Was Thoreau gay? He never married, dedicated at least one love poem to a male friend and over two hundred pages were excised from his diary. This charming novel imagines the love affair which, perhaps, occupied those missing pages. The brilliant thing about this book is not just the love affair between Thoreau and young sailor, Ben: passionate, credible, beautiful and doomed. The author excels in recreating both the character of Thoreau and of his times, especially of nineteenth century New York and its society on the cusp of an industrial and economic revolution. American society, both vibrant and exciting and closed and conservative, leaps to life. Thoreau yearns to break free and to be the person he knows himself to be. In the end, he feels compelled to choose respectability over the love of a lifetime but the few months which this story tells are vivid, colourful and moving. It is an original and remarkable book.