Title: A Summer Pursuit
Author: Jules Radcliffe
Publisher: Loose Id
Length: 242 Pages
At a Glance: A very sweet and steamy romance with likeable characters and little angst.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: New York City, 1853.
Jake Huntington is a notorious womanizer, plunging blithely into one liaison after another, with no intention of settling down.
Ash Moore is sexier than any woman Jake has ever met. Although he has always been curious about men, Jake has never before been attracted to one. Throwing caution to the wind, Jake makes advances on Ash, and they spend a torrid night in each others’ arms.
The two men go to Jake’s home in New York City, where they embark on a lively and clandestine affair over the long, hot summer. Jake enjoys the novelty of being with Ash. He is a friend and not just a lover, but Jake has no expectation their affair will last any longer than the summer. He is shocked to find he is in love, an emotion he has avoided after a painful experience in his youth. Confronted and unsettled by his emotions, he tries to extricate himself from their entanglement.
But his heart won’t let go so easily.
Publisher’s note: This book was previously released by another publisher but has been re-edited and revised
Review: This is a 2nd Edition of this particular story and has been heavily re-edited and essentially doubled in size. If you read the original release and are debating on whether or not you should grab this second one, since I didn’t read the original release I couldn’t tell you exactly what may have been changed or where the story was expanded, but Jules Radcliffe explained the changes on her website here.
I was quite taken with this steamy tale of two young men in 19th Century America, and boy was it steamy; there are quite a lot of sexy times throughout the book. Both Jake and Ash are bisexual, though up until the day they meet, Jake had only been with women and Ash only with men. On their first meeting, Jake convinces Ash to take him to a “fancy house” for entertainment and decides to accompany Ash to help him along with his first foray into sex. As the two share Ash’s first female conquest, it is clear there is attraction between the two and they embark on a summer of enjoying each other’s company; sometimes it’s just the two of them, other times they share a lady. To the author’s credit, despite there being so many scenes, for the most part it didn’t feel repetitive to me; there was enough variation and/or emotions each time, changing it up. Even so, towards the end I was over the last couple of sex scenes, but that is because my personal preference tends to lie with character and romance development. Also, I read the book over a one day span, so I didn’t have the break between scenes as someone who tends to read in smaller increments would. If you are someone that really has issues with books having a ton of detailed sex scenes, it could be problematic because there are many and they are definitely graphic.
Ms. Radcliffe did a great job of fleshing out the characters between the in-between-the-sheets scenes, and giving them each a distinctive personality, which I really appreciate. Oftentimes when there is a lot of on page sex, the characters or the romance isn’t developed enough for me, and I am someone that likes the full course. That wasn’t the case here. The reader experiences their quiet times when they open up to one another, and there are also shenanigans to lighten it all up. Jake and his friends amused me, and reading about them and their somewhat carefree personalities (playing pranks, dancing, drinking, and just plain being together) broke up some of the seriousness. Jiffy, Waldo and Beau are a nice fit in the story, showing Jake’s fun-loving side and helping the introverted Ash out of his shell. We see Jake and Ash’s friendship through the group’s outings and are given their personalities outside of the bedroom, how well suited they are to each other. Their pranks were immature at times, but I had to chuckle because these young men were in their late teens and early twenties, so it fit for the most part.
The story is told from Jake’s POV via third person narrative, and there is a little angst, but it is not saturated. Unlike so many historical stories, the angst didn’t stem from finding themselves in a gay relationship and the fear of being discovered. To be fair, that is a valid source of angst in most of the historical stories, but it is always nice to read something where things are changed up a bit. In fact, though the need to be discreet was thought about, Jake really wasn’t ashamed of his relationship with Ash. The anxiety tended to come from Jake’s feelings about relationships in general, and personal fears he has to face once he realizes he and Ash are more than friends with benefits.
This was a very sweet and steamy romance with very little angst, and I quite enjoyed joining them as they explored 19th Century New York while falling for each other. I will definitely pick up The Winter Trail when it is re-released and see what is in store for Jake and Ash.
You can buy A Summer Pursuit here: