I love a good paranormal romance. Laurell K Hamilton’s “Anita Blake Vampire Hunter” series sunk its teeth into me, and kept me hooked to this very day. Too often though, the paranormal aspects become romanticised and no longer provide the scares they once did.
Widdershins came as a recommendation from my boyfriend and boy did it hit the spot. Do not let the cover fool you, this book has real charm.
What’s it about?
Some things should stay buried.
Repressed scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has two skills: reading dead languages and hiding in his office at the Ladysmith Museum. After the tragic death of the friend he secretly loved, he’s ruthlessly suppressed any desire for another man.
So when handsome ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty approaches him to translate a mysterious book, Whyborne wants to finish the job and get rid of the detective as quickly as possible. Griffin left the Pinkertons following the death of his partner, hoping to start a new life. But the powerful cult which murdered Glenn has taken root in Widdershins, and only the spells in the book can stop them. Spells the intellectual Whyborne doesn’t believe are real.
As the investigation draws the two men closer, Griffin’s rakish charm threatens to shatter Whyborne’s iron control. When the cult resurrects an evil sorcerer who commands terrifying monsters, can Whyborne overcome his fear and learn to trust? Will Griffin let go of his past and risk falling in love? Or will Griffin’s secrets cost Whyborne both his heart and his life?
What’d I think?
Thanks to the unfortunately cheap looking cover, I had very low expectations going into Widdershins. I wonder if this might actually be author Jordan L Hawk’s plan, disarm with the cover and deliver a gripping story while our guard is down. In any event it must have worked, I am in it for the long haul with Whyborne and sly Detective Griffin.
A delicious piece of Victorian era genre fiction, Widdershins is a paranormal romance featuring Whyborne, a talented though somewhat socially awkward philologist (expert in the study of historical written languages). He would gladly spend all day with his head in books, rather than have to deal with unnecessary social niceties. That is until Detective Griffon comes to him seeking help with a case, and sparks start flying.
With homosexuality being illegal in this time period, there is a real sense of danger for the men and their budding relationship. Having to keep up appearances and always fearing the next knock on the door is a daily game that Whyborne must play in order to survive. Even with the limitations placed upon them by society, Whyborne and Griffon engage in what has become one of my favourite gay relationships in a book. In a genre full to the brim with over the top sexuality, the love scenes are written with absolute care and consideration. Whyborne is completely inexperienced, and his growth in this area is organic and unforced. Finally an author who expects a virgin to act like a damn virgin in the sack!
The paranormal aspects of the book deal with dark magic, frankenstein-like creatures, and demonic summonings. Though fantastical, the way the characters experience these things feels very realistic. People are sort of aware of magical ability, but it is considered fantasy and silliness, much like how wicca and magical abilities are seen in our own world. Whyborne experiences true character growth in this area, and I liked that he would fight with his own desires to utilise this new ability for nefarious purpose. It would be so easy for him to have his hearts desire, but could he live with the decision?
What’s the verdict?
If you’re a fan of books in the vein of The Parasol Protectorate, you will be right at home here. This is a fun, adventurous romp with horrors lurking in dark underground tunnels. Highly recommended.
This book is available on the Kindle book store. I generally read my books through the Kindle eReader or the free app on my Android phone.
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