Briarley by Aster Glenn Gray (Amazon Associate link) is a re-telling of a Beauty and the Beast with a male/male romance, and set during WWII in England. The main character is an Anglican Parson, who was wounded in WWI, and has a bum leg. His wife and his former male lover Rupert, have both died years previously. His daughter Rose is a Nurse on the front lines in the European theater. We don’t spend much time with Rose.
The Beast is, true to form, a handsome young noble who turned away a beggar woman who turned out to be an Enchantress who cursed him to be a beast for 100 years, and if he cannot learn to love or be loved something horrible will happen that is never actually defined, but one servant seems to think that they’ll be dragged to hell. Another thinks they will be turned to stone, or pillars of salt. The servants have been rendered invisible.
It follows the standard Beauty and the Beast tropes, but eventually it dawns on the Parson that the reason the Beast didn’t love any of the woman his servants had sent for was that he isn’t into women. Which engenders the careful dancing around the subject of the Beast being a “fellow Sodomite.”
Honestly, for the time period of the setting, the attitudes of the Parson toward his own bisexuality, are progressive, but not aggressively anachronistic.
I found the progression of the relationship to be well-paced, and the different stages well-described. In no way did it feel out of character for either man to fall for the other. Nor did it feel overly rushed or contrived.
I sobbed like a baby at the end.
It isn’t a long book, I finished it in a night. I read it through my Kindle Unlimited membership, for free, but I am considering buying it outright. It isn’t a sexy book, so I wouldn’t feel too weird about a younger teen reading it. But it does have on doozy of a first kiss scene, which I am always a sucker for.
Again, I apologize for not checking back in last week. Life just got to be too much. Work isn’t going well. I’m burned out as fuck. I’m considering trying to keep myself afloat with freelance writing, but I’m worried that would cut into my ability to keep up here. And, well, there’s that pesky health insurance thing.
Granted, I haven’t been in the office much for the last few weeks, and the number of migraines has significantly dropped. I’m wondering if there is something in the building where I work that is contributing to the migraines, apart from the stress of my job. I mean, I’m trying to hold off on taking the next Emgality shot until the 10th, and I’m pretty sure I can make it.
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