*I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to the authors. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Book two in the Captivating Captains series
When an uptight countryside vet and a sexy TV star meet on the cricket pitch, they’re both knocked for six!
Henry Fitzwalter is a solid sort of chap. A respectable rural vet and no stranger to tweed, he is the lonely inhabitant of crumbling Longley Parva Manor.
Captain George Standish-Brookes is everyone’s favorite shirtless TV historian. Heroic, handsome and well-traveled, he is coming home to the village where he grew up.
Henry and George’s teenage friendship was shattered by the theft of a cup, the prize in a hard-fought, very British game of cricket. When they resolve their differences thanks to an abandoned foal, it’s only a matter of time before idyllic Longley Parva witnesses one of its wildest romances, between a most unlikely couple of fellows.
Yet with a golf-loving American billionaire and a money-hungry banker threatening this terribly traditional little corner of Sussex, there’s more than love at stake. A comedy of cricket, coupling and criminality, with a splash of scandal!
Another tender M/M romance from the pens of Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead, this one set in more contemporary times, The Captain and the Cricketer is the second in the Captivating Captains series by these authors. Each book so far is stand-alone, with different characters, plot, etc, so no need to backtrack before diving straight in here.
Despite the modern setting, this book has a nostalgic, golden-summer atmosphere; aided by the rural, small-community feel. Something like a cross between Jilly Cooper and James Herriot in tone with evil millionaires, slutty golddiggers, glamorous tv personalities and stalwart country locals mingling amongst the horses, village fêtes and W.I. jams.
Unlike most of Jilly Cooper’s rural bonkfests however, Curzon and Harkstead have created another gentle erotic novel, in which the focus is on loving, consensual sex and building a strong relationship outside the bedroom as well. Indeed, the friendship between Henry and George is my favourite aspect of the story. Despite outward appearances and self-deception they are utterly unable to shake their bonds of friendship, even before they deepen to more. Their banter as enemies and friends added a lighter touch to the deeper sentiments, which appealed to me.
There must, of course, be conflict and that mainly comes from each man’s individual struggle with his own identity and the knock-on effect that has on their relationship, with some external shenanigans thrown in by the hideous Belchers (never have I loathed a namesake more!). I did find Henry a bit fickle and melodramatic, but as his character grew and we discovered more of his family history I found him more sympathetic.
George didn’t need to grow on me. I LOVE George! EVERYONE loves George!
Definitely recommend this one for anyone who likes a well-written tender romance, with some explicit sex, an entertaining plot, and an abundance of ‘awwwwww’ moments!
Henry shoved his hands into his pockets, his soiled jacket draped over his arm. He left the jam tent and paused, watching George. His erstwhile friend posed against his car, mugging for the cameras, arms around the shoulders of grinning children. It was so easy for him, the grin, the sparkling glance – he had never been any different. The most charming boy in the South Downs. And for some reason, George had been Henry’s best friend. It seemed impossible now. Henry was boring and George glittered.
– Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead, The Captain and the Cricketer
For more from Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead, check out their respective links below:
For my review of The Captain and the Cavalty Trooper, check here.
The Captain and the Cricketer releases on Amazon tomorrow, 17th July!