Prick of the Thistle by Qeturah Edeli

Prick of the Thistle by Qeturah Edeli
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (281 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Lilac

Despite Lord Duncan Friseal’s surly disposition, William finds the heir to the wealthy highland thanedom of Faoltaigh irresistible. After Lord Friseal saves William from a fate worse than death, William grows obsessed with his penetrating fuck-or-kill gaze and aches to discover what lies beneath his great kilt. Lord Friseal appears ignorant of William’s affections, but no matter; William has dealt with his fair share of capricious men and it will be only a matter of time before Lord Friseal succumbs and gives him what he craves.

Lord Friseal realizes too late how dangerously attracted to William he is. He cannot resist the temptation of a man who knows exactly what he wants and where he wants it. Constrained by his station, clan, and religion, Lord Friseal must decide if his passion for a sensuous but traumatized Englishman is worth risking his family’s future and the fate of his immortal soul. Circumstances continue to thwart his swelling sentimentality as William proves to be emotionally distant for all his sexual appetite, and Lord Friseal’s intrusive houseguest, Moira MacKenzie, draws ever closer to the truth.

A Scottish lord saves an Englishman from the wolves out on the moors, brings him back to his castle, and tries to figure out the mystery and allure of him.

From the beginning, I was struck by the beauty of the writing. The author has clearly researched the style, culture, and language of the era and the country. Her descriptions are beautiful and the scenery is vividly brought to life. The writing style is very evocative, and the barren nature and lavish mansion became familiar ground as the story progressed.
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The main characters—Duncan, the Scottish thane, and William, the lost thespian—are a curious pairing. They seem to have nothing in common. Apart from the apparent physical femininity and startling beauty of William, I wasn’t sure I understood the attraction Duncan felt for him.

Duncan came off as a more appealing character. He’s kind and strong, smart and capable, and his awakening feelings for a man for the first time were depicted extremely well. I liked him a lot. Even though toward the end he turns into something of a sissy when it comes to his shy daughter and his horrible would-be bride.

William, in comparison, seemed less attractive. His propensity to think of nothing but sex made him somewhat uncouth and surly. His past does explain some of that…

However, and I can’t stress this enough, despite the length of this book, you will NOT be getting a whole story. This ends so abruptly, in the middle of a scene, everything up in the air, that I was incensed. It immediately made me lower the rating. One would think three hundred pages is enough to write a clear and satisfying ending. Alas, that is not the case.

As a result, we learn next to nothing about William. His mystery is by the end of the book… still a mystery. None of my questions about him were answered. That is rather annoying, wouldn’t you say?

What makes this oversight more vexing is that this is a good book, a very well written historical gay romance. We get a lot of sexually tense scenes between Duncan and William—though not a lot of actual sex. The setting and the people feel real and relatable. The plot moves at a swift pace, even if the first chapter is ripe with exposition. And yet, personally I didn’t want to miss a single word.

So overall, I do recommend this to everyone who loves historical gay romances, with a caveat. Thus far the series, Heartwood, has only two books out. Not having read the second, I don’t know if the story reaches a worthwhile conclusion in that one. Here, it does not. If you take that into consideration, though, this is a book I liked and you might like as well. I’m pretty sure I will be checking out the sequel.

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