“Darrah has captured very well how severely a boy can repress and fear his sexuality. It was heart breaking at times. Henry is a passionate, sensitive, giving boy who has a strong moral compass that none of his peers have. When he finally shows Martin his true self, it was such a victory over himself. A powerful, exhilirating scene, my instant favourite. Martin, I adore. He is an innocent, generous, loving soul. He is tremendously professional in his role as a companion and I was amazed by his composure every time Henry turned him away. Together, they are endearing.
The dynamic between a master and his slave fascinated me and there is much still to explore. There’s Martin’s servitude, who almost leaves himself out of the equation, and there’s fair-minded Henry, who can’t make himself order Martin around or abuse his right of power as so many of his peers do. There’s the longing to be equal, to be treated as a man instead of a master, a person instead of a slave, when none of that is acceptable in the outside world. And there’s a master expected to take a wife once he’s of age and a companion who can’t afford to get romantic feelings.
Reading this is like wrapping yourself up in a soft blanket, in front of a roaring fire with an amazing glass of wine and getting lost in another world for a while. I’m ready for that world to continue. Bring on book 2.”