Billy Wright has a problem: he’s only visible when he’s wearing a mask. That’s fine when he’s performing at country fairs with the rest of his morris dancing troupe. But when he takes the paint off, his life is lonely and empty, and he struggles with crippling depression.
Martin Deng stands out from the crowd. After all, there aren’t that many black Vikings on the living history circuit. But as the founder of a fledgling historical re-enactment society, he’s lonely and harried. His boss doesn’t like his weekend activities, his warriors seem to expect him to run everything single-handedly, and it’s stressful enough being one minority without telling the hard men of his group he’s also gay.
When Billy’s and Martin’s societies are double-booked at a packed county show, they know at once they are kindred spirits, united by a deep feeling of connectedness to their history and culture. But they’re also both hiding in their different ways, and they need each other to be brave enough to take their masks off and still be seen.
This is the second book by Alex Beecroft I’ve read and the second book in her Trowchester series. I really admire her writing. She is fluid, coherent, descriptive and not telling, creates amazingly detailed characters and a deeply emotional story.
This is a very DARK story. There is an almost instant connection between the two lovers but the physical aspect of their story is a slow burn.
Martin is in the closet and Billy has some serious psychological problems. When they find each other they find that other piece of their soul that completes them.
Martin teaches history at a high school (British equivalent) and is obsessed with historical re-enactments. As a result there is A LOT of history in this story.
Billy’s depression also plays a major role in the story line and though Martin helps he is not the “cure”, which is awesome.
So… I have a hard time reviewing this book. On the one hand it’s quite good, but… I can’t say I “enjoyed” it. It’s very hard to get through at times, the subject matter is heavy and the history will either be fascinating to you or boring…
In either case – if you are in the mood for a more “meaty” romance I’d recommend this – if you’re looking for light and fluffy – keep looking.
3.5 of 5 hearts