A great house. A family dispossessed. A sensitive young man. A powerful landowner. An epic love that springs up between two men.
Set in the post-Napoleonic years of the 1820s, Standish is a tale of two men - one discovering his sexuality and the other struggling to overcome his traumatic past. Ambrose Standish, a studious and fragile young man, has dreams of regaining the great house his grandfather lost in a card game.
When Rafe Goshawk returns from the continent to claim the estate, their meeting sets them on a path of desire and betrayal that threatens to tear both of their worlds apart. Painting a picture of homosexuality in Georgian England, Standish is a love story of how the decisions of two men affect their journeys through Europe and through life.
©2006, 2013 Erastes (P)2015 Erastes
A very interesting book in that it not only provides a compelling romance, but it also provides an interesting, and mostly convincing, exploration of the social conditions of early 19th century Europe. It's a bit like a Jane Austen with Byronic erotica included.
Things get somewhat fantastical and unconvincing with the introduction of a third wheel in the second half of the book, and I found neither of the two MCs particularly attractive. One was too pure and perfect to be human, and lacked any edge. The other was the opposite extreme. The narrator's repertoire of voices were also quite limited and the exaggerated and very girlish voice given to Standish didn't help matters. After all that had happened, I was not convinced about the love between these two by the end, and actually hoped that Standish would end up with another character.
Nonetheless I was taken in by the emotion and interested enough to want to find out how it ended. I would definitely try more work by this author.
The narration is not a particularly poor performance, as such, but rather a poor choice of narrator. Part of my low score is due to that. The narrator is American and almost all of the characters are English. This not his fault, of course, but a very poor editorial decision. When I heard the preview, the accent was an immediate turn off and I only bought this book because it was on special as a whispersync addition. Having been so often disappointed in the past, I would not spend a credit on an American voiced British book again.
Fortunately the narrator does not attempt an English accent, which is always a disaster. I don't think I have heard a convincing one from an American narrator yet. A poor accent is ruinous and destroys the work, so it is better that he didn't try. However, it is annoying as one has to sometimes try and re-imagine the lines being delivered correctly which takes the reader out of the story.
On the other hand, the very frequent mispronunciation of fairly common words became tiresome. It is understandable that English place names, and the English pronunciation of French words like 'valet', are overlooked in favour of the American manner of pronunciation. However to render self-disciplined as 'self disciple ed" and many other such fumbles is inexcusable when there are so many online resources available to check the pronunciation of unfamiliar words. It's very distracting, and I did begin to wonder how someone can go on reading without looking up the words he doesn't understand and why someone would choose this profession if they had no interest in words and reading.Then I would realize that I had missed sections and have to rewind. Very frustrating.
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