Author: Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon
Pages/Word Count: 222 Pages
At a Glance: The Professor and the Smuggler is easily my favorite of this writing duos many books.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: A grumpy smuggler meets a bumbling professor and treasure is found.
An explorer at heart, former university professor Phillip Singleton’s adventures have only taken place in his imagination—until recently. Exploring the Cornish coast to research a travel book, he encounters a living example of a pirate archetype. Dark-haired, black-bearded Carne Treleaven might have been hewn from the very rock his name describes, and Phillip is eager to discover more.
Carne has little patience for the awkward, dreamy professor, an outsider who must be steered away from local secrets. He agrees to serve as a guide to seaside caves where smugglers once operated only to keep Phillip away from more recent activity.
As personalities clash, secrets unfold, and riches are revealed, the two polar opposites find the point where their similarities lay. Carne’s old beliefs are shattered by his attraction to a man and he must decide if he’s willing to take a huge step outside his familiar life and into a brand new world.
Review: I’m not going to bother beating around the bush. I adored this book, just adored it. Every single thing about it, and can say that The Professor and the Smuggler is easily my favorite of this writing duos many books. What makes this one such a wonderful read? In a couple of words: the characters.
Ex professor Phillip Singleton sets out on an adventure in his new motorcar, armed with an equally new camera, and determined to pen the ultimate travel guide of some of the more interesting historical sites in Britain. Finding himself in Par Gwynear on the Cornish coast to explore the area’s past as a hub for smugglers, Phillip couldn’t have imagined he’d soon find proof that the smuggling business was still thriving in 1905. Devon and Dee have created an absolutely charming and delightful character in Phillip. His forthright and amiable personality shone from the moment he was introduced, and as the story progressed, it revealed all the more to love about him.
When Phillip meets Carne Treleaven, we get a hint of the uphill battle Phillip has in front of him if he wants to tap any of the locals for information about their village and its past. Par Gwynear’s folks don’t take kindly to outsiders snooping around in their business—especially when some of that business isn’t exactly legal—but Phillip’s natural exuberance and enthusiasm for his project quickly finds Carne in Phillip’s employ as a guide and mediator between Phillip and the rest of the villagers, though Phillip quickly charms many of them just by being Phillip.
Carne is the dark to Phillip’s light. Where Phillip is good-natured, Carne is taciturn. They are opposites in every way, including the fact that Phillip is gay and Carne is straight. Or, at least he thought he was, and that’s where so much of the delicious tension wends its way into the story as we watch Carne’s reactions to Phillip evolve—confusion, curiosity, and finally, succumbing to his need to explore not only Phillip’s landscape but his own growing needs and feelings for the professor. These two men together were just fabulous—sexy and romantic but tempered not only by their need for complete discretion but also by their each trying to protect themselves against their own emotional connection, one that seems an inevitable part of their arrangement.
As Phillip gets far too close to the villager’s secrets, the danger begins to escalate and the tension in the story evolves into a whodunit. Someone, or perhaps several someones, wants the stranger in their midst to understand his presences is no longer wanted. It takes a village to raise a mystery, and the secondary characters we meet along the way only served to enrich this story and give it even more flavor and personality.
Short story long—I devoured every word of this book. From the plot to the characters to the setting to the suspense to the love that evolved between Phillip and Carne, I can’t think of a single thing that should keep lovers of historical romance from picking this one up.
You can buy The Professor and the Smuggler here: