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Standish Paperback – November 6, 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: P.D. Publishing, Inc. (November 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933720093
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933720098
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,270,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm not a big reader of regency romance, but was intrigued by the idea of the romance in the story being between two men. But novelty isn't the only thing Standish has going for it. This book is also beautifully written, well paced, and researched with an attentive eye to detail.

I found the characters very sympathetic and refreshingly multidimensional. Society's intolerance of homosexuality can't help but be a major theme--it was regularly punished by death in Regency England--at the same time, the issue is explored with such delicacy and consideration, that I didn't feel preached to or hit over the head with it. I also found it refreshing that the two representatives of religion in the story were sympathetic to the protagonists, and struggled to understand and befriend them, despite their strong objections to homosexuality.

The sex is graphic and frequent. At the same time, it is so beautifully described, that one would be hard pressed (no pun) to be offended by it.

But most of all, this is an excellent, excellent story. Once I started, I couldn't put it down.

Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Standish is not "stand-out-ish," but it's a pretty good story, though often black and dark beyond redemption. The characters, especially Rafe, Ambrose and Fleury, are well-drawn, unique and interesting. The settings are diverse (England, Paris, Venice and a horrible British prison), and probably are accurate and mostly believable. Erastes' take on history seems passable. Isn't it interesting that our basic view of these overwhelmingly important eras in history are almost always exclusively brought to us from the perspective of the rich and privileged? Really, it's only during the prison scenes in this sotry where we gain a truer picture of real life in the 1820 in Europe.

This is a gay story with lots of gay male sex, gay male talk, gay male musings, and gay male dilemmas. For the most part, the author gets the sexual episodes nearly right, if a bit overdone. This soft male porn isn't always a realistic rendition of what sex really looks/sounds/smells/feels like. But the love, the intimacy, the closeness and the need for physical attention and affection are indeed well-portrayed. The sex really does spice up the story.

The story itself is less believable, frankly, than the sex, but it is an engaging tale. Too bad so may people are so badly damaged and so badly damage each other throughout. Sometimes, in reading stories like this, I yearn for the normal people who actually populate my life. They are every bit as interesting as these fictional ones and never quite so tragic. This story follows one disastrous episode after another in the lives of these sometimes pitiful but interesting characters.

Make no mistake. This is not literature.
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Poised to hate the man whose father made off with the title to his ancestral home, the young Ambrose Standish gets in over his head when his loathing gives way to first love and naive passion. Rafe Goshawk, a rake of a man, comes to claim more than the prized estate. He wagers a secret bid to win and eventually possess Ambrose. Without a prayer of hope in resisting, Ambrose is overtaken by the wealthy and sophisticated Rafe, and by tragic circumstances that spin them wildly out of control. Set in Georgian England, Standish brilliantly delivers in the quite eloquent language of the era a story of love between two men, their tale built upon the innate peril of opposites joined and the grave threat of social prejudice against homosexuals.

Ambrose is set to be a delicious sacrificial lamb from the beginning, his innocence and humility glittering jewels in the eyes of a cad like Rafe. Ambrose's fall is inevitable. That foreshadowing drives the plot well, though the pace moves slowly in some places. Author Erastes still manages to sustain the expected sympathy for Ambrose, also revealing hidden heart-soreness in Rafe along the way. Unraveling the complex tangle of Rafe's feelings and Ambrose's insecurities Erastes shows how Rafe's wounds fuel his utter lack of self control, which precludes his ability to confide in Ambrose about his tormented past or to root honestly into their bond. Feeling sympathy for Rafe is unexpected though it is a significant facet of his character and nuance of their journey together. Factor in an unlikely foil to both Ambrose and Rafe, and Erastes creates tangible tension through the novel's end.

Despite it's familiar arrangement of romantic archetypes this story is no boy bodice ripper.
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Format: Paperback
I anticipated this novel with some satisfaction as the genre is rare enough. It is not literature (as another reviewer comments) as are, for example, the Diane Gabaldan Lord John novels. Comparisons may be invidious, but they are necessary in this case. It would be simplistic to say the reason the sexual episodes in this novel seem wrested from another medium than the balance of the book is because the author is a woman, but then so is Gabaldan. Gabaldan handles the homoerotic component of man to man love with a defter hand. This is largely because here,the author's delineation of the novel's protagonist, Ambrose Standish, fails to offer a convincing romantic lead. I suppose I have met men who are as petulant and emotionally immature as he, but they figure nowhere as figures of romance. Standish reacts to his rape as though he were Elizabeth Bennett. The historical apercus are
sufficient to place us in Regency England convincingly, but the author should know that Ambrose could not have been reading Dracula in 1821. It was published in 1897.
I take exception to the nom de plume of Erastes, as it is misleading. The word, with its definitively, classical Greek male lover provenance, is not one to be miscast for commercial purposes. Still, despite these essential quibbles, it is probably a better novel than most in its genre. Erastes must stay her hand and reflect. Her novels can be better,as this novel shows real promise. And,she must abandon those open-ended conclusions. She betrays the reader when she offers no satisfactory denouement.
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