Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Review for Blessed Isle by Alex Beecroft

For Captain Harry Thompson, the command of the prison transport ship HMS Banshee is his opportunity to prove his worth, working-class origins be damned. But his criminal attraction to his upper-crust First Lieutenant, Garnet Littleton, threatens to overturn all he’s ever worked for.
Lust quickly proves to be the least of his problems, however. The deadly combination of typhus, rioting convicts, and a monstrous storm destroys his prospects . . . and shipwrecks him and Garnet on their own private island. After months of solitary paradise, the journey back to civilization—surviving mutineers, exposure, and desertion—is the ultimate test of their feelings for each other.
These two very different men each record their story for an unfathomable future in which the tale of their love—a love punishable by death in their own time—can finally be told. Today, dear reader, it is at last safe for you to hear it all.


You know what you're in for when you pick up an Alex Beecroft book.  Visually stimulating depictions of scenery, a strong sense of the time period that sucks readers in, and a beautiful writing style that feels almost lyrical.  You almost don't care what's going on as her poetic dialogue fully immerses you in the events of the time and her characters.

Blessed Isle is a dangerous journey on the seas as well as one man's journey into self-acceptance after meeting a man who completely changes his life and future. Captain Harry is a very staid, quiet man, yet honorable and desperately wanting to prove his place in the Navy. He's a fair captain trying to do what's right in his professional as well as his personal life.  This has led him to keep his sexual orientation hidden for fear of not only being drummed out of the Navy but fear for his very life.  Meeting the flamboyant and outgoing Lieutenant Garnet changes his life forever as he constantly fights his attraction to him.  Garnet is pretty open about his sexuality and keeps encouraging Harry to live life on his terms and not others.  Their relationship progresses very slowly with furtive longing glances and fleeting touches on the hand.  It's not until close to the conclusion that they connect further in a scene not at all graphic, but rather romantic and sweet.

Most of the story revolves around life on a ship.  History buffs will applaud the depictions of the ship's inner-workings and the events of the time that impact the character's lives.  These scenes are done in graphic detail and show Ms. Beecroft's vast research into Naval ships.  Disease, mutiny, and deadly storms have your heart pounding as men start dying in bloody detail.  I was on the edge of my seat praying for Harry and Garnet's safety.  Time and again fate was kind and a true HEA is their reward.

Alex Beecroft has rewarded us with a richly beautiful story written in lovely and lyrical prose.  Written mostly from Harry's perspective with journal-like entries we get a strong sense of these men's lives.  We get to see back and forth banter, with Garnet's journal entry intrusions, that shows off their playful sides and gives us a deeper understanding of Harry, whereas Garnet's still a bit of a mystery.  Those who like their sexual encounters hot will be a bit disappointed as the action here is more lukewarm.  That's doesn't diminish the love between these two men or our desire to see their satisfying HEA.  Ms. Beecroft has once again given us a memorable story written in an unforgettable way.

My rating for this is a B.

*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

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