Daily Archives: May 5, 2014
Title: The Gentleman’s Madness
Author: Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Length: 188 pages
Blurb: An imprisoned heart finds escape in forbidden love.
No pride. No privacy. No hope.
Academic John Gilliam thought being caught embracing another man was the worst that could happen. Until he agrees to “treatment” at an asylum, where a vicious attack leaves him shaken and afraid.
But having all means of writing or reading taken from him… That is a serious threat to his sanity. Then a moment of kindness from an asylum attendant begins to restore his dignity.
Sam Tully feels sorry for the patient everyone calls “the professor”, but with a back injury that cost him his job on the docks—and without the education that would have bettered his position—he tries to keep his head down, and a tight lid on his attraction to men.
As John prays for freedom, he grows closer to the gentle, innately intelligent Tully. In spite of themselves, forbidden attraction leads to touches, kisses, and more. But there’s something other than curative treatments going on at the asylum. When John and Tully uncover a heinous conspiracy, their very lives are in danger.
Product Warnings: Contains heinous crimes and frightening treatments—oh, and some sweet and loving sexy times between two healthy, not-crazy men.
Review: I love historical novels, I started reading straight historical romances from the library in high school and even though I now read gay romances I still love historicals! Dee and Devon are a couple of my favorite historical writers so I couldn’t wait to read this, even knowing it was going to be a difficult subject matter.
John is an intellectual that has voluntarily committed himself to an asylum after being caught with a man by his father. He has no illusions that he will be “cured” but hopes to appease his family and get back into their good graces after a bit of time in an institution. After almost being raped by an attendant at his first facility John is moved to another, where he now is considered defiant and violent. His true misery is not in his incarceration but in the stealing of his ability to read, to use his intellect critically, to think as he is meant to.
Tully is an attendant at the institution and is filled with compassion for the poor souls that reside there, especially because he shares the same attraction to men that some of them do. Tully is kind and sympathetic to his patients, a true credit to his profession. He goes out of his way to help his charges, which leads to his friendship with John.
There is so much tension in this book, from the sexual tension as John and Tully deny the attraction between them, the fear of being discovered as they find comfort in each other, and the discovery of sinister actions going on at the asylum.
In all honesty the book stays pretty tame when it comes to the “treatments” John, and the other patients, must suffer through. Sadly the treatment of patients in real life continued to far more horrifying conclusions. This was done in the interest of romance and fiction, and keeps the book from plunging the reader into sadness.
This is fiction, and as such has a happy ending for our main characters but I couldn’t help thinking about all the men, over the centuries, spanning so many countries that were not able to find their own happy ending. Until far too recently these men were considered criminals and lunatics, something that leaves the reader with a heavy heart.
Reviewed by Jules