23 November 2009

M/M review: Erastes - Transgressions

~buy a copy here~
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Running Press (April 13, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0762435739
ISBN-13: 978-0762435739

Genre; M/M Romance
Main Characters; David and Jonathan
Book Origin; Personal Library

Summary cover:
1642, England David Caverly's strict father has brought home the quiet, puritanical Jonathan Graie to help his dreamer of a son work the family forge. With war brewing in Parliament, the demand for metal work increases as armies are raised.

The indolent and deceitful David Caverly is bored by his father's farm and longs to escape, maybe to join the King's Army, mustering at Nottingham. David finds himself drawn to Jonathan, and after a passing cavalry trooper seduces the beautiful David and reveals his true nature, he determines to teach Jonathan what he's learned.

When David is forced to leave the farm, and the boys are separated by mistrust and war, they learn the meaning of love and truth as they fight their way across a war-torn country, never thinking they'll ever see each other again.

If there is one genre I discovered this year (2009) then it is the M/M Erotica so when I read about RUNNING PRESS was going to release a M/M romance line I was more than a little intrigued. I carefully looked at the two offerings they had at the time and went with Erastes’ title; TRANGRESSIONS. I had no clue what was in store for me but I was more than willing to find out how this romance would affect me. Well, I can tell you it affected me alright! It was a bit of a different approach to the romantic progress but one that delivered all the same.

The two leading males in this novel are; David Caverly, a blacksmith’s son, a pretty boy and one who wants to get everything out of life as he possibly can. This doesn’t only mean work, responsibilities, work, church, prayer and more work. This also means enjoying a sunny day at the creek, swimming naked and enjoying time with friends. When his father brings home an apprentice he meets Jonathan Graie. Jonathan is a Puritan, a hard worker, devout, eager to learn and respectful to those around him. He is focused on his daily tasks and has little need for anything else. I don’t think Erastes could have created two more opposites then these two men and she told their stories in three parts.

The first part was all about David and Jonathan as young men, about a developing camaraderie and bonding of two very noticeably different men. I instantly took to the way David and Jonathan reacted and interacted with one another, full of youthful exuberance and vigor. Of course other feelings are budding besides the camaraderie and because this part encompasses a longer period of time Erastes created a believable and gradually increasing of intimacy. It also portrays the difference of personalities and how they handle this deepening of intimacy. David is introduced to man love via a soldier and suddenly gets more grip on his feelings for Jonathan and wants to explore this new side of their bond. As opposed to Jonathan, who shares the connection with every profound emotion but there is also a fear instilled in him by his religion and simply by the person that he is. While Jonathan has more inner conflict going on, David has outward conflicts pressing down on him to make certain choices.

As their relationship grows events occur and as a result their paths separate and this is where I was surprised by the author. The story evolved in an entwining of singular storylines regarding David and Jonathan. Their characters undergo a growth they need to become seasoned men and while I was reading about their separate trials and tribulations I still felt they were connected at the core, that neither was truly complete without the other. While they were divided they did both develop feelings for another man and valuable lessons were learned. It is here where Michael Giddings and Tobias become intricate to the story. If there is one man that rubbed me the wrong way but in a good way for the story, then it was Michael Giddings. He belongs to a group of Witchfinders, is fanatically devout and does not shun from violence and torture. His indoctrinating ways, his double standards of what is sinful and his ways of how to purge a person got a rise out of me like no other element in this story save the romance.

As I followed these two leading men through the years of their lives I got a fabulous background of war torn England, of fanatical Witchfinders executing women for practicing witchcraft and worshipping the devil. The old English tongue of Jonathan with thou, thee and whilst enhances the feel of the time period even more. In the historical detail I noticed the competent knowledge of the author and with that it gives TRANSGRESSIONS a lifelike feel of what England must’ve been like in the seventeenth century and has her characters act like it accordingly. As the story is very much focused on the progress of David and Jonathan it has more the feel of a life’s story than anything else. There is also a good deal of male lovemaking that adds a certain pizzazz to a sometimes grim background of war. It is given in the right amount and emphasizes on the emotions of the male protagonists to create a lasting bond of love between them.

I was bound to the two men telling their ‘coming-of-age’ stories, giving up their most inner thoughts, desires, secrets, happiness, doubts and fears. And with that Erastes won me as a reader. I had no doubt that David and Jonathan were made for each other, that while they had to go their own way they would also find each other again. Part three, the conclusion of this story, surprised me, touched my romantic beating heart and while it could’ve been more elaborated it was emotionally very satisfying.

The journey of David and Jonathan is steeped with everything a romance should have; star-crossed lovers, passion, love, obstacles and perseverance. TRANSGRESSIONS holds out on nothing!

Quote Jonathan:

His suppressed emotions tore to the surface like bubbles trapped underwater, the love he felt emerging, suffusing his soul, and joining him to David as surely as if they were manacled together. He would do anything David asked, anything. But how can this be love? Yet how could this be anything else? How could he be so sure of one thing, but be so very confused at the same time?

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  1. Sounds like a wonderful historical M/M romance - a great combination, I think. I'm gonna find out if there's an ebook version, so I can add it to my TBB list.
    Thanks for the great review :)

  2. Leontine this sounds like a great. I'm really trying to read more m/m books so keep 'em coming b/c I dare not try and find any on my own. I need a m/m romance guide :) Pssst thats you, Mandi, and Ertoic Horizon.

  3. Really great review Leontine. I am dying to get my hands on this one. Many times, and maybe because so many are novellas, you don't get to into this much depth and see the characters grow. But this one really sounds like you get everything.

  4. @ErotRomReader - I would be surprised if there wasn't any e-book format of this book ERR. What kind of e-reader do you have? Curiousity here since I'm on the look-out for one ;)

    @Smokinhotbooks - Oh the fun you're going to have, I'm a minor league player LOL

    @Mandi - I like the depth in characterization, novella's can be good and great apitizers of what an author can deliver!

  5. Hi Leontine, I actually still read my ebooks on my lightweight laptop, with 'Adobe Digital Aditions' (for pdf and epub files) and 'Kindle for PC' (for the Amazon ebooks).
    I'm also thinking about buying an e-reader though. There're so many different kinds. But I'm pretty sure that it'll be the Bebook 2 for me (if the reading comfort will not be too much reduced by the touchscreen functionality). It's not available yet, so I can think about it some more.
    I hope you'll get spoiled by Santa/Sinterklaas (if you have been a good girl that is, LOL)! I'm curious which one you will pick :)

  6. Not my cup of tea but nice cover. :)

  7. @ErotRomReader - Of course that's the way to read them too ;) Right now I'm going for the Cybook Gen3 deluxe package. It's around 300 euros so I have to be a very, very good girl to get me one of these for santa LOL I don't own a mini laptop so I need to do my e-reading in front of the computer and I'm getting a dutch "wooden ass" from it LOL

    @JennJ - I know these books serve a small crowd but I really like the dynamics in a M/M relationship ;)

  8. Great review Leontine!I still have to read my first m/m book, but have not decided yet which one ...

  9. Very nice review Leontine!
    I agree with Jenn on this. Not my cup of tea but should I one day be ready to explore the m/m romance or erotica world I know on whose door I'll be knocking *wink*

    Until then I will remain the m/m virgin of this bunch LOL

  10. I have dragged my feet on this book - just becasue it's a historical, but after that review I have to rethink my reading plans.....

    Thanks for a wonderful summing up.. These character sounds like men I would like to know.


  11. @Marissa - You'll know your first M/M when you read the blurb :) I found this M/M romance very satisfying oposed to the erotica I've read in the genre. My next one in this line is already on pre-order.

    @Pearl - I hear ya *wink* It is an acquired taste but if you ever have a change in flavor...my shelves will be well represented in the genre ;)

    @EH - The historical background is very good and detailed but the men...I loved the "coming-of-age" storyline. I'd say; give it a go to find out if this will work for you!

  12. LOL! "man love" That cracked me up. ;)

    I've heard of Erastes before. It seems as though that name is always linked with anything pertaining to m/m romance. Good sign I think.

    You know, I really don't think that m/m romance is my cup of tea. I've explored it with Joey Hill but I think the most I can handle regarding man love is m/m/f. The only other time that m/m romance rang true for me was with Butch and V. That was love and there was just something about the way Ward wrote their story that had me dying for those two hunks to jump into bed together.

    Great review!

    Hugs, VFG

  13. @VFG - Yeah V and Butch, if only Ward would go there in detail LOL And I'm about to embark in the vampire series of JWHill, I love the intensity of her characters relationships.


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