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Eighteen–year-old Jonathan Moore works as a garden hand on a lord’s estate in Victorian England. On a festive servants’ day off, he visits the Christmas fair, hoping to fulfill his childhood dream of riding the carousel. The trip turns out unexpectedly when he catches the eye of impudent footman Francis Johnson. Despite Jonathan’s reservations, the flirtatious Francis doesn’t give up, and after some hesitation, they share a ride on the glittering carousel. Before they say good-bye, Francis asks to meet again, and with a quickening heartbeat, Jonathan agrees.
Rarely having a day off from their duties, their yearning for one another cannot be quenched, while Jonathan’s fear of heartbreak makes him uncertain whether Francis is the right man for him. Meanwhile, Francis does everything in his power to make a next date happen. Will Jonathan’s naïve heart give in to the temptation of the seductive footman.
There was an innocent kind of love here, when young Jonathan Moore met the slightly rude and arrogant Francis Johnson. I liked how Jonathan contemplated his growing feelings for the older footman (Francis was 25, Jonathan was 18) – considering the era that the story was set, he was going back and forth from feeling guilty, weary, but then later, bravely embraced the unknown of being with a man.
I liked the idea of them disguising their potential connection to one another, seeking the reason for them to meet. Although at the same time I felt kinda sad that the two men should go to such distance to weave a tale just to see one another. The ‘resolution’ for their situation was believable, quite believable.
Considering that this a novella, there were times when the story felt rather fast-forwarded, especially since Jonathan and Francis lived in separate areas, and they couldn’t meet every day. So one scene it was the Christmas Fair, and a few scenes later it was already after New Years when Jonathan managed to find time to meet Francis. For some readers it might be annoying, but for me, it was a logical way of telling their story. Or else you might be ‘burdened’ with reading Jonathan’s day-to-day activities without Francis in sight.
Unfortunately, as lovely as the story was, I had a bit of a bump with the writing style. It is similar to what I feel when I’m reading a fairy tale – a real fairy tale, not the MM or MF romance kind – like there is a distance between myself and the story / characters. I ‘read’ their story but am not truly ‘immersed’ in the story, you know? Am I making sense? Well, that was how I felt throughout … It might be my issue only, something with the chemistry between myself and the writing, so you need to make your own judgment on that.
Oh, for smut lovers, sorry, there weren’t any sex scenes here. Not one. It was a clean read. So you definitely need to satisfy your smut appetite elsewhere