Title: All the Arts of Hurting
Author: Amelia Faulkner
Publisher: LoveLight Press
Pages/Word Count: 95 Pages
At a Glance: A historical novella set during WWI that may lack in heat but makes up for in heart.
Reviewed By: Jennifer
Blurb: As far as Lord Duncan Aldham is concerned, war is a thing which affects other people. He’s quite content to sit in the ancestral pile, ride his horses, and defend himself against his mother’s attempts to marry him off. So when Duncan meets the Manor’s new stable hand he’s thoroughly unprepared for the desire which the man ignites within him.
William Fossett is handsome, muscular, and utterly forbidden. A kind and gentle soul, William is a pacifist in a country which is about to force every man to test the strength of their convictions.
Confused by his yearning for Fossett, Duncan will soon be forced to work out whether he dare act upon this illicit attraction to another man – and to a Commoner, no less. But Fossett has bigger problems: the Military Service Act has been passed into law, and even absolutists are at risk of conscription…
Review: I’m always excited when new publishers pop up, especially when they focus on LGBT romance. To me the more the better because there are so many great books out there waiting to be published and read. So it was absolute joy to read one of the first titles from LoveLight Press.
I love historical fiction, especially with an m/m romance at its center. Books set during the world wars are great, but most of the time I find the book is set during WWII. Not so with All the Arts of Hurting. Set during WWI, Faulkner portrays two men who should be powerless in their situations, but overcome that to not only fight for what they believe in, but to be together as well.
Duncan is a lord, the son of an Earl who is away fighting in the war. He is at home, content, with his mother. At least he’s content until his mother starts suggesting he marry in order to prevent being sent off to fight. William is the new stable hand to the manor, and when Duncan sees him, the attraction is instant.
Of course, anyone can see the problem with this. First, there’s the class difference. As a lord, Duncan isn’t even supposed to speak with the help let alone be in a relationship with one of them. Then there’s the time period. As his mother points out, the time period is not exactly accepting of two men together, regardless of what class they are or aren’t.
But what made the book deeper for me was the reason William doesn’t want to go to war. Duncan doesn’t want him to go at first because he doesn’t want to lose the man he’s starting to love. But William doesn’t want to go because it’s against his beliefs. He is a conscientious objector, and this time period does not support that at all. But how exactly do you fight that when all men who request an exemption from the war are denied it? When even the status of your employer doesn’t allow the exemption?
I really was worried about how Duncan and William would make it work, but I think the author handled it well, and I was pleasantly surprised by the ending. There are also a few secrets revealed throughout the novella which added more depth to the characters.
Not only do I look forward to more books from this author, but I am eager to see what this new press puts out next.
You can buy All the Arts of Hurting here: