Reviewed by Susan
TITLE: The Valet and the Stable Groom
AUTHOR: Katherine Marlowe
PUBLISHER: Honeywine Publishing
LENGTH: 210 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 24, 2016
Hardworking and ambitious, Clement Adair has his career planned out: a steady rise from a mere personal valet to the head butler of a grand noble house. When a new baby causes a split in his employer’s estate, Clement is packed off to the country where he has little hope of ever advancing his station. Clement plans to resign and return to London as soon as possible, even though it means leaving his friends, his endearingly silly employer, and the charming and kind stable groom who has made overtures of friendship… and perhaps more.
The longer Clement stays, the more complicated leaving becomes, as the estate’s economic circumstances grow dire and Clement feels like the only one holding the household together. Somehow, impossibly, he must reconcile the future he’s determined to bring to pass and the life he didn’t know he wanted. Clean romance, no cheating, no cliffhangers, standalone novel.
I struggled with this book. I found that it did not hold my attention and it took numerous attempts to finish it. I am normally a fan of historicals, so that was not the issue. I found that the story focused too much on the details of the running of and politics of the household than on an actual romance.
Clement is a valet and this is a large part of his character, but detailed descriptions of his duties took away from building a romance in my opinion.
On the other hand, this is a slow build up to an old fashioned romance that might appeal to someone who is brand new to the m/m genre and wants to ease into it.
The writing is well done and easy to read. The side story of Hildebert’s efforts to find a purpose for his new life in the country was humourous. As was Letty and her efforts to secure Clement’s place in the household. Letty was actually a pretty good friend for Clement, I enjoyed her character.
Where Clement’s character and duties are very detailed, I found Hugo a little one dimensional. I would have liked some more insight into his thinking and actions.
Overall, I do not think this is a bad book, just more suited to someone who has not read as much m/m as I have. For a beginner to m/m or to someone who is interested in the finite details of this era, this story will appeal.