Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Running Press (April 13, 2009)
Genre; M/M Romance
Main Characters; David and Jonathan
Book Origin; Personal Library
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!
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?