Rating: 4 stars
Lord Benjamin Parker has always thought that he might be gay but never put it to a test. Until now. One evening at a gambling hell known to be frequented by men who discretely prefer the company of other men, he sits at a card table next to one of the most attractive men he has ever seen. That man turns out to be Cavin Fox. Cavin Fox has come, not to gamble, but to pick up a wealthy mark to take home and fleece, leaving the mark’s pockets empty come morn. But he is enjoying their flirting and conversation and the even drags on more than it should.
When the men do leave the establishment together, the night turns into a evening of sexual exploration that neither man will forget. And Cavin leaves, taking nothing from Benjamin as being with Benjamin has affected him deeply. Benjamin feels the same and wants nothing more than to see Cavin again. When events conspire to bring them together again, Benjamin vows to keep Cavin with him just as much as Cavin feels he cannot stay and take advantage of Benjamin’s feelings. It takes a dramatic rescue and confrontation to bring about a solution they both can accept in order for a thief and a lord to live happily ever after.
Brook Street: Thief is the first of a trilogy by Ava March that captures the historical feel of the times and still delivers an emotionally rewarding romantic story of love found among the gutters. Both main characters are easy to love. Lord Benjamin comes across as an affable fellow, good natured, and generous hearted. His story of how he determines he actually may be gay will bring smiles to your face as it did to Cavin’s. The youngest of five children of a Marquis, he doesn’t stand to inherit the title or lands so he is free to be a “confirmed bachelor” all his life, a quaint way of saying he prefers the company of men. But it is with Cavin Fox that my sympathy and love were quickly seated. A guttersnipe who was plucked out of the streets by a man named Hale who prostituted him out as well as trained him to be a thief, Cavin still retains a gentle soul and good heart. When in his anquish he determines not to see Benjamin again, the reader hurts as badly as he does. Ava March does such a terrific job with them both, that I never felt they were anything less than real. A young man named Sam also figures into the story as a young brother figure for Cavin. I hope to see more of him in the latter stories.
And there is the setting here. It is 1822, London, England. March’s descriptions of the hellish nature of the place where Hale, Cavin and the boys live gave me the shivers. From her vivid descriptions, I could see the rats and urchins vying for garbage scraps as the consumptive whores with their dirty feet watched from their doorways. Never was I go glad to be living in 2012 America. March did a beautiful job of conveying time, place and atmosphere and all in a mere 112 pages. Quite a feat.
If I have a quibble it is that the ending came about a little too fast and the solution Benjamin and Cavin found seemed too pat an answer for the times they live in. But considering the happy ending and the promise of more to come, I will leave my quibbling there. I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.
Cover. What a gorgeous cover! Stunning in its emotional appeal and coloring. Fantastic job.