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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly good
When I was in fandom there were certain writers who had the capacity to make me want to smash my keyboard into tiny pieces and not write again. When I finished Alex Beecroft?s new book, False Colors, I had that feeling this morning.

There are a very few books on my list of ?essential reads? for anyone interested in Gay Historical Fiction. The Charioteer, At...
Published on 1 Jun 2009 by Erastes

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars False Colours
A good read - if not somewhat predictable in places. I much preferred the character of the blond man, found the other one a bit 'stuck up'.
Published on 5 Jan 2010 by david audit


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly good, 1 Jun 2009
By 
Erastes (Norfolk, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: False Colors: An M/M Romance (Paperback)
When I was in fandom there were certain writers who had the capacity to make me want to smash my keyboard into tiny pieces and not write again. When I finished Alex Beecroft?s new book, False Colors, I had that feeling this morning.

There are a very few books on my list of ?essential reads? for anyone interested in Gay Historical Fiction. The Charioteer, At Swim Two Boys, As Meat Loves Salt and now False Colors.

Yes, it?s that good. If you are interested in the genre at all, or are planning to write the genre in future I hold up False Colors and say ?this is how it should be done.?

To say that FC isn?t a romance would be doing it an injustice because it is?in the modern and the old-fashioned sense of the word. But Beecroft takes that mixes it up with adventure to die for (literally) moral dilemmas popping up like mushrooms, earthy realistic 18th century figures and heart stopping action?and of course romance.

At the core it?s about two young men who struggle with their places in life and have to weigh up those places, and their reputations- and ruin thereof-against their duty. Many authors would take a book about gay sailors and have most of it having the protagonists either shagging like bunnies or leaning attractively on the quarter-deck pining for the colour of his love?s eyes but Beecroft knows the navy and the men within. She knows despite how much tumescence is going on in the fine linen of a sailor?s drawers sailors need to work the ship, take watches, men need to be fed, watered, entertained, repel boarders, fight the enemy. If they tend to forget their lover?s fine eyes while they are fighting for their lives, one has to forgive them.? This is after all a historical novel and quite aside from the wonderful story of John and Alfie, it is a a book that reeks of the sea ? and one that would grace any naval enthusiast?s shelves.

Ms Beecroft, as anyone who has read Captain?s Surrender will know, does not shy from the realism of her chosen era. The bodycount in this book could rival any Hollywood blockbuster and she doesn?t spare the reader the details of the horrors that life in His Majesty?s navy can bring, not in sight or sound or taste or smell. Scurvy and yellowjack, torture and shipwreck, the details are always crisp, and convincing. This is what raises her work above the heads of her peers and what makes this great gay romantic fiction.

If I have any quibbles with this very fine piece of work?quite the best Ms Beecroft has produced?it?s perhaps that the first sixty pages are so crammed with action (making it utterly unputdownable) that it?s the tiniest bit jumpy. This doesn?t do any detriment to the story though, other than perhaps to take the shine off one of the big fat shiny five stars this book very deservedly gets from me.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What an emotional rollercoaster!, 9 Aug 2009
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This review is from: False Colors: An M/M Romance (Paperback)
Once I started, I found this book very hard to put down - Beecroft puts you in thumbscrews and then keeps tightening them. The tension is, at points, almost unbearable, so I inhaled that book in two days.
This is the story of John Cavendish, prim and proper British naval officer, and the more rebellious, hedonistic Alfie Donwell; both men have their demons and hardships to face.

In a tour de force, we are taken through Barbary slave markets, pirates, icebergs, naval court martials, politics, betrayal, and naval battles. And, of course, the searing attraction between both men, one more experienced, the other still having to come to terms with his desires. And Beecroft really does take them through the emotional wringer before they have a chance at building something together, even though, whatever it is, it will have to stand up against the morals of a time when men like them can be hanged just for acting on their emotions.

A powerful mix of history, high emotion, and unforgettable characters. Loved the cover, which looked "respectable" enough that I could read it on the bus or train without raising (too many) eyebrows.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and very human read, 18 May 2009
By 
Ms. A. Brooke "Anne Brooke" (Godalming, Surrey) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: False Colors: An M/M Romance (Paperback)
False Colors is a total and absolute pleasure. The plot is marvellous and very exciting - and I don't even usually go for seafaring novels, but there's a perfect and very real level of historical detail there which meant I felt part of the whole scenario without being overwhelmed by it. The characters were gripping, well-rounded and very human - even the minor characters felt real. I can thoroughly recommend this book and look forward to more from Beecroft soon.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic of the genre - a must read, 14 Aug 2009
This review is from: False Colors: An M/M Romance (Paperback)
All I can say is read, read, read!

I want to review without giving too much away. A wonderful book. Totally satisfying from start to finish. Alex Beecroft is a genuine talent and deserves a wide readership. Set during the 18th century , this story is about two very different men who realise in the end, that they both want the same thing and each other.

M/M fiction is a a fairly new genre, and if this is the direction in which it is going, long may it thrive. I have not read Ms Beecroft's first book, but this is wonderful. I came to this book knowing little of the 'Age of Sail' period, and not as a great reader of gay fiction.

However, the nautical detail is superb - and adds a rich background to the story.You are left in no doubt that real attention has been paid to research and accuracy, right down to the language. The action scenes are totally gripping, as are the vivid descriptions of everyday life at sea, the ports, the prisons and the political intrigue of the day. Secondary characters are beautifully drawn, particularly Farrant - who stands in stark (and quite sad)contrast to both Cavendish and Donwell.

Anyone looking for hardcore erotica,needs to look elsewhere.What sex scenes do exist are done with taste, subtlety and are in keeping with the period. I found them sweet and sensual. This is a romantic book that deals primarily with two very different men who meet, each going through a long (and sometimes painful) journey of self-discovery.

Kudos to Ms Beechcroft for keeping a sense of historical perspective, and helping the reader to fully understand what it was really like to be a gay man during this period. I think that adds to the realism of the book. I like the two lead characters immensely, particularly Donwell, whose search for love and acceptance seems to be incredibly poignant at a time when it was a criminal (read: hanging) offense.

Beautifully written, un-put-downable, and with sympathetic, fully evolved characters . The ending and final love scene is lovely, and leaves the reader sad to depart from Donwell and Cavendish. You want to know what sort of future they can carve out for themselves, when the odds, are so greatly stacked against them ( a sequel Ms B?). I cannot wait for the author's next offering. 5 stars - but deserves more!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of work went into this story, 17 Feb 2012
By 
Geoff Flint (Stafford, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: False Colors: An M/M Romance (Paperback)
Author Alex Beecroft certainly entered into the Georgian Age of Sail when she wrote this page turner. From the complexities of a naval sailing ship through the geography of the West Indies to the developing love between the key characters she has produced a highly credible and enjoyable novel.Alex's research has served her - and her readers - very well. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Total Immersion, 30 April 2011
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This review is from: False Colors: An M/M Romance (Paperback)
I do not consider myself to be easily pleased as a reader. The best books for me are those which have both compelling and believable characters and a richly described world, and far too many writers emphasise one above the other. Not so with Alex Beecroft. I'll admit I had high expectations of "False Colors", based both on the opinions of others and on "Shining in the Sun", the first book that I read by her; I was far from disappointed.

The world she created is not sparing or reserved in its description, with numerous little details I never expected but which, after a little investigation, turned out to be entirely accurate for the period. The setting is the high point of the Enlightenment, and the very human fallibility, arrogance and hypocrisy of the time is on full display. Captain Smith is a prime example, in both his contrast of the "civilised" French and their pirate allies, and also of his own sense of superiority over pirates despite his acknowledgement of piracy's causes; I do not think it by chance that he is introduced while standing under a pirate's rotting corpse, nor that it is a pirate who later tortures him to death.

However Ms. Beecroft's signature skill seems to be writing characters for whom empathy comes at the price of chronic frustration. Cavendish and Farrant both had me (metaphorically) banging my head against the wall at various points, but they pale in comparison to Alfie, who's in desperate need of a sharp slap upside the head for his idiocy during the latter part of the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gay Romance, 22 July 2010
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This review is from: False Colors: An M/M Romance (Paperback)
Great read. Male/Male love set in aboard a naval ship when the penalty for sexual acts between two men was punishable by hanging. Passion, lust, and fear run through this story of male coupling in a bygone age.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A right pageturner!, 10 Mar 2010
This review is from: False Colors: An M/M Romance (Paperback)
As my first foray into gay historical romance I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but was not disappointed by False Colours. The novel is beautifully written and well researched, with a wealth of authentic historical detail that just leaps off the page. At times this is very gritty and downright disturbing (think kissing someone with a mouthful of rotten teeth!), but it really adds to the texture of the novel.

The two main characters are both flawed but lovable, and I was rooting for them right from the beginning. It's a long and difficult journey for them, though, so if you're expecting a novel riddled with explicit erotic encounters you'll be sorely disappointed. That's not to say that the sex, when it appears, isn't beautifully written, but it's very much there to serve the plot rather than the plot having been thrown together around a bunch of sex scenes (which seems to be the case with some m/m romances).

In short, I read this book in two days, finding it really hard to put down; and at the same time as enjoying a well crafted romance, I also learned a lot about the age of sail. Highly recommended for the more discerning m/m romance reader!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fundamentally flawed at its centre, 17 July 2012
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This review is from: False Colors: An M/M Romance (Paperback)
Having bought this and found myself struggling to get anywhere with it I have only just realised that the reviews are mainly from women. I may have been duped. There is no doubt that the novel is very well researched. Maybe too much as it expects far too much specialist knowledge from an average reader. A lot of the vocabulary relates to parts of ships which add nothing to the plot and could have been avoided but I presume were included to add `authenticity' to the narrative. And it achieves that but at the cost of the reader being unable to picture the scene as the details of rigging and what have you are unknown and can't be brought to mind.
My main criticism (and it is only a personal point) is that there is a fundamental flaw in a woman writing romance for men involving only men. It can only be how a woman would feel or react under these circumstances. It is in effect a woman's mind in a man's body and the assumption I presume is that there wouldn't be much difference. I think there is a very great difference and distance between the two perspectives. The absence of testosterone in any great levels would have a lot to do with it. Men are not emotionally intelligent enough to connive and pussyfoot around where relationships are concerned but tend to be a bit too obvious and aggressive. I just felt that if I had changed one of the men's names' to that of a woman it probably would have worked. As for the male readership? I suspect it should appeal to those that enjoy romances full stop and not necessarily male/male `romances' such as they are or if they can be even labelled that. There are plenty of relationship books written by men for men and are perhaps a lot more realistic than this one. In summary - a very well researched historical novel but with a fundamental flaw at its centre.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars False Colours, 5 Jan 2010
This review is from: False Colors: An M/M Romance (Paperback)
A good read - if not somewhat predictable in places. I much preferred the character of the blond man, found the other one a bit 'stuck up'.
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False Colors: An M/M Romance
False Colors: An M/M Romance by Alex Beecroft (Paperback - 7 May 2009)
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