greatest fortune of all is love.

MY THOUGHTS

In the second book in this trilogy, readers meet Julian Parker, the American cousin of Benjamin from Thief.  He has arrived from the States with two goals in mind: he is going to find an heiress to marry and figure out a way to change his family's scandalous reputation.  Unfortunately, Julian has a definite preference for men which is quite inconvenient when he meets Oscar Woodhaven, one of Benjamin's friends.

Julian is a difficult character to like in this book, at times.  I can admire his ambition and determination to better his life, but I had some issues with the fact that he was willing to have an affair with Oscar while actively searching for a wife.  He does have some self-confidence issues and is extremely sensitive to how others perceive him.  Throughout the book, Julian struggles with learning how to accept Oscar's friendship and how to be a better friend.   

I absolutely adored Oscar!  He is a rich, but lonely gentleman who was raised and neglected by his extended family.  All Oscar wants is for someone to like him for him rather than for his money or connections.  I really felt for this man throughout the story especially during scenes where he appeared as the outcast.  He fell hard for Julian and tried to do everything he could to make him happy.  When Oscar discovered the truth about Julian's aspirations, he was forced to make some difficult decisions and I definitely applauded him for that.

Like Thief, this book is full of angsty and poignant moments.  Julian and Oscar have a hard road ahead of them in this story, but they are just one of those couples that works despite their differences.  I will say there was a bit of a flash forward near the end that made me want to know more, but that is a minor quibble.  I also loved seeing more of Benjamin and Cavin from Thief.  Their few scenes were wonderful and made me believe they were continuing to work as a couple. Another recommended read!!

Rogues by Ava March
(Brook Street #3)

Adult Fiction-Historical Romance/Erotica-Male/Male
Carina Press--May 2012
E-book, 71 pages

Rating: 3.5 Stars 




SUMMARY

London, 1822
Two of London's most notorious rakehells, Linus Radcliffe and Robert Anderson, are the best of friends. They share almost everything-clothes, servants, their homes, and even each other's bed on occasion. The one thing they don't share: lovers. For while Linus prefers men, Robert prefers women...except when it comes to Linus.

As another Season nears its end, Robert can't ignore his growing jealousy. He hates watching Linus disappear from balls to dally with other men. Women are lovely, but Linus rouses feelings he's never felt with another. Unwilling to share his gorgeous friend another night, Robert has a proposition for Linus.

A proposition Linus flatly refuses-but not for the reasons Robert thinks. Still, Robert won't take no for an answer. He sets out to prove a thing or two to his best friend-yet will learn something about the heart himself.
MY THOUGHTS

Rogues is the final book in the Brook Street trilogy and deals with a couple that we have seen throughout the earlier installments.  Linus and Rob have been best friends, and sometimes lovers, for ages.  When one of them decides that they want their relationship to become exclusive, some hidden drama emerges.

Linus Radcliffe is a flirtacious man who prefers the company of other men and spends quite a bit of time searching out willing paramours.  But, this carefree facade is a cover for a lonely man who is uncomfortable with emotional intimacy and fears losing the company of his best friend above all.  Robert Anderson, on the other hand, has always preferred women in his bed and the only man he has ever been attracted to is Linus.  He is an intelligent and selfless man who strives to help those he cares about especially his best friend.   

This is probably my least favorite of all the Brook Street books.  I enjoyed both Linus and Rob's characters, but felt like the plot was a little melodramatic.  It just felt like it wasn't long enough to provide the emotional punch that is a signature of March's stories.  I did like the way their friendship was depicted and how loyal each of them was to the other.  I also enjoyed seeing flashes of Norton and Bennet from My True Love Gave To Me.  I would love for March to write a mass epilogue for each of the couples in this trilogy!   

OVERALL SERIES THOUGHTS

This was a highly entertaining trilogy from one of my favorite authors.  I loved the different plots that were utilized in each story and the detail that was put into the characters.  My favorite of the entire series was Thief with Benjamin and Cavin being my favorite couple.  Oscar Woodhaven from Fortune Hunter was probably my favorite character.  I recommend this series to fans of historical romance and well-written male/male romance with some definite drama.

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more with you. I only haven't read yeat the third book (I usually download them first, to see if it's worth spending my money on them). Given your reviews, I'm even more anxious to read it!

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