Title: The Carousel
Author: Eva Vicci
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Released: 8th January 2014
Genre: M/M (Historical)
Rating: 3 Stars
Eighteen–year-old Jonathan Moore works as a garden hand on a lord’s estate in Victorian England. On a festive servants’ day off, he visits the Christmas fair, hoping to fulfill his childhood dream of riding the carousel. The trip turns out unexpectedly when he catches the eye of impudent footman Francis Johnson. Despite Jonathan’s reservations, the flirtatious Francis doesn’t give up, and after some hesitation, they share a ride on the glittering carousel. Before they say good-bye, Francis asks to meet again, and with a quickening heartbeat, Jonathan agrees.
Rarely having a day off from their duties, their yearning for one another cannot be quenched, while Jonathan’s fear of heartbreak makes him uncertain whether Francis is the right man for him. Meanwhile, Francis does everything in his power to make a next date happen. Will Jonathan’s naïve heart give in to the temptation of the seductive footman?
Downton Abbey meets MM romance or what do you do when you can only get to see the person you love once a month? Well, this is the case for Francis, a footman for the Earl of Lincoln, and Jonathan Gardner for Lord Thomson.
Jonathan is on his way to the Christmas fair in the village with the service staff of Lord Thomson's house. He has been saving all year to be able to buy a ticket to go on The Carousel, the main attraction at the fair. Quite impossible to even consider today, but then I guess a real treat and you could feel Jonathan's excitement about the prospect of riding on the carousel. While he is there he discovers something on a stall of deep sentimental value and is put in a quandary as to what to spend his money on, the carousel or to buy this item. A rather arrogant young man, at first appearances, starts to talk to him who is standing next to him at the stall......enter Francis. Jonathan finds him highly irritating at first, however as he is standing alone and feeling awkward about going on the carousel alone as everyone else was riding with family and friends Francis approaches him once more.
Due to his persistence, the barriers soon break down and they both take a ride together on the carousel. Well, this for me was a beautiful moment. Eva brings across the delight in such simple pleasures that we seem to have lost and forgotten today. It's only a carousel, right? Nevertheless, for these two young men the ride makes them giddy, not only literally but also from happiness and while they are cheering, whooping and enjoying the excitement they suddenly find a strong attraction to each other. I could just imagine the lights, the barrel organ playing, the horses going gently up and down, the world disappearing around them, carefree and laughing if only for a few minutes, no wonder they fell in love, who wouldn't? I thought this was a beautiful backdrop to create the attraction between these two guys. At this point my heart blossomed, but then I had to pinch myself as this was early 1900's in England, how could the attraction ever have a future?
Well, the both arrange to meet on their next Sunday off in a month. Imagine it? They have just met and now they would only be able to meet once a month. Geez, I know I would never be able to wait that long. But for this time totally normal as servants would not have got a lot of time off, however that made the time you got off even more special so you made good use of it. They meet and go to a local pub where they sit in a quiet room. The frustration of not being able to touch each other in public or even seem to be behaving "oddly" must have been agonising. Eva brings this across really well and I felt the electricity running through Francis and Jonathan and not being able to do anything about it was great. They concoct a story that they are cousins who have a very ill grandmother, and use this as a smoke screen to be able to write and see each other without raising any suspicions.
However, things rarely go smoothly and Francis is a little too forward with Jonathan in the pub on evening and frightens him off due to his advances. This is also compounded by the fact that two servants in Jonathan's household are found out one night and are thrown off the estate immediately in disgrace. This frightens him even more. So he decides not to go to the next meeting, but the longing is so great he regrets his decision and feels miserable. Again, the attitudes in this day were just unbelievable from where we sit today, but it would have been exactly like this as hard as it is to understand.
The Countess of Lincoln comes to visit and Francis being the footman has his chance to meet Jonathan briefly on his Lordship's estate. He does this by sending a servant to find Jonathan to give him the message his "cousin" his here and he has important news about their grandmother. Well, they both meet and have to behave formally and normally, oh the agony of that once again. But it is clear they decide not give up on their relationship. Well, a fortunate turn of events and circumstance means they both get their HEA of sorts. I thought this ending would all be in the realms of possibility for this period even thought they were probably taking a hell of a risk.
This book mainly concentrates on the servants. We don’t get to meet the Earl and Lord or the aristocracy whose families Jonathan or Francis work for. The cook in the household where Jonathan works is a great supporting character and to Jonathan is almost like a surrogate mother. Eva sets the scene very well and you can just imagine the hard working life of the servants and them really making the most of the rare free time they get.
The book is short, only a novella and it took me an hour and 30 minutes to read, which left me unfortunately wanting more. This however is a good thing as I felt that there is potential here to expand on the story even more and really turn it into a gay Downton Abbey drama. I hope there is more to come, as I would really like to know how their lives work out and manage their relationship under such circumstances.
About The Author
Eva Vicci feels privileged to live at her favourite place in the world, Yorkshire, England. Her family is allegedly a descendent of one of the greatest European kings. Still, when she wanted to reclaim the castle she was refused so instead of living the high life, she has to put up with only writing about it. She has a clear preference for the historical genre, especially for the Victorian era, hence most of her writing is set in those fascinating and romantic times. Even if rarely she stays in the twenty-first century, she takes her readers to another place, far away from our everyday routine.
Her motto is: A life without passion is not worth living, a book without passion is not worth writing. Faithful to her motto, her stories are focused on the beginning of a relationship, when the most passion and romantic elements occur. Her various hobbies include pizza eating, visiting family in several places throughout Europe, and, above all, discovering a new country by Google map, the cheapest way of tourism.
Contact The Author
Eva will be giving away one ebook copy of The Carousel.
Enter the draw below and GOOD LUCK!