Gaywyck: A Novel by Vincent Virga

Gaywyck: A Novel by Vincent Virga
Publisher: Alyson Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (356 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

Gaywyck, the first gay gothic romance, treads firmly in beloved territory, both honoring it and reinventing it. Classic in style, Vincent Virga creates a world as authentic as anything penned by DuMaurier, retaining the creaking ancestral mansion and mysterious and brooding master of the manor, while replacing the traditional damsel in distress with the young and handsome Robert Whyte.

When Robert Whyte’s mother goes mad, suffering from severe depression, he and his father are at a loss. Having spent his life as a sickly, reclusive individual, Robert finds himself needing work. Unwilling to follow the path that his father had envisioned for him, Robert instead goes in a different direction, one of which will change the entire direction of his life.

Robert Whyte arrives at Gaywyck an innocent, sheltered young man. He soon discovers that no matter how well-read you are, there are some things a book can never prepare you for. Love is one of them. Although a bit naïve, he’s curious and intelligent, and eager to make friends and live a life outside of his father’s home. By the end of the novel, he’s not even close to the man he was when it began, giving him more character growth than any character I’ve ever read.

Donough Gaylord, on the other hand, has seen more in his young life than most see by the end of theirs. At first, his penchant for keeping his distance from everyone but his closest companions seems simple. He’s lost loved ones and fears being hurt again, right? But the more you read, the more you find out just how disturbing and upsetting his childhood was. The further you delve into Donough’s past, the more twisted the story becomes. Where Robert is pure and innocent, Donough is blackened, which is probably why they work so well together in the end. They find a balance between the two extremes.

As much as I enjoy Gothic novels, I’ve not read many Gothic romances. Gaywyck has changed that and for the better. Gorgeously written, the storyline twists and turns and surprises you at the end of every hallway. Some things were obvious, at least to me, while others took me wholly by surprise. When everything comes together in the end, I stared rather wide-eyed at my Kindle, trying to take it all in. Sad and sweet and endearingly romantic, Gaywyck will forever stay with me.

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