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Apple Boy

The Quiet Work, Book 1
Narrated by: Gary Furlong
Length: 9 hrs and 43 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

Regular price: $19.95

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Publisher's Summary

A new LGBT fantasy series from award-winning author Isobel Starling 

A lost lordling, a farm boy, and a tale of mystery, magic, and murder!

After a traumatic event, Winter Aeling finds himself destitute and penniless in the backwater town of Mallowick. He needs to travel to the city of Serein and impart grave news that will bring war to the Empire, but without a horse, money, and with not a soul willing to help him, he has no choice but to line up with the common folk seeking paid work on the harvest. 

As wagons roll into the market square and farmers choose day laborers, Winter is singled out for abuse by a brute of a farmer. The only man who stands up for him is the farmer's beguiling son, Adam, and on locking eyes with the swarthy young man Winter feels the immediate spark of attraction. 

Winter soon realizes there is a reason he has been drawn to Blackdown Farm. The farmer possesses a precious item that was stolen long ago from Winter’s family, and he determines to retrieve it. He also cannot take his eyes off Adam, and as the young man opens up Winter can’t help wondering if Adam is just kind or his kind! 

FYI - Apple Boy has an M/M couple, graphic gay sexual activity, and a cliffhanger ending.

*The next book in the series, Dark Harvest (The Quiet Work, Book 2), is coming soon!*

©2019 Isobel Starling (P)2019 Decent Fellows Press and Isobel Starling

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kd
  • CLINTON, MS, United States
  • 05-19-19

Romance is secondary

The romance is secondary. The story focuses more on historical and political intrigue in a past imaginary place where magic exists. Thus, the sex scenes were perfunctory and very very late into the story. As a result, the relationship is slowly built, though the attraction was immediate. The story occurs in a past imaginary place, so M/M love is accepted and recognized as normal in some places but also dangerous in others.
Adam was new to sex, so Winter acted as teacher to Adam regarding sexual matters.
There are about 2 sex scenes—1 scene without intercourse and, shortly before the book ends, their love is consummated through intercourse.
Use of phrases like "He's my boy (aka boyfriend)" and "He likes boys" was a bit disconcerting, though there's no indication of wrongdoing.
On the positive, it was interesting learning where the book title came from. And the writing is good if you're just looking for a story of magic and intrigue.
The narration was exceptional and was what kept me interested, which was still, sadly, tasking. The story is continued with a mild cliffhanger related to the intrigue.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

NOT WORTH THE MONEY OR THE TIME!!!

I sent this one back! This is one of those stories that lacks integrity. While the premises and characters are good the author dumps you off with absolutely no resolution to any of the plots . There may be resolution coming in a future volume but you shouldn't expect that the author is capable of that much honesty.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing!! A must read for fantasy romance lovers!

Wow! Just wow! If you’re on the mood for a beautifully written fantasy novel with fantastic world building (seriously, she’s got maps and the whole world and landscape completely figured out), great characters, some intrigue and escalating plot, you’ve got to try this book out!

I listened to the audiobook of this and was just blown away by Gary Furlong, his accents and narrative style was just excellent. There was a scene with 10 people in it, and I knew who was talking when. Great job!

And I loved Winter and Adam! From their beginning, the chemistry between these two was great, with Winter introducing Adam to all the wonderful things they can do together and discovering their connection. I loved when it was all revealed at the end!

Can’t wait for more of this world and what will happen next! Although this ends in a good place for Adam and Winter, it’s still an unfinished ending with the next story continuing the overall plot.

Highly, highly recommended for fantasy lovers!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Quite interesting and entertaining

First off, let me just say how colorful and enjoyable the characters in this book are. The narrator is awesome and I was very entertained by his performance.

The plot is interesting but the story moved a bit slowly in the beginning and I was a little ready to say I'm done. However, the author took the time to build a very interesting world and the characters are well developed. I can appreciate that. Not normally a fan of drawn out beginnings but I was pleasantly surprised and so glad I hung in there.

This is a slow to medium burn M/M romance but I kind of enjoyed the two main characters attraction to each other. It seems like a good start to a new series.

There is so much more I could say but I really am trying to stop giving spoilers in my reviews. I just say read it and see for yourself. You will be entertained. I guarantee it.

I look forward to the next book in the series.

This book was given to me by request for my unbiased review.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it

I enjoyed this story full of magic, love and mystery. I love books with magic powers, priceless gem stones, spells and mystery. This book had all of these and more; adorable farmer boy, lord Winter and fantastic adventure with danger everywhere. Narrator did an excellent job with voices and accents and emotions. This was a perfect listening experience. I can't wait for the next book. I recommend this book for readers who enjoy a fantasy, magic and mystery with their romance.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastical adventure with a love story

I have always expressed great admiration for authors who write about worlds other than the one we currently inhabit. The level of creativity involves is, at times, staggering. World building, when done well, can be mind-blowing. What I love about Isobel Starling’s world in ‘Apple Boy’ is that there are so many elements of the known world and yet the fantasy aspects are so natural that they make the whole book feel like it is entirely plausible.

This books takes place in the past – a time when there were carriages, valets, and great stone castles. Not that those things don’t exist today, but they were, at one time, part of the landscape. A simpler time, if you will. But the social structure isn’t much different than it is today – the royals, the aristocracy, the gentry and the poor. In this world, one cannot simply rise about one’s station. Much as today, I would say.

Winter Aeling is a man who hasn’t had a lot of luck lately. He is about to hit his twenty-first birthday and instead of a party in the court, he requested an opportunity to visit all the principalities in the land. Endlessly curious, he wanted to see all the parts of the country that he’s heard about but never seen. His journey to various parts of the land should have been straightforward but an unfortunate series events left him destitute and at the mercy of a nasty farmer. Things only take a turn for the better when Winter is able to reclaim part of his birthright. He steals away in the night with the precious jewel and the farmer’s son.

Adam is an Apple Boy, both because of his lineage as a farmer’s son and because his perceived difference from the other people around the farm and in the village. He’s always known he was different but only when he steals away with Winter does he see the chance to live the life he’s always dreamed. Their journey to the city where Winter will be able to reclaim his life is challenging and there are more than a few adventures along the way. Winter, although very entitled, can adapt and is willing to share his knowledge with Adam. He trusts Adam, even taking the man under his wing, so to speak. Even though Adam is the older of the two, Winter is far more experienced in the way of the world and they ways between two men.

There is a lot of royal and political intrigue in this story and I might not have been able to follow every little detail, but that didn’t matter because the story pulled me through. I was fascinated by how characters interacted and how devious they could be. I worried when Winter was back among his kind he might revert to a haughtier version of himself, but Adam helped keep him grounded. There were also some interesting subplots and I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

I must give a shout-out to Gary Furlong. I recently listened to him narrate a book set in New York City and I believed he was American. Listening to this story, I’d swear he was British. Not only was his accent spot-on, but he was seamlessly able to go between the upper-class aristocracy and the lower class labourers. His narration carried me through the story and help me firmly captive. This is a longer book but between Gary’s narration and Ms. Starling’s world building, the time flew by. As I said, I can’t wait for the next book in the series. Finally, although the book ends on a cliffhanger, I was very satisfied that I got my HEA, HFN, or whatever you want to call it. Winter and Adam are together. The rest is just what will keep me glued to my seat and impatiently awaiting the next instalment.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Incredible, enchanting, entertaining!

I can not say how much I loved this audiobook! I have not listened to such a creative, warm, mysterious, magical story in a long time. I loved the adventure and the way Win and Adam seemed made for each other, even before any connection was made. The author's descriptions are detailed and made me feel like I was in the story with the characters. Alternately serious, sad, and downright funny, this book is unique and enchanting. It's also sexy as he**! I absolutely loved it, and I hope the next book comes soon, because I want to know more of what happens to Win and Adam.

The narration by Gary Furlong is wonderful! It absolutely drew me into the story and kept me spellbound until the end. Now I want more, more, more. His tone and delivery were so relaxed and casual and natural. It felt like he was relating a story he had experienced himself and knew well. Perfect!

I received a free copy of this audiobook at my request, and this is my honest, voluntary review. If you like magical fantasy, adventure, and romance, you don't want to miss this audiobook! .

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Love it!

When I read this story I just loved it. The world that Adam and Winter live in is just amazingly created . This story is just amazing. Then with Gary Furlong bring this world to life just makes it even better. I can't get over how amazing this whole thing is. I can't wait for more!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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What an amazing story of courage, firsts and love.

WHY!!!!!!!!!! Does this end with a cliffhanger????

The fantasy world created around Winter and Adam is beautiful, magical and at times challenging, but together they learn not only to trust one another but to love as well. This is told from Winters point of view.

This story grabbed my attention from the start and took me on an amazing ride. I loved ALL the characters.

Garry Furlong did an amazing job!!! What a voice. He really helped to bring the characters to life. He’s easy to understand and his reading flows smoothly.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I simply love it

This is a romance, but it's also a growing journey. For Winter is about to learn about living without the privilege he was so used to that he wasn't even aware of it. Until he lost everything and had to find, the hard way, how cushioned he was all his life. And for Adam, it's simply learning to be himself without the bullying presence of his father.

I enjoyed so much the world the author created, the adventures and the fantastically woven plot. The story is complex, but not difficult to follow, the romance is slow and beautiful, and I was hooked from the first chapter. I listen to it in one go, I simply couldn't stop.

I'm so glad there is more coming, I can't wait to know what is waiting for our heroes, although it seems that the next book will be about the characters that we meet at the end of this one. I'm still game :P

Gary Furlong's narration was fantastic, as always.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Emma Burbidge
  • 05-20-19

Sweet apples? Fruitilicious magic

Gary Furlong is a new to me narrator and Isobel Starling is a new to me author, but I thought that Gary does a wonderful job of capturing the smooth, cultured voice of the lost lordling Winter Aeling, the broader coarser tones of Apple Boy Adam, and his brute of a father the farmer of Blackdown Farm, as well as a myriad of voices for various secondary characters.
Isobel crafts a beguiling tale of Winter who has encountered misfortune in his travels, but who sees Adam's worth as soon as they meet. I loved taking the journey with them as they start to fall for each other, make their escape from under the brutish thumb of Adam's father, find their way to Saerin and the magic that comes to surround and live within them along the way.
A magical encounter...highly recommended. I look forward to see what happens next for them as they come into their own.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • KR Phoenix
  • 05-20-19

So good!

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 5 stars
🔥🔥🔥 Heat Level: 3.5
🎧🎧🎧🎧🎧 Narration: 5

So good!

This story is a mysterious adventure into a new world of magic, mages, mysteries, and murder. It has a unique historical undertone that makes it that much more enjoyable as you follow Winter and Adam, as they discover the truth of the world they live in and the special connection they share.

The book does end on a cliffhanger that’ll leave you dying for more but the story itself is a thrilling adventure I couldn’t put down!! I loved the attention to detail, here and there and the world Isobel has created is incredible. I love a good mystery and this has that in the bag! I look forward to the next book and can’t wait to see were Isobel will take us next!

I thought the connection between Winter and Adam was wonderful. They are drawn together and while there are situations beyond their control I found their connection very organic and their chemistry electric. I love the historical undertones were some town forbid Winter and Adam’s connection and that adds to the thriller and mystery of their bond and the magic they spark together.

A great creation by Isobel and I highly recommend giving it a listen. Gary does a fantastic job, gives each character a voice and draws you into the mystery and adventure! 5 stars from me!!!

Thanks for reading!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Celpompom
  • 05-17-19

amazing new world

this book was quite amazing. The world building was very very interesting and the story compelling.
I loved Win and Adam. They were so different, but so similar in the ways that count. I love how the story gets deeper and darkens as we go and follow them on their journey.

I loved how they grew with each other.

I really loved the narration, Gary Furlong was able to make such great and different voices. Very good as well.

Looking forward to the next book

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Headinabook
  • 05-17-19

Good story

This is set in a rich world, that is very cleverly done with and it is a complicated, overarching storyline that takes place over three books.
Book one is all about Winter and Adam, it is full of mystery and magic.
I haven’t read the book but I will do now and have Gary Furlong’s dulcet tones in my ear. Ends with a slight cliffhanger so I am now looking forward to book 2.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Pixiebell
  • 05-09-19

Enjoyable fantasy/fairy tale

Enter a beautifully crafted fantasy where a down on his luck young aristocrat called Winter Aeling (Win) meets up with Adam, a handsome farmers son, who helps him in his time of need and joins him on his adventure.
Isobel Starling has really impressed me with her impressive world building, attention to detail, well developed characters and exciting plot.
There are bad guys, one being a nasty cruel farmer (Adams father), magic, talking parrots and of course love ❤️ what more could you ask for?
Gary Furlong did and exceptional job narrating and his upper class English accent for Win was the best I have ever heard in an audiobook. I'm English by the way 😉

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mary
  • 04-26-19

Starling and Furlong make audio magic!

Whenever I see a title by Isobel Starling that is narrated by Gary Furlong its a one-click, must-buy. I really love Ms Starlings writing, but when paired with the seemingly never-ending range of accents Gary Furlong does flawlessly, magic is created.

Apple Boy sees a young lord who has mysteriously fallen on bad luck coupled with a kind, yet naive farm boy on a journey to the main city of a province called Erias. Win, the lordling, is mixed up in political machinations he doesn't understand which put his-and his companions life in danger.

I love fantasy books but find that mainstream fantasy doesn't include lgbt characters, or if they do, the character has the worst luck then dies. Apple Boy reads-sounds like mainstream fantasy and yet the mc's are gay. it is a refreshing change. The story arc is strong and the writing, beautifully descriptive. Gary Furlong's soft posh accent for Win is balanced by his Irish brogue for Adam and a whole host of colourful characters. Listening to this audiobook really was like listening to a movie.

There is a cliffhanger ending of sorts but don't let that stop you from enjoying the ride.
Highly recommended