Patron by C.B. Lewis

Patron by C.B. Lewis
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (78 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Theodore Wentworth, who possesses little more than a sharp and well-educated mind, is trying to solicit a sponsor for his studies of Greek antiquity by performing recitations at gatherings of collectors. Desperate for luck and better skills in oratory, in jest, he places a coin at the feet of a statue of Hermes. It seems like coincidence when his fortune turns and a gentleman calling himself Alexander becomes his benefactor. Despite his friend John teasing him about it, Theodore continues to offer tokens to Hermes and sinks himself into his study of the classics.

Alexander encourages Theodore’s interest, prompting Theodore to face desires he tried to put aside years before. As Theodore embraces the knowledge, he must also resist his attraction to Alexander—knowing his feelings are a serious crime in Victorian England.

But the secret Alexander keeps will change everything in a love story for the ages, steeped in taboo, temptation, history, and myth.

Theodore knew it was crazy but, enraptured by a statue, he gave in to whimsy and made an offering – softly requesting for clear speech and good luck in the presentation he was about to make. Succeeding beyond his wildest dreams, Theodore embarks on a literary journey, pleased beyond measure when he finds a new friend along the way.

I really enjoyed the whimsy in this story. While historical and set roughly in the Regency period, I found the undertone of almost paranormal luck throughout the story delightful. Theodore is an avid student of Greek – the history, religion, gods and heroes – and so his monetary offering and quiet plea for help, both clarity in his speech and presentation as well as assistance in acquiring a patron really struck me as fresh and different. I thoroughly enjoyed it and don’t think the story could have had the same impact had it been a contemporary story.

While I did enjoy the pace of the story, part of me wished that the first half or so of the story wasn’t so completely focused on Theodore. I could certainly appreciate getting to know his character so well – and his position, dreams and goals, but I was a little disappointed that for an erotic romance that it was almost half way through the story before there was any romance – or passion – between Theodore and Alexander. That said, once the two men became better acquainted, the chemistry sky-rocketed and all but burned off the page. Readers looking for an explicit story might not find exactly what they want here, but personally I found the chemistry and build-up perfectly satisfying. I was also really pleased that the author didn’t skirt (or ignore) the implications of having a homosexual romance in that historical setting. The ramifications were discussed and at the fore of Theodore’s thoughts, but also not dwell upon to a depressing degree. I felt the author did an excellent job of balancing this reality along with the romance and fantasy of the story itself.

A lovely short story set in the Regency era. I loved how there was a really solid plot, a hint of paranormal/Greek god whimsy and deep, interesting characters. Recommended.

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