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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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06/06/2007 Archived Entry: "Book review: Discreet Young Gentleman"

Discreet Young Gentleman
By MJ Pearson
Published by Seventh Window Publications

Review by Logan

A few months ago I was sitting at home one Sunday morning with nothing to do. After an hour of milling about, I decided to pick up Discreet Young Gentleman by MJ Pearson. The cover alone made me buy the book. I mean, come on... Just look at that package!

When I finally opened the book and started to read, I was surprised to say the least. While I knew beforehand that the story was set in the 19th century, I didn't realize that it would be such a period piece. MJ Perason obviously did a lot of research into the era. There are detailed descriptions of the customs, the clothing, the road system, and even the various towns and their local ghost stories. I felt that I was reading one of those "trashy" romance novels you see at Walgreens, only this one had a closeted gay lead character.

The story follows Dean Smith, the Earl of Carwick. In the very first chapter a sexy highwayman (i.e. prostitute) attempts to rob and/or seduce Dean one night along side the road. Then the mystery and intrigue begin... Someone set Dean up to be seen with a male prostitute so as to ruin his imminent wedding to a very prominent lady. Dean and Rob (the prostitute) set out across the English countryside by carriage to clear Dean's name. Along the way Dean learns more about Rob and comes to discover that Rob isn't such a bad guy after all. Surprise of all surprises, they grow to have feelings for each other.

There are some twists and turns in the story and some hot sex near the end. I was a little surprised that in almost 200 pages, there's only one serious sex scene. The sex is delicate and passionate, but I was a little disappointed. I spent the better part of an afternoon reading this elaborate story for a single sex scene. It was more of a let-down than in Son of a Witch when I came across the one unexpected gay love scene there. In that case I wasn't expecting the scene, and it only added an amazing dimension to the character and the story. In Discreet Young Gentleman however, the book's reason d'Ítre is the love affair between Dean and Rob. So for there to be only a quick suck-off and a short, albeit playful and sweet, love scene seems to undermine the book's relevance.

Despite my disappointment that there wasn't more gay sex, I still feel that this is one of the better gay love stories I've read. I do think it's more targeted at straight women than gay men, but it was an enjoyable Sunday read nonetheless.

Update: MJ Pearson has another book called The Price of Temptation which is yet another period piece about a homoerotic love triangle. Another sexy cover promises another pleasant way to spend a bored Sunday afternoon.

Update 2: Nightcharm, a blog I read on occasion, recently posted both book covers here.

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