Hi there! Today I’m sharing a new historical M/M Romance from JL Merrow. TO LOVE A TRAITOR is a quiet intrigue set in the immediate aftermath of what was once called “The Great War,” but we now call WWI. I really enjoyed this slow burn, between a man who mourns his brother, and the person who may have been responsible for his brother’s death. I read PLAYED! by this author, and enjoyed her work enough to seek out another book.
About the book:
Wounds of the heart take the longest to heal.
When solicitor’s clerk George Johnson moves into a rented London room in the winter of 1920, it’s with a secret goal: to find out if his fellow lodger, Matthew Connaught, is the wartime traitor who cost George’s adored older brother his life.
Yet as he gets to know Matthew—an irrepressibly cheerful ad man whose missing arm hasn’t dimmed his smile—George begins to lose sight of his mission.
As Matthew’s advances become ever harder to resist, George tries to convince himself his brother’s death was just the luck of the draw, and to forget he’s hiding a secret of his own. His true identity—and an act of conscience that shamed his family.
But as their mutual attraction grows, so does George’s desperation to know the truth about what happened that day in Ypres. If only to prove Matthew innocent—even if it means losing the man he’s come to love.
Warning: Contains larks in the snow, stiff upper lips, shadows of the Great War, and one man working undercover while another tries to lure him under the covers.
Roger George Cottingham is a scourge to his noble family. The younger son, a bookish sort, continually passed over for affection by his parents in favor of his gregarious elder brother, Hugh, Roger knows he’s second best. When it was time to enlist in the war against the Hessians, he balked. No, he didn’t just balk, this Cambridge-educated man who speaks several languages refused to join up–knowing he was unable to kill a man. He was jailed for a miserable year as a Conscientious Objector before he was sprung and worked as a cryptographer for the Navy.
Hugh was killed in a mission that seems quite dodgy on its surface. Roger’s been tasked by Hugh’s bereaved fiance (and Roger’s close childhood friend) to find out if there’s truth to the rumor that Hugh’s espionage mission was leaked to the enemy beforehand. Inquiries have led Roger to a boardinghouse, home to Matthew Connaught, an amputee veteran of the war–and the man who Hugh replaced in the covert mission. Roger takes a room at the house under the pseudonym, George Johnson, in order to befriend Matthew, and glean information regarding Hugh’s death–information which might implicate Matthew as a spy.
Trouble is, Matthew is a fantastic man. He’s upbeat, and lovely, and he and George immediately hit it off. Not only that, George is attracted to Matthew–and it seems that Matthew may return his interest. For George this is a revelation that is fraught with pain. Could he possibly be falling for the man who had a part in Hugh’s death?
All of his instincts say no, that Matthew is too kind and honest a man to have been a spy, but the deeper he gets involved, the more he recognizes that Matthew has some deep secrets–and he knows more about Hugh’s death than George could have predicted.
I absolutely enjoyed this book. Do not expect a lot of steam–though there is some, for sure. George has a day of reckoning in his future, and his inquiries result in peace for more than one family–though it causes a significant amount of distress for Matthew, and himself. For his part, Matthew finds himself in more than one uncomfortable position, and his confessions are a balm to George, as well as Hugh’s fiance. I ached for George throughout. He’s been abandoned and cast off his whole life, and Matthew provides the compassionate friend and partner that George has been too afraid to admit needing. This is a true hurt/comfort story, with an HEA for men who’ve suffered much, and carry on in the face of grief and loss. Plus, the historical details were a delight. I truly felt as if transported to that era, and was glad for it.
Interested? You can find TO LOVE A TRAITOR on Goodreads, Samhain Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and AllRomance. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.
About the Author:
JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.
She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through was a 2013 EPIC Award finalist, and her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy. Her novel Relief Valve is a finalist in the 2015 EPIC Awards.
Find JL Merrow online on her website, Twitter, and on Facebook.
Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!