Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-61923-015-6
Historical Romance, 2015
Jacob Bennett was once Daniel Pierce, the favored son of a wealthy family. He turned his back to everything he knew when he couldn’t save his boyfriend from being killed by an enraged mob after they caught the two men in some public display of affection. Even more disgusting was how he begged a policeman to save his lover only to have the policeman walk away from him. He took his late lover’s first name and retreated to the countryside, where he grew a beard and spent time scowling at sheep.
Gregory Tobin, the solicitor in the title, shows up one fine day at Jacob’s farm, looking for the whereabouts of one Daniel Pierce. Tobin now has less than a month to succeed in his mission, or Daniel Pierce would be pronounced officially deceased. So far, however, he is flailing around the countryside, the poster boy of a fish out of water, until he stumbles upon Jacob’s farm. He soon deduces that the hunky rugged farmer is the fellow he is looking for. Ah, how will he convinced Jacob to come back with him to London? Maybe he’d stay around as Jacob’s farmhand and get that man to trust him a bit first.
Now, you may be thinking, oh ho, you know where this is heading. More importantly, will Jacob find out about Tobin’s mission before or after they shag, and will he behave exactly like what every fellow who feels used and lied to would do in such a plot?
The thing is, the truth is out there pretty quickly, as the authors wisely have Tobin being pretty upfront about what he is looking for to Jacob. Jacob doesn’t want to go back, and Tobin isn’t convinced that Jacob going back is the best option for everyone, considering what Jacob went through. He ends up more concerned about helping Jacob find closure. It is also about Jacob slowly healing and opening up his heart to love again.
The Shepherd and the Solicitor is an exquisite story. No, really. This one has many emotionally charged quiet scenes that have me reading every word and sighing a little inside. Obviously Jacob is not the happiest person around, but Tobin has his share of issues too, and the authors play me like a violin by making these two bond and slowly find themselves healing inside as they fall in love with one another. I also love how the two characters aren’t cookie cutter stereotypes of the sensitive soulful bottom and the broody masc2masc top. The two of them feel like characters in their own right, with depths and complexities, and their romance feels pretty real to me.
The emotional aspects of the story grab me so much that I am actually annoyed by the presence of the love scenes. I know, some readers probably find those scenes the hottest thing ever since Jesus invented Grindr, but I just want them to get everything over with so that they can resume talking and making those sad puppy eyes at one another. My goodness, are they going at it again? Stop it, stop shagging – get back to being those beautiful sad emo boys that I adore!
I also feel that the last few chapters can be a bit too melodramatic for my liking, but still, they get to show me how those guys are really into one another, so I can live with those chapters.
This story is a solid, satisfying read that sees the authors delivering a powerful punch that knocks me off my feet. I really like this one. The Shepherd and the Solicitor is worth a look if you like your tales of romantic sodomy to be topped with lots of pathos, sad puppy eyes, and tender acts of love.