A serious effort, but…
Publisher’s blurb: Long Journey Into Darkness is the dark tale of love and romance between cousins that turns fatal. Very Gay, Set in England turn of the century, coming to New York to start again only to be followed by the past, finding love and ………..there is however a little stage drama, murder and more. This book is intended for adults.
Available in Kindle format – 362 kb.
Review by Gerry Burnie
Long Journey Into Darkness by JW [Amazon Digital Services] is a serious work of fiction, and because of this it deserves a respectful discussion. Otherwise, I think I would be inclined to dismiss it.
Technically it is quite well written (apart from a few typos), and for the most part the syntax reads smoothly. The ending is also clever, and certainly unpredictable. However, for my money that is about the extent of the really good things that can be said.
The plot, if taken in a straight line without meandering and doubling back on itself, starts off sometime in the early 1900s in Princeton Place, a dreary mining town in England, where the principal character, Ethan Morris, has come to visit his girlfriend, Edna—even though we are told that he has or had a lover by the name of Robert Morris, a wealthy cousin. This is a quandary that prevails throughout the story, for Ethan can’t seem to decide whether his is gay (which he professes), or heterosexual in his close relationships with at t least three women.
Ethan is a thread-bare poet to start, but a railroad ride later his is unexplicably catapulted into the high life as he awaits passage on the “Elletania” for New York. Thus began my distraction as I tried to figure out how this came to be. Oh, there are clues when a salesman (of something) mysteriously contacts him in Liverpool, which obliquely suggested that he has somehow changed places with his shoe-manufacturing cousin, Robert.
The voyage from Liverpool to New York is eventful only in the sense of meeting a cast of secondary characters; most significantly an actress by the name of Luella Ambrose who takes an immediate liking to Ethan. Miss Ambrose is expectantly glamorous, but she is also both insightful and perceptive, and it is not long before Ethan and she become soul mates. It is not long, either, before Ethan reveals that he is gay, and that he has drowned his cousin back in Princeton Place—all of which Ms Ambrose accepts with nary a raised eyebrow.
In New York Ethan is mistaken for Robert Morris, which he accepts while staying at the Waldorf, but then he quietly disappears to become Franklin Hope, a playwright. Meanwhile, the newspapers all announce the mysterious disappearance of Robert Morris.
In his guise as Franklin Hope he meets his second female soul mate, Miss Cheryl Wilson, a typist with a seemingly permanent chip on her shoulder. Nonetheless, it isn’t too long before he reveals his turbulent past to her, as well, and once again it meets with very little shock on her part.
Personally, I found the line of the story difficult to follow to the point of distraction. I think this is because the characters were all very difficult to pin down. Yes, they were distinct, and eccentric, but they were also inconsistent. Similarly, in order to create an air of mystery (I think) the story meandered about, hinting at this and that, but failing to make a point that one could grasp onto. Therefore, rather than being mysterious it was merely confusing.
Nonetheless, I recognize the amount thought and effort that went into writing this work, and can readily say there is talent behind it. However, for now two and one-half stars.
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A message from Erastes re: Ides of pride book swap
PLEASE – even if you aren’t going to participate – could you disseminate this far and wide? It would be so good to have loads of people involved
The economy is biting us all– more and more I see people say they can’t afford to buy the book they’d like to buy.
SO! Let’s cock a snook to the economy. (Non Brits may need to look that up.)
I’d like to have an “IDES OF PRIDE BOOK SWAP“ on Speak Its Name (www.speakitsname.com) on the 15th of June.
It’s a simple idea. If you have a gay historical book that you would like to swap for something you haven’t read – be it electronic or paper, EMAIL ME (email@example.com) with the details and I’ll put up a post for you
It can be your own book, or simply one you have in your collection. Of course you are welcome to include more than one!
NOW. I’m NOT avocating file sharing here–but the Kindle allows one transfer of each book on your device, so it’s perfectly legal and hopefully it will bring in more readers for you and for all of us — and the readers will be able to discover things they might not have usually tried. Publishers will allow a certain amount of downloads too, so you could use those.
People who want that book will then answer the post with their own swap–or a selection of what you’d like to offer, and it will be up to the original poster to choose which one they’d like. Let me know, and I’ll match up the swap.
It’s like Noel Edmonds’ swap shop. But gay. Oh. OK. That analogy doesn’t really work, as that show was already extraordinarily gay.
Please please please join it–would be fun to make this an annual event–and it will certainly help people get hold of books they can’t afford. You can swap as many books as you like–and don’t renege, or you won’t be allowed to play next time.
Gay Historical Fiction