The Shooting Season

Narrated by: Gary Furlong
Length: 2 hrs and 54 mins
Categories: Romance, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A brand new historical m/m novella from award-winning author Isobel Starling.

Monday, December 20, 1897. Mr. Benedict Hannan, the owner of Hannan’s Auction House in Fitzrovia, receives a letter inviting him to attend the sale of a private collection of fine art and antiquities belonging to the late Lord Percival Ardmillan. Ardmillan is known to Benedict, or rather, his son Euan is, and so, Benedict hurriedly travels to the West Highlands to fulfill his dream of owning a particular item from the Lord’s collection - something that he has coveted for 30 years.

In Scotland, Benedict meets the collectors who were invited to bid in the auction. He discovers that the auction of the private collection is not as straightforward as he had imagined. Forced to come to terms with his past and present desires, Benedict finds himself in the thrall of a mysterious traveler, and in turn, he gets more than he bargained for this Christmas!

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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Delicious novella

What a lovely story! Benedict Hannan is a buttoned up, aloof gentleman whose only delight in life is collecting valuables and treasures for his auction house, and finding comfort in his religion. He's on his way to Scotland with business in mind, but he can't help but feel trepidation, as he is to meet with his one and only lover, whom he hasn't seen in thirty years, after the beautiful man broke his heart in pieces. Benedict never fully recovered from his heartbreak, and feels tremendously guilty about his "unnatural feelings," and never acts out on his lust and stews in his loneliness, trying to find comfort in his religion. He is a very likable character, with a snarky yet endearingly shy personality, who tries to hide his desires behind the stolid dignity of his fifty years of age. I really enjoyed Benedict, his attempts at being a curmudgeon are stifled by his cute reactions, and I couldn't help but feel sad at his denial and loneliness. There's a little mystery subplot dealing with a very exciting gentleman thief, and Benedict's former lover, and both men may not be all what they seem. The intimate scenes are hot and sensual without overtaking the plot, and though it is a fairly quick read, the novella does an excellent job of developing Benedict's character. There's a happy ending and a promise of a sequel, to which I am looking forward, because this was a delightful story and I really would like to see where the happy couple goes to. Gary Furlong is a masterful performer, I would love to be able to pronounce "anxiety " with as much haughtiness as he does, he really brings a delicious arrogance and cuteness to Benedict, not to mention the playfulness of the gentleman thief. The sensuality of the intimate scenes is always on point, and I just loved the audiobook, it kept me engaged the whole time. Very recommended.

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A great Mystery Suspense

If you have never read (or Listened to) Isobel Starling…You should. The writing is exquisite, the characters compelling and the stories, interesting and twisted.
The Shooting Season was quite a bit different than the Shatterproof Bond series in a way. This was a historical set back when if you were caught in a gay relationship you were imprisoned or killed. It is set in Oscar Wilde’s time and he was cited as an example. Benedict is on his way to a huge private invitation-only auction where he hopes to acquire a special artifact not for his Auction House but for himself. It is a staff rumored to cure any ailment and he hopes to cast away his evil, Impure thoughts. The problem is it is taking him straight into the lion’s den to the home of his first lover Euan Ardmillan, The new owner of the estate.
This is a very short book and it drags you in with its telling and keeps you there with each page turn. Once the twists begin, they get tighter and tighter and more and more. There is a lot in this short of a book.
The narration by Gary Furlong is perfect. His voice for Benedict gives the story the perfect accent for this setting, and also the perfect eerie feeling.
If you love historical MM stories, mystery/suspense, lots of twists, and a short story to fill some time this is for you. I highly recommend the audio since the narration gives it a perfect boost just reading will miss.

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When to risk everything

I used to read m/f historical romances and the ones I enjoyed the most were the ones where the heroes and heroines faced real risk. Interracial romances were amongst my favorites because the stakes were often high. In gay historical romances, the stakes are as high as they can get. Imprisonment, banishment, and even death were considered acceptable punishment for men caught in the act with other men. In this story, Oscar Wilde is never far from mind.

All that being said, there are risks exhibited by the men in this story. The main protagonist, Benedict Hannan, has the most to lose and the most to gain. He’s been summoned to Scotland mere days before Christmas to an estate auction. There he meets a man who, in their formative university days, had been his lover. Benedict has spent the past thirty years suppressing his unnatural urges and in less than a day, Euan Ardmillan has him reconsidering everything in his life. Realizing how lonely he truly is. Seeing that temptations of the flesh are as powerful now as they’ve always been. Euan has been busy the past thirty years – some parts have been happy, some not so much. Now he needs Benedict’s help to recapture some of his youth. His virility.

There is also another man Benedict meets on his journey. A man who also makes Benedict question everything.

I really enjoyed this book. Benedict was a man who generated my sympathies, to be sure. Living repressed for nearly thirty years has been difficult, to say the least. To watch him interacting with other men on the base level of sexual contact was interesting. I wanted more. This book left me wanting more. It does end with ‘to be continued’ and I, for one, will be eagerly awaiting the next story, curious as to where this mystery is going to lead me next.

Gary Furlong narrates all of Ms. Starling’s books and it’s a match made in audio heaven. His performances are always spot on and his talent knows no bounds. This was another great listen and, as I’ve said, I can’t wait for more.

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Fantastic

Benedict Hannon receives a late missive giving him an opportunity to travel to Scotland and bid on items from the late Lord Armillan's collection of fine art and antiquities. Benedict knew Ardmillan's son from University and had been to the house before. He is delighted to be able to hopefully obtain an object he has wanted for 30 years. When he arrives, things are not quite as he imagined. Now he finds himself facing his past and present desires as well as an intriguing stranger who brings him to life.

Benedict started out being quite the prissy one. As we learn about his past, we realize the reason for it. We also find the Euan, the son, is beginning to experience some retribution and wants help from Benedict. Nothing really goes as planned and you cannot help but be delighted as to how all works out. Pick this one up as you will be delighted with Benedict as he tries to resolve his issues.

The narration is amazing and Gary Furlong is now one of my favorite narrators. He can really bring the characters to life.

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Wonderfully narrated, mysterious Historical.

Gary Furlong did it again! I love his historical narrations the bets, I feel like his voice is made for Old England and accent work. He narrated many of Isobel Starling's books and I liked them all!
I loved how the plot had surprises, even for such a short book, and left you wanting more. It reminded me of her Shatterproof Bond series, how each book was closed but still had an open door that needed closing. I am curious for the next story.

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Amazing short listen!

Benedict and Sebastian's story is so beautiful. something about historical romance that just bring a so many emotions to the story. That is why I just absolutely love Gray Furlong doing this narration. He brings the emotions with these characters and I just love it. I am so happy that there is going to be more.

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An engaging historical romance/mystery

I'm glad to hear this will be continued, as it definitely leaves the listener wanting more. This was a solid novella-length tale of intrigue, betrayal, magical phallic artefacts, and discovering and accepting oneself. Expertly performed by Gary Furlong, who is a true accent wizard. My only gripes were a few mispronounced words (notably 'valet' and 'bally') and too much similarity between the voices of Benedict and Sebastian to easily distinguish who was speaking in their conversations. Otherwise, thoroughly engaging and enjoyable.

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Listened and automatically listening again!

This is a fabulous beginning to a new series for Isobel Starling and the narration as always by Gary Furlong is superb! He does so many accents and they all are on point. What seems straight forward is not and that makes this story all the more interesting and thus why I am listening to it a second time immediately after finishing it. I can see a great series ahead of us with the characters of Benedict and Sebastian. I had to remind myself from time to time on the first listen of the time period and the consequences for homosexual behavior in this era. I just needed to be reminded of Oscar Wilde. Highly recommend this story.

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Good story

I listen to audiobooks in my car and I really enjoyed listening to this story. The story was good and I liked the narrator's voice. The story is not a long one but it kept me interested.

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A Great Introduction

I enjoyed this introduction to auction-house owner Benedict Hannan. Is Sebastian the man who can burrow under Benedict's layers of sexual repression and self-denial? Since there was a 'To Be Continued' at the end of the story, I'm anticipating more adventures for Benedict and Sebastian from author Isobel Starling.

This novella length story will not leave you hanging; it is complete, but it will make you want to continue to the next chapter in Benedict and Sebastian's tale. It is a well-written story with great details to establish the setting and characters and a wonderful first person POV.

Gary Furlong's narration is excellent. His reading has emotion and each character is distinct. His interpretation of Benedict is superb.

This audiobook was provided to me, as a review copy, at my request. This is my voluntary review.

Highly recommended.

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  • Ella Mime
  • 02-22-20

A Wonderful Surprise!

I will admit that I'm not usually a fan of historical novels, but, being a fan of this author and narrator, I decided that I'd give the story a chance and I wasn't disappointed :). For such a short tale, there's plenty of plot and the characters are well-developed. I'm looking forward to the next book, especially with how Benedict and Sebastian's relationship develops.

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  • AliE
  • 12-20-19

Something different

I absolutely loved both the story and the narration. Told solely from the point of view of a rather proper Benedict, I love how Gary Furlong brings him to life, yet never misses an opportunity to be creative with the secondary characters. I particularly enjoyed the many voices of Sebastian. I can't wait to hear more of his work.

The author captured the late 19th century excellently and this is indicative of thorough research. I certainly learnt several new things and will never look at plums the same way again! I like how Benedict is a more mature man of 50 (at a time when this might have been considered old). I definitely want to see him to continue to blossom after being so set in his way for 30 years. I hope that Sebastian is a large part of his rebirth.

Looking forward to the next in the series.

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  • Mary
  • 12-11-19

Audio perfection

Wonderful writing, wonderful narration. If you love mm romance you cannot go wrong with an audiobook by Starling and Furlong!