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Trilogy No. 111: Speak Its Name [Paperback]

Charlie Cochrane , Lee Rowan , Erastes
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Paperback, 26 Jun 2008 --  

Book Description

26 Jun 2008 Trilogy

Expectations riding on a generation of young Englishmen are immense; for those who’ve something to hide, those expectations could prove overwhelming.

When shy Edward Easterby first sees the popular Hugo Lamont, he’s both envious of the man’s social skills and ashamed of finding him so attractive. But two awful secrets weigh Lamont down. One is that he fancies Easterby, at a time when the expression of such desires is strictly illegal. The second is that an earlier, disastrous encounter with a young gigolo has left him unwilling to enter into a relationship with anyone. Hugo feels torn apart by the conflict between what he wants and what he feels is “right”. Will Edward find that time and patience are enough to change Hugo’s mind?

Gentleman’s Gentleman
Lord Robert Scoville has lived in a reasonably comfortable Victorian closet, without hope of real love, or any notion that it’s right there in front of him if he would only open his eyes and take notice of his right-hand man, Jack Darling. Jack has done his best to be satisfied with the lesser intimacy of caring for the man he loves, but his feigned role as a below-stairs ladies’ man leaves his heart empty. When a simple diplomatic errand turns dangerous and a man from their past raises unanswerable questions, both men find themselves endangered by the secrets between them. Can they untangle the web of misunderstanding before an unknown attacker parts them forever?

Hard and Fast:
Major Geoffrey Chaloner has returned, relatively unscathed, from the Napoleonic War, and England is at peace for the first time in years. Unable to set up his own establishment, he is forced to live with his irascible father who has very clear views on just about everything—including exactly whom Geoffrey will marry and why. The trouble is that Geoffrey isn’t particularly keen on the idea, and even less so when he meets Adam Heyward, the enigmatic cousin of the lady his father has picked out for him... As Geoffrey says himself: “I have never been taught what I should do if I fell in love with someone of a sex that was not, as I expected it would be, opposite to my own.”

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Product details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Linden Bay Romance (26 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602021244
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602021242
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.6 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,634,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Two stories so-so, one brilliant 18 April 2009
By Alex
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This volume brings together three very different writers with three very different stories.

'Aftermath' is a tender budding romance between a shy guy and the 'jock' for want of a better word. The two characters declare their feeling a lot, and personally I found that fairly tedious, so I was leafing through that story looking for something to happen. Unless I missed it, it didn't, so I was quite relieved when the story was done. It had some good ideas and some fair writing in there, but it didn't really grab me.

'Gentleman's Gentleman' has the somewhat unfortunately named Lord Robert Scoville (hearkening back to the Scoville scale that measures the spicyness of food) and his personal servant fall in love during an espionage mission. The two storylines - the love story and the espionage - need a long time to get going, and it felt a bit like the author couldn't make up her or his mind as to where the story should go. The story found its rhythm after about halfway through, and then I enjoyed it, for the most part, if not for some bits I found quite a bit more 'soppy' than I strictly liked.

'Hard and Fast' is the true gem in the collection. Told by Major Geoffrey Chaloner, it is a very convincing, atmospheric regency tale of a man's sexual awakening. The fact that he is awakened by the cousin of the wife that he is dutybound to woo creates a nice quandary that the author explores with great knowledge of the time and great writing that is guaranteed to suck you into the story and not let you go until you've reached the final page.

For me, the short story collection was a very mixed bag, but the last story by Erastes made it well worth buying.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.9 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Speak Its Name by Charlie Cochrane, Lee Rowan & Erastes 30 Jun 2008
By Elisa - Published on
Three historical novella setting in three different moment of English history. There is a strange parallelism, from the first story by Cochrane, passing through Rowan's ones, till Erastes', the time goes back and the sensuality rate goes up.

Aftermath: Edward and Hugo are two young students at Oxford. The time is soon after the end of the WWI and England, and the little world of Oxford in particular, seems to not have fully recovered yet from the war. Edward is from a wealthy family, but he is not a nobleman. Money allows him to enter the college, an unthinkable event before the war, but now, the lack of youth and probably the times changing, set him among the few remaining sons of English aristocracy. But Edward is a shy and naivee man, innocent of life and experiences. He feels like an intruder among the others, more when he is near Hugo, the perfect epitome of a nobleman. Hugo is popular and loved, always among the right circle, always behaving in the right way. Nothing seems to link them if not something that no one of them has the courage to reveal: they are attracted to men, and in this moment they are attracted to each other. But where Edward has never experienced love, nor with women or men, and so he sees at it with wide and eager eyes, Hugo has had a disastrous experience that left him with a bitter taste in mouth and a disenchanted perspective.

Charlie Cochrane wrote a very tender and sweet novella. It reminds me a lot two of my favourite movies (and one of my favourite book): Chariots of Fire for the setting and Maurice (both movie and book) for the characters. Also like in Maurice there is the dilemma of one of the two characters if loving another man could be only limited to a spiritual sharing of minds, quite the idea that sex will taint a pure love, almost the feeling that for a noble soul, sex is something dirty. But when there is love, true love, can two lovers nurturing themself only with a sharing of minds and not of bodies?

Gentleman's Gentleman: Lord Robert is a Victorian nobleman, content with his ordinary life. He has served as Major and he still complies his duty for the Queen, here and there. And he has two sisters that kindly gave birth to more possible heirs to the title. So he is free to live as he likes, and he likes to be a bachelor and to be pampered by his man, Jack Darling. Former sergeant at Robert's command, Jack chose to leave the army with Lord Robert and now he is the perfect... wife. Yes, cause all he does for Robert is what a very good wife would do: attending to the house and to the master of the house as well. Only in one thing Jack is not like a wife: he doesn't share his master's bed. And not because Robert would not be interested, au contraire, Robert inside the private walls of his house makes not secret to prefer a male companionship. But not one time he proposes Jack and not one time Jack seemed interested in taking also that position. But not always what it seems is what it is.

Lee Rowan's novella has a lighter tone in comparison to the other two. Nor Robert or Jack have guilty feelings for what they are or what they feel. Obviously they are not open and careless with their inclinations. Probably their attitude and their apparently inability to share their feelings is due to their military extraction: men of actions more than of words. But when they arrive to the decision point, they are ready and willing to take the right decision, without regrets.

Hard and Fast:: Geoffrey is the third child of a wealthy family. Former Major, soon after the Napoleonic War, being in health and without apparently problems, he is expected to marry. The chosen bride, chosen by his father, not by him, is Miss Pelham, a rather shy but not unpleasant young girl. Unfortunately Geoffrey seems more drawn to Miss Pelham's cousin, Adam, a mourning young man. Geoffrey is not used to the feelings he has, not since they are toward a man, but since they are love feelings: he is not used to love. And discovering that his interest is awakened by a man and not by a woman is unsettling. Plus he doesn't understand Adam, who at once seems to draw him nearer and soon after to drive back him both from his cousin than from himself.

The most tormented between the three novella and yet the most sensual, it's also the one with the most unpredictable end. Erastes plays with the classical romance elements, the mother in search of a suitable husband for her almost spinster daughter, the unrepentant rake (even if it's a second line character without own scenes), the mourning but handsome gentleman, with a secret and unspeakable past, the former officer with a dislike for the social events... but then he turns the tables and the couples are not what you will expect, not at all, and not in the end... It's like a Georgette Heyer's novel (more since the Bath setting), where the main hero at once, decides to ravish not the virgin maid, but the debauched cousin! And the "breeches rippers" tag in this case is very worthy: indeed there are a pair of breeches which are ripped and in a scene that would be very right in a savage romance of the '70, even if the attacker is more the man with the breeches ripped than the man who rips them.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Speak Its Name - A Wonderful Historical Trilogy 16 Nov 2008
By Jessewave - Published on
AFTERMATH (1920's Oxford) by Charlie Cochrane

When shy Edward Easterby first sees the popular Hugo Lamont, he's both envious of the man's social skills and ashamed of finding him so attractive.

Edward is a very shy young man who is miserable in his first year at university and he would do anything to switch places with the popular Hugo who seems to tower above him. Their first meeting is disastrous and does not augur well for any future friendship let alone an intimate relationship.

This turns out to be a tender story about two young men just finding their way who are uncertain about their feelings for someone of the same sex and concerned about how any expression of these feelings could impact their future. There is quite a bit of angst as they seem to go over the same ground amidst the tea and crumpets and a bit of cricket but they eventually figure out that "To thine own self be true" is more than just a platitude. Although there wasn't much sex in this tale I found it quite entertaining.

GENTLEMAN'S GENTLEMAN (Victorian) by Lee Rowan

Lord Robert Scoville has lived in a reasonably comfortable Victorian closet, without hope of real love, or any notion that it's right there in front of him if he would only open his eyes and take notice of his right-hand man, Jack Darling. Jack has done his best to be satisfied with the lesser intimacy of caring for the man he loves, but his feigned role as a below-stairs ladies' man leaves his heart empty.

This is such a beautifully told story. The level of detail in the background was so well done I felt that I lived it. The intrigue and espionage in the plot and pace of the action built up my anticipation for what would surely come next.

The main difference between a contemporary and historical story is, I believe, the ability of the historical writer to immerse the reader in a world that is purely imaginary but described in such loving detail that you feel you're actually living in the period and Lee Rowan does this very successfully in Gentleman's Gentleman. The characterizations are bang on from Jack and his Robert to the smaller role occupied by Captain Cecil McDonald; they were all well drawn for such a short story. The dialogue was so full of euphemisms that I laughed out loud on occasion - very upper class English society. The hint of espionage and criminal wrongdoings add spice to the story and help to throw Jack and Robert together. Imagine living together for 10 years in close quarters with no moves by either one to test the waters!

HARD AND FAST (Regency) by Erastes

Major Geoffrey Chaloner, recently returned from the Napoleonic war is the impoverished third son of a wealthy father who wants to improve his own social status by marrying Geoffrey off to a young lady, The Honourable Emily Pelham who is from a very noble family that could use a bit of cash. However, standing in the way of this very suitable match is the fact that the potential groom is not the slightest bit interested in marriage and is much more attracted to Emily's cousin, Adam Heyward.

Geoffrey's character is big and muscular and he struggles with his feelings for Adam who is physically the weaker of the two, partially crippled by a club foot, but who is the stronger one in the relationship and is more experienced in the ways of the world. Adam makes life extremely difficult for Geoffrey by questioning his motives for wanting to marry his cousin. The two men are driven by an emotion neither has felt before and they become more and more involved with no way out until a solution is provided from a completely unexpected source.

I was entranced by the passion between Geoffrey and Adam and the shifts in power between them as their very short dalliance progressed. I thought that this was by far the most sensuous of the three novellas and Erastes certainly knows how to keep the reader's interest at peak level throughout the story. I was totally engaged until the very last page.

SPEAK ITS NAME: Trilogy No. III is a wonderful anthology as it covers three different historical periods which added to the appeal of the stories and characters. This book was a delight and it was easy to immerse myself in the prose and characters as well as the leisurely pace. In my opinion this book is a credit to its genre and I highly recommend it as one that readers would definitely want to have on their bookshelves.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent gay historical romances! 18 Feb 2009
By R.Parklane - Published on
OK the only regret I have is not to have read this earlier. I do not have any favorite as I enjoy all 3 historical romances here.

Aftermath is sweet and tender about newly awaken young gay love between 2 English Oxford students. No explicit sex but this tender story does not need it as the reader just want these 2 young men to come together and somehow stay together for life. The English Oxford university setting is lovely as only Charlie Cochrane could write it. Edward and Hugo are very likable, more so Edward the innocent one and yet the more fearless of the two when it comes to his heart desire. Yes "to thine ownself be true".

Lee Rowen never disappoints. Gentleman's gentleman is pure delight as we follow the romance of an English Lord and his man-servant. An outstanding plot here as mystery, intrigues and espionage is mixed into this forbidden romance in the stiff English upper class society. Both Lord Robert Scoville and his faithful Jack Darling (sargeon-cum-butler-cum-valet-cum-bodyguard-cum-secretary) are very well developed and appealing characters. Men in total control of their own destinies in the era they live in, nothing is too difficult for them to overcome in love or in life. The last part is really funny. I would love to read more of these 2 delighful characters.

Finally Hard & Fast by Erastes. I have to say I was afraid this would turn up to be in the same tone as Standish. Fortunately not so as this regency romance gives us an unexpected but very satisfying ending despite the odds. This is the more sombre of the 3 stories and as previous reviewers have noted the most sensual and enticing. I was not to sympathetic with Major Geoffrey Chaloner's character as I expect him to have more back bones. But I really love Adam Heyward's character. A young man stiken with a club foot, it must have been terribly hard for him in a world where men like him is most likely viewed with pity even contempt. Yet this young man somehow manages to laugh at himself and the world. And he wants the hunk Geoffrey Chaloner. The close relationship between Adam and his cousin Emily is touching as these 2 young people look out for each other. I enjoy the story which is quality writing with its rich setting but I could not help but feel that Geoffrey got more than he truly deserves. Hopefully he values what he has been given.

Gay historical romance is so rare compared to the contemporary ones and very glad to have this collection which is definitely a keeper. No doubt about getting the print version for this one too.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful 26 Aug 2008
By CJC - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was excellent. I opened it and didn't put it down till it was finished. All three stories were very different, but shared a common theme of true love. They weren't overdone or predictable, and I loved how the characters fell in love; the journeys of each couple were so well written. If your looking for beautiful historical romances between men, this is your book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One to treasure 13 July 2008
By Alex Beecroft - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It won't be any secret that I'm a fan of both Erastes and Lee Rowan, so I've been looking forward to this trilogy ever since I first heard that it was on the books. That's an uncomfortable position to be in, or at least it is for me, because I'm always afraid that if I look forward to something too much, it will end up being a disappointment.

So colour me very happy indeed that this was nothing of the sort. All three stories are carefully observed, beautifully written and emotionally very engaging. All three also share an emphasis on romance, on following the burgeoning relationships of their protagonists through discovery, doubt, problems, conflicts external and internal, towards an eventual satisfying resolution.

Of the three, Aftermath is probably the one I liked least. I loved the setting! Who could not love flannel-trousered beautiful young men at university, strolling across the green lawns, talking about the meaning of life, while slowly, deliciously falling in love? My main problem was the structure. A flashback at the beginning left me wondering whether now was now or then was now or.... I got a bit chronologically confused as to when the shoes incident was happening. Reading back a second time I realised that that was the dramatic first meeting of the two heroes, but the impact was lost on me at the time.

Having said that, though, when I got my bearings, I became thoroughly invested in hoping that these two highly principled young things would throw their principles to the wind and settle down to making each other happy. Much praise to the author - whose first professional story this is - for making that happy ending so very much desired while also showing how unlikely, even impossible, it could seem. You can see both young men growing up even in so short a space.

Gentleman's Gentleman by Lee Rowan is a delight from start to finish. It felt a little like watching an episode of the Lord Peter Whimsey detective stories, if Lord Peter had been secretly in love with his manservant instead of with Harriet Vane. I don't mean that in any kind of derivative way, but more to illustrate the feeling of place, from the battlefield to the first class carriage of a train racing across Europe, to the final meeting with the spy in the hotel in Vienna. And yes, there was a spy too, and a snuff box full of cocaine, and secret plans that had to be retrieved and taken to the Embassy before the Germans got their hands on them... In short, it was an exciting read just at the level of an adventure story. But add on top of that the wonderful familiar-but-repressed relationship of Lord Robert and his manservant, the conveniently named `Darling' (Jack Darling), and there's a whole new world of entertainment.

I loved the many convincing reasons why neither man had acted on his attraction so far, and the equally convincing way that the story unravelled every objection, from Robert's principles to Jack's reputation as a ladies' man. It's obvious that both characters are already comfortable and well suited to each other - and I liked both of them very much - so the final coming together is a coming home for both of them. Beautifully done and very touching. And a big thumbs up for the excuse they came up with to tell Lord Robert's matchmaking mama!

Hard and Fast by Erastes is also a story in which matchmaking family members have a big impact. In this case it's Geoffrey Chaloner's father who wants him to get married to Emily Pelham, despite the fact that Geoffrey himself is fascinated by Emily's cousin, Adam Heyward.

Normally I'm not a fan of stories told in the first person, but this is just lovely! Geoffrey's `voice' is delightfully in character for a man of his times, but he still comes across as very much of an individual. A rather lovable, bemused, good humoured, chivalrous, but none too bright an individual. Adam too immediately leaps off the page as a fully rounded person; clever, cynical, defensive. And it's a treat to find that Geoffrey's father, Emily Pelham and Lady Pelham are well drawn, likable characters too.

This is another story where I was able to really luxuriate in the sense of place - the settings were so beautifully detailed and real. The writing managed to be lush but powerful at the same time. I did really enjoy the fact that Geoffrey, who is all kitted out to be the `alpha male' of this relationship - he's big, powerful, a trained soldier, and literally at one stage so moved by passion as to sweep Adam off his feet - is also such an innocent. Adam, the physically frail, slight, non-combatant is three steps ahead of poor dim Geoff at every stage. And speaking of sweeping off the feet, the passion between the two leads is breathtaking.

With three very high quality stories, I thoroughly recommend this book. It left me with a smile on my face that hasn't worn off a week later. One to treasure, I think :)

Review by Alex Beecroft, author of Captain's Surrender
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