Title: The Uncertain Customer
Author: Pearl Love
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 80 pages
Rating: B List
Blurb: Devon Wilcox, the privileged fifth son of a viscount, has everything a man could want … except being gay in a time when such deviant behavior could land him in prison. He tries to console himself with the denizens of society’s underbelly, but frequently ends up the victim of those who’d rather take advantage of his desperation. Fortunately, his best friend and secret object of infatuation, Sir Wallace Church, comes to his rescue. Wallace tempts him with the promise of high-class entertainment at a mysterious boy brothel called “The Garden.” Situated in the heart of mid-Victorian London, The Garden offers an array of choice morsels, beautiful young men named after flowers. There, Wilcox finds not only the perfect bed partner for the evening, but the chance to gain his most ardent heart’s desire.
Review: A thoroughly enjoyable novella set in a time when men loving men could cost them their freedom and possibly even their lives.
When we first meet Wilcox he is sad, beat up, drunk and growing weary of his pampered yet lonely life. He has everything he could ever want except the one thing he can never have, his best friend, Church. And he can rarely even find solace in the arms of another due to the dangerous nature of his proclivity towards men.
Church is a force of nature and Wilcox has learned that attempting to escape is futile so he snarks while being pulled along into mischief and mayhem. Best friends since their school days the men share the bond of a desire for men. But while Wilcox would love nothing more than to share everything with his best friend, he fears Church’s rejection of his love or worse the loss of his friendship.
“Nursing a secret longing was manageable, but hope, no matter how faint, was a far more daunting prospect.”
When Church finds him once again suffering from a failed attempt at finding a sexual partner Wilcox is dragged to a new kind of brothel. The explosive carnal escapades that ensue are extremely hot. While this story is very erotic there is a strong storyline and a sweet and charming romance that underlines the sensual play.
I couldn’t help but feel that there are more stories set in this world coming our way. There were a few tantalizing hints of possibility left to be explored. And of course the desire to learn more about the people who became more involved in the story. We were left with a very hopeful start and I know I’d love to see where the story goes from here.
I really liked this little book. I couldn’t help but fall for Wilcox and Church, as well as their special flowers. I was pulled into a version of the past and lost in the beautifully descriptive narrative that had me feeling like I was walking through this world with the men, a delighted voyeur on their journey of discovery and promise.
Reviewed by Nina