Apr. 11th, 2013

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Captain's SurrenderCaptain's Surrender by Alex Beecroft

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now this is what a romance is supposed to BE.

I will admit, Age of Sail is my home ground. And I can't get enough of the forbidden-love trope, so historical m/m is perfect for me, because it's an organic part of the setting, and not achieved by contrivances. But, that said...

Josh and Peter are both engaging, realistically flawed, sympathetic characters. The plot goes along at a crisp pace, with plenty of action, nail-biting tension, and strong emotions, not all of which are related to the developing romance. Okay, I'm also a sucker for crazy-tyrant-captain and floating-hell scenarios, because of reasons, but they're scenarios that come up a lot in Age of Sail fiction, because of probably the same reasons (look, do I have to be delicate about it? Mutiny and Retribution are masterworks of storytelling) and I've seen them done abysmally as often as I've seen them done well. This was done with consummate skill: I could feel every shout, every flinch, every tremble. The historical detail, as far as I could tell, was flawless -- I'm more at home about twenty-five years later, but I couldn't see a single error. Do you have any idea what a relief that is? And a joy? The details of shipboard life, and of battle... if I could do them even half as well, I might feel more confident including them, instead of sticking to drawing rooms and inns and cottage kitchens. My hat's off.

And the romance! The unbalanced nature of it, the way the characters' emotions build and shift, the frustrating misunderstandings that were completely plausible instead of making me want to shake them and say "just TALK to each other, for God's sake" -- no, they talked to each other, but they still managed to talk past each other in ways that were utterly believable and heartbreaking. And the final resolution was glorious.

And not ONCE did this story make me uncomfortable by presenting non-consent as acceptable or romantic. These men CHECKED. Even when they were being passionate and fierce, there was never a time when either of them forced the other or ignored a sign of discomfort. This shouldn't HAVE to be a relief, but it was, and I am most thoroughly grateful.

THIS is a romance. THIS is what I want from my stories. I cannot speak too highly of it. Go forth and read.

View all my reviews
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What I should have been doing today: cleaning house in preparation for the arrival of a house guest. Namely one K. Piet, marketing director of Storm Moon Press, the wonderful people who are publishing my novel, because Storm Moon Press is going to have a table at the Rainbow Book Fair in NYC on Saturday, and I'm going to help staff it with her. It's kind of important that I clean at least enough to be able to unfold the sofa bed without dislodging papers.

What I did instead?


I cranked out a LOT of words today on the Regency-lesbians story. Once I get in the groove, it goes like ANYTHING. This is for several reasons: first, I'm in my ELEMENT in a woman-focused Regency story, because FASHION and INTERIOR DESIGN and CARRIAGES and PROMENADES IN HYDE PARK and all that Georgette Heyer goodness; second, I've really started to get a handle on the inner lives of my main characters; third, as I go on, I'm getting a better and better sense of the STRUCTURE of this thing (when it comes to plotter or pantser? PANTS ALL THE WAY, though I do rough it out concept-style with [livejournal.com profile] mswyrr ); and, lastly, THIS IS SET IN MY NOVELVERSE. I have incidents and framework and supporting characters ALL THERE already. Alexander's Newfoundland, Minor, has just made an appearance for a small but important role!

The thing's just over 9K now. I suspect it's only about half done. I checked with the editor, though, and she said OVER wordcount is a much easier sell than UNDER, and when it comes to lesbian fiction, she's likely to be extra-lenient.

I'm not going to give you the Important Caroline/Alexander Argument (I swear, sometimes I think Alexander's main function in my universe is to get angry about things, but he does it SO WELL, and in ways that serve the theme and plot), but here, I cannot resist sharing a bit of the Cute Newfie Business:

When Alexander opened the door, an enormous black dog jumped up from the tiger rug that lay before the hearth, and bounded towards them, wagging his tail furiously. Caroline reached out (she did not have to bend in the slightest) and scratched his ears. “Minor! I’ve been neglecting you, I know. When Parliament recesses, you shall come to Maitland House, and run about to your heart’s content, even if the children don’t care to be hauled out of the duck-pond quite as often as you think best.”

Alexander laughed. “Am I invited, too?”

“Well, I suppose, as I know how little he likes to be separated from his master,” Caroline teased. Julia only rolled her eyes at that, but Caroline noticed that Mary was cringing away. “Minor, sit. I assure you, Mary, he means you no harm! He is the gentlest, kindest creature that ever lived. Only but let him sniff your hand, and he will know you for a friend -- though I do suggest you take your glove off first, as he does have a habit of drooling.”

But, God, it's fun to write.

August 2013

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