Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it. – G.K. Chesterton
When Danny Costessey falls for a man, he literally falls… Okay, literally, he falls from a tree and concusses his noggin and breaks a few assorted bones, too. But it’s that fall that leads him to Philip Luccombe. So, in a way, he falls… never mind. It’s Danny’s pilfering ways that lead him to the tree that leads to the fall that leads to the bed that Philip owns, and he’s allowing Danny to convalesce in that bed after the fall that could’ve proven fatal were it not for the gamekeeper on the Luccombe estate, who isn’t Danny’s biggest fan, by the by, though he found Danny and brought him ‘round anyway.
Poacher’s Fall and Keeper’s Pledge are a lovely twosome set in post World War I England, which tell the story of a forbidden love between a wealthy man, and a man of lesser means who is caught trespassing on his estate and poaching the game. They shouldn’t really fit together, Philip and Danny, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that they’re both men living in a time when their love was a crime. But fit they do, because so many times what is supposed to be and the contradiction of what truly is, is what makes for the most rewarding kind of love story.
JL Merrow is so accommodating, isn’t she? She is. If I ever became supreme ruler over my very own queendom where I could pick and choose all my favorite fictional characters to populate my weird little fantasyland, some of hers would be on my neighborhood planning committee. She gives me characters to embrace and then puts them in situations where the improbable becomes a possibility that means loving each other in spite of—and sometimes even as a result of—the odds against them. And there were plenty of odds against Danny and Philip, to be sure, including a tangle of misunderstandings when Philip’s family arrives for the holidays. And then there’s Danny’s younger brother to contend with, as well as a scandal that could throw Philip and Danny’s close friendship under the microscope of public scrutiny. But, hey, where would a good love story be without a sticky wicket or two to get around?
I’m not sure if there will be more coming from Ms. Merrow beyond this little duet. She always seems to leave me wanting more at the end of her books, so I’ll just sit and wait and hope that I haven’t heard the last of the Misters Luccombe and Costessey. If not, at least they’ve lived and loved a full life in my imagination.
If you’re a fan at all of JL Merrow’s work, I feel fairly confident in saying you’ll be happy to have added these books to your TBR pile.