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Pure Folly by Madelynne Ellis

Pure Fully is an historical romance with a bit of gothic and eroticism thrown in the middle to spice the things. Alastair is the second son of a noble and wealthy family and even if it's not exactly said in the book, I have the feeling that he both regrets than enjoys the freedom he has from being a second son; no one is expecting something from him, his mother is not pressuring him to marry, his father is not insisting he does something worthy in his life, he probably has an allowance that let him live in a comfortable way, he can do whatever he likes inside the boundaries of good society, and he doesn't know what to do! Better something he knows, he is in love with Jude, the soon-to-be fiance of his cousin Charlotte, but loving Jude is not something he is allowed to do, neither if he is a second son and so it's not asked from him to produce an heir.

Truth be told, Alastair doesn't exactly know what loving a man means; he has sexual fantasies on Jude, but for him it's a first experience, and he is deeply convinced that it's a sin, and so he tries to shun the idea from his mind and body. Probably due to his tentative denial, Alastair doesn't realize that the attraction is mutual and that Jude is not at all the unaware object of his desire. Jude knows and actually he is waiting for Alastair to loose his battle with his conscience. But when that battle lasts too long, Jude looses his patience and forces a bit the hand; when a bet with Charlotte and Viola (Alastair's sister) dare both men to spend a night in a gothic temple in the garden (a pure folly of the time, both the temple than the bet), Jude plans to seduce Alastair if the man will not willingly surrender to his inner desires.

Most of the story is a pure historical romance, without any paranormal event; but almost to the end, a secret in the closet of Alastair's family comes out in the most unexpected way, a ghost who claims his toll after years of denial, and Alastair is the man who has to fulfill that request. I like that the paranormal event arrives so late in the story, since this novel is a very good historical novel and I prefer for it to be defined more from the historical genre than the paranormal one. Alastair's struggle with his inner demons, the fear for something unknown that prevents him to see that the interest his mutual, is dealt with a good hand for a novella; probably Alastair would never allow to his desire to become clear, not realizing that what he felt was not some sinful deviation of his mind, but something that could be common among his peers: Alastair has never had the chance to be in contact with that reality.

On the other hand, Jude had time to digest and analyze the matter; when he was still young he was "molested" by an older man, but even if he didn't particularly like the man, he liked the act. He had then another chance to "taste", and this only reinforce his belief that he actually prefers men over women. But unlike Alistair, Jude has to marry and produce an heir, and so he is planning to do it as soon as possible to then spend the rest of his life as he prefers. Here probably is the big difference between Alastair and Jude, in the way they "feel", Alastair so strong and impulsive, Jude more daring but at the same time more calculator; they are both probably an example of how a man in that period would face the matter, someone like Alastair would flight abroad or live in denial for all his life, someone like Jude would build a safe nest around him, far from society, but maintaining the privileges from being a member of it. The author chooses to not tell us who is wrong or who is right, probably since there is nor wrong or right, and so both men, Alastair and Jude, come out as likable characters (even if, if I'm to be true, I prefer the impulsive Alastair, who, in a way, would have preferred to not compromise for their love) and the final solution is a real and possible one.

http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=474

Amazon Kindle: Pure Folly
Publisher: Total-E-Bound Publishing (May 25, 2009)

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