A PRIVATE GENTLEMAN
In this heartwrenching and redemptive love story, Cullinan has crafted two detailed, complex and highly sympathetic characters who are both endearing and surprising. Though some plot developments feel heavy-handed, the romance between these scarred men provides a welcome sweetness amid the sordid secrets and ugly truths surrounding them. The courage these misfits gain from their love leads to remarkable changes and leaves no character unaffected. Extraordinary secondary characters enhance the story with acts of stunning loyalty and shocking depravity.
Lord George Albert Westin suffers from a debilitating stammer and a deeply introverted nature. Only his passion for his botanical research makes Wes think of journeying into society, and then only with the help of his opium pills. When Wes encounters Michael Vallant, a prostitute with a heart as rare and beautiful as any orchid, he realizes a whole new kind of passion. But Michael’s smile hides a past full of horrible cruelty and secrets, and Wes alone has the power to set him free. Both men will have to confront their own demons — and an evil that threatens their love and their lives. (SAMHAIN, Feb., 288 pp., $16.00)