A Gentleman's Agreement (Evergreen) by J. Roman
3 Pants Off
Thomas Derrik is about to have the worst Christmas of his life. Three days before the holiday, he finds out the father he doesn’t get along with is arriving on Christmas Eve, his ex-lover and new brother-in-law will be staying at his estate until the New Year, and his beloved brother, Edmund, has died.
Luckily, Edmund’s last holiday scheme may well save Thomas’s Christmas: Henry Appleby, a young lord fresh from the Continent, has arranged to court Thomas. But the family tragedy and jealous exes may put an end to the romance before it begins.
A Christmas story, which begins with the news of a brother’s death, is certainly unusual. Thomas is the next in line to inherit the title from his father the Marquees and so it is expected that he shall marry and produce an heir. His brother knew of his inclination to men and about his disastrous relationship with his childhood friend George Darrow, who ended up cheating on Thomas and then to add insult to injury married Thomas’s sister.
Thomas holiday outlook is bleak, considering he will have a brother to bury and to watch his sister with his ex-lover, the whole time. As a last wish of his brother, Thomas meets with Henry and his sister, whom he should marry according to his father per his brother’s last request. And that’s not all. It’s Henry who would become Thomas’s companion and strangely enough for a historical romance, the father is in agreement with this.
It’s a Christmas story, so I will discount my disbelief and doubt about historical correctness, since a bigger surprise is awaiting us!
Henry is courting Thomas favour because he is; I quote “A fine specimen of manhood.” Moreover, Henry couldn't help but fall for him within days if not hours. Christmas is by the way just a setting it’s not really worked into the story, with some celebration. There is however, a Christmas miracle and the moment I thought this all turned paranormal.
It’s not the ghost of Christmas past, who makes an appearance on Christmas Eve, but the husband of his dead or in this case not so dead brother Ed, who pays them a visit and brings the good news that Thomas’s brother is alive. He also tells a fascinating story about his father owing his live to Edward and to repay this he takes him with him to his home (somewhere in Russia), where Edward marries the youngest son. Again historical correctness flies out of the window and I just told myself, its fiction.
The former mention ex-lover also has a role to play, as he tries to win Thomas back, while having a child with the sister and is unhappy about Henry and his interest in Thomas.
Reading the story I wanted to say and now once more with feeling! All happens very fast and the surprising reappearance of the brother married to another man was a bit too much for my taste, because only the two sisters and the father appear to be not gay in this historical novella.
Should You Read It? Well, if one likes historical stories (I’m picky) and doesn’t mind instant love in a gay world (even the valet is gay and in love with Edward!), doesn’t really mind a bit of surreal, this would work. There are some sweet moments and the characters aren’t bad, I didn’t connect with them but some might like them and if one needs a dose of sugar with drama, this book is the perfect pick; it really depends on the mood. Oh and you should really go into the story with the mindset it’s fiction, so leave all sense of reality and probability outside, those who enter! And thus lays the entertainment of this story.
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