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Darkover: First Contact
Marion Zimmer Bradley
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Paula Coots
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Jerome K. Jerome
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Robert Ryan, Arthur Conan Doyle
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Restraint - DarkEmeralds I have spent a solid couple of years trying to find a good Regency m/m. I read maybe one or two 3 star ones, but most of the ones I've read I've rated meh to yuk. The books were either drowning in puddles of tears about how hard everything was (and yet still managed to end up with an HEA in which everybody turned a blind eye to guys living together) or they did the handwavey thing for the 'punishable crime' aspect of writing a male love story in this era, turned it into a (more or less) smexy romp and had everybody turn a blind eye etc. Disappointments all.

But here it is, another winner from the makers of I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Published, from the unpaid anonymous masses of fanfiction writers: the Regency Romance that has everything I have ever wanted. And things I didn't even know I wanted. A story with just the right balance between gravity and lightheartedness. It has depth. It's depressing in places, funny in others, and romantic all over. It doesn't shy away from the ugly sides of this society, the very real obstacles these guys face. Not everyone turns a blind eye. And it even has a heart for the women that marry men like this.

The language and slow pacing are very Jane Austen, which makes it extra enjoyable to me. But this is a long book, so if that is not your thing, don't even start. If fanfiction isn't your thing this may still work though: this is about as unfanfiction as you can get. The guys even have different names and it's only their physical appearance that has any resemblance to the original characters. I am not even sure they'd have to change anything if it were pulled to publish.

Is it flawless? Probably not. But it is close enough to make no discernible difference to me. Lord, what a beautiful book.

P.S. Don't miss the Deleted Scenes: