Reviewed by Vicki (Tori)
AUTHOR: Silvia Violet
PUBLISHER: Silvia Violet Books
LENGTH: 254 pages
RELEASE DATE: January 17th, 2017
1777 New York City
The American colonists are fighting for their independence, but the battlefield is not the only place to wage war. When General Washington’s head of intelligence asks Captain Jack West to spy on the British in New York, Jack agrees, despite reservations about this ungentlemanly pursuit.
Jack’s contact in the city recruits bookshop owner Elias Ashfield, an impeccably dressed sensualist who flaunts his desire for both men and women and seeks a place in high society. Jack longs for a simple life guided by clear principles. Eli is a risk-taker who knows how to get what he wants. And he wants Jack in his bed.
Events in Jack’s past have made him fearful of acting on his secret craving for a man’s touch, but Eli intrigues Jack as much as he infuriates him. As Jack and Eli search for the information the rebel army needs, they realize there’s more between them than mere lust. But finding a way to be together may prove more difficult than defeating the British Empire.
Our first main character is Jack West. Jack is a Captain in the Continental Army, fighting to free the American colony from British rule. He’s been injured, but still wants to help. He’s given the opportunity to go to New York and work as a spy with a woman named Constance Sullivan. Jack is very reluctant, seeing spy work as beneath him, but his options are limited so he agrees to go. He heads to New York to meet Constance…
Our second main character is Eli. Elias Ashfield lives in New York city and runs a small bookshop for his uncle. He is looking for a way up in society, and isn’t afraid to use his body to his advantage. He is attracted to both men and women. In fact, when we first meet him, he’s pulling his pants up after a morning interlude. Eli is also a reseller of smuggled goods, and is known to write a bit of propaganda. He is eventually recruited by Constance Sullivan, a spy for the Continental Army.
Our third main character is Constance. Constance Sullivan is a widow, living in New York, housing injured soldiers, and spying for the Continental Army. She needs help, men to go in places that she can’t, and more eyes and ears to gather information. She recruits Eli into her plans, and eventually they are joined by Jack.
This story follows the political intrigue that the three main characters get themselves into. Constance, Jack, and Eli gather information about the British Army, and pass it on to the Continental Army. Mostly they stay in New York, but venture out occasionally to meet with Jack’s boss, to pass on what they have learned. While this is going on, Jack and Eli begin a secret relationship. Which turns out to not be so secret!
I liked the plot of this story quite a bit. I am a fan of historical novels, and this era intrigues me especially. I liked the setting, and the details the author provides. It’s clear she did her research on the city and the war at that time. My big issue was the characters. Neither Jack, Eli, nor Constance felt authentic to the time period. I don’t think Constance should have been a useless woman, as they can be portrayed, but something about her just didn’t work for me. She felt out of place somehow. The same with Eli and Jack. Their dialogue seemed to0 modern, some of the words they used didn’t feel right. Every now and then a word would be thrown in that I think was supposed to make us feel the authenticity of the moment, but that didn’t work. It almost felt like the three main characters had traveled back in time. Modern thinking and speaking people, in a historic setting.
Constance played a big part of the story, and although I loved her, she detracted from Eli and Jack. So much time is spent on the plot, and spent on Constance, that I didn’t always feel the connection between the two men, I felt like they were together for convenience, not because they really liked each other. There were several nice sex scenes, and I did feel their physical bond, but once they got their clothing back on, it vanished. There was a bit of drama toward the end, that caused some big feelings and the love between them does show, but it was too late in the story for me.
So I have mixed feelings about this book, and had a hard time rating it. I liked the plot, but had issues with the characters. I liked the setting and the details of the war effort, but had issues with the dialogue. I liked Eli and Jack as characters, but didn’t really feel them connecting as a couple. I liked Constance as a character, but she overwhelmed the story a bit.
Overall I liked the book but I didn’t love it. I’m glad I read it, I do like Silvia Violet’s books, and this is a good glimpse at an interesting time period.