Tuesday, 25 June 2013
Book Review: Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk
by Jordan L. Hawk
M/M Alternate History/Paranormal
Audiobook narrated by Julian G. Simmons
Also available in ebook
Running Time: 9 hours 15 minutes
Some things should stay buried.
Repressed scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has two skills: reading dead languages and hiding in his office at the Ladysmith Museum. After the tragic death of the friend he secretly loved, he's ruthlessly suppressed any desire for another man.
So when handsome ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty approaches him to translate a mysterious book, Whyborne wants to finish the job and get rid of the detective as quickly as possible. Griffin left the Pinkertons following the death of his partner, hoping to start a new life. But the powerful cult that murdered Glenn has taken root in Widdershins, and only the spells in the book can stop them. Spells the intellectual Whyborne doesn't believe are real.
As the investigation draws the two men closer, Griffin's rakish charm threatens to shatter Whyborne's iron control. When the cult resurrects an evil sorcerer who commands terrifying monsters, can Whyborne overcome his fear and learn to trust? Will Griffin let go of his past and risk falling in love? Or will Griffin's secrets cost Whyborne both his heart and his life?
Historical M/M novels are one of my favourites, as are those with a supernatural bent, so I was even more eager to review this book. I've never tried an audiobook before, I'm much more of a visual person than aural, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Julian G. Simmons has a very clear voice, everything was easy to follow, and each character had a different voice. I suppose it helps that the narrator is also an actor, it really comes across in the narration. This is not just a flat read, it's a dramatic one.
Percival Whyborne is a shy researcher hiding in the basement of the Ladysmith Museum, his only comfort the dead languages found in books. Gradually we learn a bit more about him, about the guilt he feels over his cousin's death when they were both in their teens, a cousin who Whyborne was in love with but never revealed it. For a man of his inclinations, acting on them might mean imprisonment or worse, so Whyborne keeps hiding and tries to forget how lonely he is in his awful apartment.
Drawn in to a murder investigation by Griffin and an even more mysterious book, Whyborne soon discovers that keeping his feelings hidden take even more effort, for Griffin is handsome, friendly, seeming at ease with the world. He's the sort of man Whyborne wishes he was and as they continue their investigations, they become closer and closer.
The love scenes are sensual and tender, for Whyborne has no experience to speak of, just dreams and fantasies, but Griffin shows him how good things can be with two people who are intimate with each other. They share an emotional connection as well as a physical one and it really comes across in the love scenes.
Their love story is interspersed with their investigation, fighting a secret cult dealing with necromancy and other occult horrors, but I don't think any scene was particularly gory. It was more like those old black and white horror films where you never actually saw the monsters, just heard the screams.
All the characters were wonderful, I especially like Christine, the female archaeologist who takes no nonsense from anyone and considers herself one of Whyborne's friends; he wasn't even aware he had any.
If you like a bit of supernatural plot with your romance, you can't go far wrong with Widdershins. It was a wonderful read. It was written in first-person POV, and while not my favourite, I think it worked well here as we get to discover things at the same time as Whyborne. It's and adventure and love story rolled into one and I loved it.
Reviewed by Annette Gisby
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