Book Review – Captain’s Surrender by Alex Beecroft
Genre: Historical Gay Romance
Paperback: 194 pages
Publisher: Linden Bay Romance (January 15, 2008)
About the book:
“Love? Might as well ask for the moon. But a man can dream-
Despite his looks and ambition, Midshipman Joshua Andrews hides urges that, in his world, make him an abomination. Living in fear of exposure, unnecessary risk is something he studiously avoids. Once he sets eyes on the elegant picture of perfection that is Peter Kenyon, though, temptation lures him like the siren call of the sea.
Soon to be promoted to captain, Peter is the darling of the Bermuda garrison, with a string of successes behind him and a suitable bride lined up to share his future. He seems completely out of Joshua’s reach.
Then the two men are forced to serve on a long voyage under a sadistic commander with a mutinous crew. As the tension aboard the vessel heats up, their unexpected friendship intensifies into a passion neither man can rein in.
Intimacy like theirs can only exist in the shadow of the gallows. Both men are determined their youthful curiosity must die before it brings disaster down on them. Yet neither man can root it from his heart. Warriors both, they think nothing of risking their lives for their country. In the end they must decide whether love, too, is worth dying for.”
I guess that since Lee Rowan was so successful in her historical naval gay romance series, other authors had to jump onto the fray too. Alex Beecroft gives it the freshman try – and does not quite succeed as well.
It’s 1779, Midshipman Joshua Andrews is in her Majesty’s Service on the Nimrod and it’s definitely a hell of a time to be gay AND fall in love with a superior who happens to be male too. That is illustrated all too clearly when the novel opens with Andrews witnessing the execution of a fellow shipmate for sodomy by the sadistic Commander Walker.
I was a bit confused with why the soon-to-be-promoted-to-captain Lt. Peter Kenyon was made to room with the low midshipman Andrews (it was implied to be a snub by the Commander), but I just wondered why Kenyon (as an officer) felt that he couldn’t protest it. – but I guess more important was that the author Alex Beecroft needed a convenient excuse to have both men in close contact and thus be able to build-up a relationship between them. I mean, would a Lt / Captain and a midshipman have otherwise struck up a close friendship (that turns into something else)? It just felt a bit contrived to me, as was Andrews’ almost immediate love-at-first-sight with Kenyon.
I wished that the author had kept the POV just smoothly switching back and forth between the two men throughout the novel – it’s a good way for readers to be in-the-know as Kenyon and Andrews slowly forge a partnership / friendship, and take comfort in each other while under the tyrannical rule of Commander Walker. In particular, I thought the way that Beecroft had Kenyon write his thoughts out on letters (with interjections of his real thoughts) was inspired, as it was a good way to show what Kenyon felt he could express versus what he could really feel. And that conflict of course extends all the way to when Kenyon realizes that he has not-exactly-brotherly feelings for his friend. I just wish that the author kept the POV strictly with just those two characters (who are the most important), but no, we get to go into the head of other characters too, which was a big no-no for me. It just made the different chapters fragmented, jumping form one POV to another, especially in the first part of the novel. I just felt that approach was unneccessary and confusing.
I did appreciate Alex Beecroft not going into explicit graphic details when Kenyon and Andrews get together – honestly, I’ve read other historical novels and when the author goes full on erotica using the formal language of the time – I don’t know – it just sounds so inauthentic in the setting and ridiculously funny to me at the same time. For novels in the historical genre, I think it pays more to be subtle.
Check out Captain’s Surrender and help support Alex Beecroft.
~ by RandomizeME on August 30, 2009.