Book Review – Ship of Dreams by Reilly Ryan

Genre: Historical Gay Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (February 10, 2009)
Language: English

About the book:

“An attraction fated to go down in history – if they survive.

Liar. Thief. Con man. James Hyde keeps these labels well hidden under the veneer of a high-class gambler. He knows how to charm his way to where the money is, and right now it’s aboard the world’s must luxurious ship, ripe for the taking. From the moment he locks eyes with Will Woods, though, James is tempted. Tempted, for once, to be the kind of man that another can trust with his heart.

Will is sailing toward everything he’s ever wanted: marriage and family. His instant attraction to James is a complete surprise – and too powerful to ignore. In his arms, Will rediscovers passion he’s kept long buried. And it tempts him to abandon the safety of wealth and position. Perhaps even his family’s good graces. All for James – a man who is only now beginning to understand the meaning of honor.

Then there’s the last obstacle standing in their way. Their ship of dreams is the Titanic.”


What if it wasn’t Rose and Jake on the doomed ‘Titanic’? In this romance novel, James Hyde is the guy from the wrong side of the tracks ‘Jake’, and Will Woods is the upper-class ‘Rose’, similarly engaged to be married for the happiness of the mother. Unfortunately, there’s no nude painting scene though 😉 I guess Reilly Ryan failed to copy that part of the plot as well.

James Hyde is a likeable rogue who makes a living conning people, okay, rich people, out of their money. He’s cynical and been around the block too many times to count. He’s also gay, and has the hots for the very much engaged-to-be-married but questionable straight Will. And it’s more than the hots, he may actually ‘love’ the guy and for once in his life, he wants to be a better person. Yeah, love!

Who knows if Will was ever sure in his mind if he was straight or bi or gay – he does reference ‘leaving feelings like that behind’ at the start of the novel – but the problem is that he is weighted down by duty; his widowed mom only has him, and it lies on him to provide that picture perfect family that lives up to his mother’s expectations, and if that includes his fiancée, then so be it. Until he meets James that is, and well, hitherto suppressed forbidden desires are suddenly rekindled. Unfortunately, Will also has the self-control of a – well – let’s just say he appears to have no self-control at all – and he ends up having regular sizzling ‘encounters’ with James (particularly one steamy scene in a Turkish bath!) that pretty much makes it clear that it’s time to step out of the closet & do the right thing and break his sham of an engagement. And well, destroy the life he had for himself and his mother. Decisions, decisions… I mean, no wonder he’s so conflicted, right?

In the end, however, angsting over all these may not matter as events occur beyond everyone’s control – ie. cue iceberg, cue sinking ship!

Ship of Dreams is Reilly Ryan’s debut novel – and it shows – but given the genre, I think that she shows promise. At least she gave it a fair shot to actually have a plot, fleshed-out characters and have some imagination, unlike many many writers from the same genre out there.

Other reviews of Ship of Dreams are found at Speak Its Name and Elisa Rolle.

Check out Ship of Dreams and help support Reilly Ryan.

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~ by RandomizeME on June 23, 2009.

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