Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Henry Page, aka Sebastian Hanes, aka a hundred other aliases, is a Shakespeare buff. He and his twin sister Viola were raised by an alcoholic mother who was an actress and instilled a love of William Shakespeare in her children from a very early age. As this third story in the series opens, Henry is on the run and so is his boyfriend, FBI Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness Mac is being framed for murder and with nowhere else to go, they head for Altona, Indiana, where the series began. Altona, not the most well-known city in the world has a population consisting of Mac’s family, some goats, a few chickens, and maybe a handful of other people. Henry’s not happy about lying low at the McGuinness family farm (hence, his singing of Old MacDonald’s Farm on the way there), but they’ve got nowhere else to go, and he believes Viola will be safe there, a fact which makes him most cooperative.
Viola suffered a brain injury while trying to pull one of their mother’s boyfriends off of Henry as he was being raped when they were teens. In this book we learn something more about this man, JJ. <spoiler> The way the authors wove Mac’s and Henry’s stories together was both complex and compelling. Interesting to me as a reviewer and as someone who has read the past books, I felt like I was slowly unwrapping a gift and each layer brought a new surprise. In hindsight, it’s obvious that the authors plotted this series out before starting the first book, yet each story is a complete story in itself. Together, they make an incredibly interesting action adventure saga. As Henry jokes, the two of them together, aka “Mac and Cheese”, had enough going on in their lives to create a TV series about them, and now they seem to have enough material to make an epic motion picture.
Watching their relationship develop, and most especially, watching Henry come to the realization that he can indeed rely on Mac, that he loves him, and that he might have finally found a home with Mac, is incredibly fulfilling and I just literally couldn’t put the story down. If this had been a movie, I certainly would have watched between my fingers, like a little kid who can’t bear to see what’s going on, yet can’t leave the room either. The last chapters were a hair-raising adventure, super scary for more than just Mac and Henry, and highly riveting. A definite nail-biter, for sure.
The authors continue to relate to the world of William Shakespeare throughout the story, and I particularly enjoyed Mac’s realization that “everyone had their assigned part, and played it. All the world was a stage, after all, and it was just bursting at the seams with eager understudies.” He went on to speculate on the people who loved you and those you loved—those are the only people who mattered. It was clearly evident that he loved Henry, and when Henry finally admitted that he loved Mac, though it was mumbled, it was just perfect for them. And speaking of perfect, the ending of the story was exactly what will allow our guys to continue on in future stories if the authors want to take them further, but would be a fine place to end if they decide to do so.
I highly recommend this series. It got better with each book, and both characters are now on my list of favorite M/M characters and definitely on my most memorable couples list.
Cover Art by L.C. Chase depicts an open black umbrella on a red background, giving the same overall feel as the covers of the other books. In this case, use of an umbrella symbolizes both Henry’s fear of storms and the use of an umbrella to thwart one of the “bad guys” in the story. Nicely done.
ebook, 205 pages
Expected publication: March 9th 2015 by Riptide Publishing
seriesPlaying the Fool #3
Playing the Fool Series in the order they were written and should be read:
- The Two Gentlemen of Altona (Playing the Fool, #1)
- The Merchant of Death (Playing the Fool, #2)
- Tempest (Playing the Fool, #3)