*I received a free ARC of this book. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: As the Great War tears Europe apart, two men from different worlds find sanctuary in each other’s arms.
Captain Robert Thorne is the fiercest officer in the regiment. Awaiting the command to go to the front, he has no time for simpering, comely lads. That’s until one summer day in 1917, when his dark, flashing eye falls upon the newest recruit at Chateau de Desgravier, a fresh-faced farmer’s boy with little experience of life and a wealth of poetry in his heart.
Trooper Jack Woodvine has a way with strong, difficult stallions, and whispers them to his gentle will. Yet even he has never tamed a creature like Captain Thorne.
With the shadow of the Great War and the scheming of enemies closer to home threatening their fleeting chance at happiness, can the captain and the cavalry trooper make it home safely? More importantly, will they see peacetime together?
This is my first MM romance and it has reminded me that it doesn’t matter what your personal preferences are, a good story is a good story. I’ll definitely be reading more by these authors!
The Captain and the Cavalry Trooper is a beautiful sweet romance, with some tender erotic scenes. At many points in the story I was reminded of classic romance novels like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice: here we find the same sternly brooding hero, paired with a meeker, but still sharply intelligent, partner. I even noted specific parallels, such as the ‘lean on me sir’ scene, or the rising from the water like the deity of dripping manliness. Even the names are evocative of Brontë’s nature symbolism, with prickly Thorne and his clinging Woodvine.
At first I thought it somewhat coincidental the prevalence of male-preferring soldiers stationed at Chateau de Desgravier, but this mystery is actually solved fairly explicitly in the text: Trooper Charles is in it for the favours; Captain Marsh feels that being with a woman would be cheating on his wife, but boys ‘don’t count’, and so on. In fact, these characters are set up as foils to the perfection that is Captain Thorne and Jack Woodvine; a true meeting of souls as well as bodies.
Some of the ideas and language seem a little dated for modern tastes (Queenie, or gypsy, for example), but these fit with the period and attitudes that the novel is set in, so are fitting in context. The structure and style are well-paced and well-written respectively, with plenty of action (in many senses) to keep the reader engaged. The affectionate banter between the two was particularly lovely, and even the snippets of poetry from Jack are both contextually fitting and emotionally moving… it made me want to see Thorne’s drawings, and listen to ‘their song’, for the full immersive experience!
Overall the character and relationship development are realistic and natural, and the plot ‘conveniences’ are amply forgiven by the fact that they moved me to tears! I totally fell for the Captain and his Trooper, and Apollo too of course, and was on the edge of my seat throughout hoping for a happy ending to their unpropitious romance.
Lovers of historical sweet romance, with some loving, consensual sex (including a bit of light S&M) will fall for this book as deeply as the main characters did for each other!
“A firm hand, Captain? But a gentle touch will do as well, sir.”
Jack looked up at the man in the saddle. He struggled to see his face with the sky so bright behind him, his face thrown into shadow. Jack had an impression of those blazing dark eyes, a strong jaw and a mouth set into a straight line. Which, as Jack continued to smile up at him, showed the slightest sign of an amused quirk at its corner.
“Forgive me, Trooper, because I may have misheard.” The captain shifted in his saddle and asked, “Did you just presume to tell me how best to handle my mount?”
– Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead, The Captain and the Cavalry Trooper
For more from Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead, check out their respective links below:
The Captain and the Cavalry Trooper releases on Amazon on 3rd April.