Author ~ Victoria Sue
Published ~ 20 June 2016
Genre ~ Historical M/M Romance
Can love withstand the ultimate betrayal?
William was running. Running from his father, running from his arranged marriage, and running from himself. He’d never wanted to manage his father’s vast empire. He would have been quite happy to find some small corner of England and read and paint. He knew it would be too much to ask for the company of a man to go with that. Too dangerous. His only hope for escape is to hide who and what he is and pretend to be a servant.
Alex was barely surviving after the fight with Napoleon’s armies. Riddled with guilt, he buried the knowledge of his wife’s death, and his crippled body, at the bottom of whatever brandy bottle he could find.
Two broken souls. One so damaged he thinks he doesn’t deserve love, and one so convinced he would never find it he has stopped looking.
Danger, lies, and espionage. The fate of hundreds of English soldier’s lives depending on them to trust each other, to work together.
Alex is forced to make a choice, unable to swallow his pride and rejects Will and their chance of happiness. Will is heartbroken, and Alex is destroyed. Will Alex realize his mistake in time? Can he learn to trust Will, but more importantly himself, and would Will ever forgive him if he did? And finally, would love ever survive a betrayal – even if it is an innocent one?
We delve into the British historical with this novel. It is a story of money, family, betrayal, love and a couple of gentlemen who do some things they regret and hope they find forgiveness.
William comes from nobility in a time when being gay can get one stoned to death. He is a talented man, but not in any way that his father approves of. On the day of his marriage, he is unable to go through with it, and runs. He ends up at a place with a man who needed more than a companion. Alex was crippled in war and soon after returning to England, lost his wife, too. Suffice to say he’s not in a good place, displaying a temper and all the frustrations that accompany his situation. He is also part of a household whose servants do the bare minimum for him.
Enter William, who not only becomes his companion but helps turn his house around.
There is much that I enjoyed in this story, but let’s start with the things I wasn’t overly happy with so that we end on the positive.
Four things affected my reading enjoyment – most are minor and easily forgivable, but they still affected me. Firstly, the word fuck is used as slang. This story was set in 1811; according to the etymology dictionary, the word Fuck wasn’t used as slang until 1874. Before that, it was only used in sexual terms. I’m all for the freedom of literacy in fiction, but purists out there will frown at phrases being used out of their timeline. Secondly, there was lots of lip biting which, for me, was a turn-off. Sorry, but Twilight has a lot to answer for. Ever since Bella’s signature was biting her lip and so much was made of it, I am put off whenever I read the habit in a story. It is purely a personal thing, and this gripe won’t affect many, but them’s the breaks. Thirdly, there were a couple of instances when the author is on the boundary of body parts having their own brain. It interrupted the flow of the story as I contemplated their validity. E.g. ‘Will let his eyes trail lower’, should this have been ‘Will trailed his eyes lower’? Lastly, the paragraph set up. The font is large and the spacing between the lines is small given the size of the letters, which put a strain on my eyes while reading. There were many times when I got lost in a paragraph. I think it would have benefited from there being more of a gap between the lines, or the font being different.
Gripes out of the way, this is a delightful story, worth reading. It starts off with the drama of William leaving his life behind. When he found Alex, the characters drew me in, and I came to care for them and hoped for the best. But, everyone seemed to be keeping secrets, which got in the way of some man loving. Then, the stakes were raised, more characters were introduced, and the twist of espionage raises its head giving the story an extra engaging dimension. Towards the end, secrets are revealed, lives are on the line, ways of life are addressed. There is blackmail, kidnapping and more than one hero. My heart was in my mouth, more than once.
Innocent Betrayal is a lovely historical that deserves to be read.
Meet Victoria Sue
Has loved books for as long as she can remember. Books were always what pocket money went on and what usually Father Christmas brought. When she ran out of her kids' adventure stories, she would go raid her Mom's. By the age of eight she was devouring classics like Little Women, and fell in love with love stories.
She's still in love with them. Any size, any shape, any creature —love is love, no matter what it says on the box.
In fact if they don't fit very neatly into any box she loves them even more!
She has a very patient husband and three wonderful children. In 2010 in search of adventure they all moved from the UK to the US and are happily settled in Florida.