Honour

Smooth elegant black silkTitle: Honour
Author: A.F.Henley
Cover artist: Megan Derr
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Amazon: Buy Link Honour
Genre: historical fantasy/pseudohistorical/ mm romance
Length: 45500 words
Rating: 2 stars out of 5

A guest review by Sirius

Summary: This is not a historical romance, but I disliked it even when I thought of it as a historical fantasy because IMO one character acted as a spoiled brat and another one as a complete moron.

Blurb:

Recently docked after a voyage abroad, Emmett wants only to find a warm bed and good food, for himself and the cabin boy he’s taken into his care. Those plans are impeded, however, by an altercation in the streets—with a man he realizes too late is England’s heir to the throne, Prince Andrewe.

When the encounter unexpectedly leads to a position in the royal household attending the prince, Emmett is not certain what to think. On one hand, it’s a reliable income and ensures the safety of his charge. On the other, it’s neither the life Emmett knows, nor an environment that he’s comfortable in. Left to learn his lessons the hard way, Emmett spends his days contending with a spoiled, infuriating prince who leaves him in a constant tangle of emotions.

Then he begins to hear whispers of treason and must make a choice: defend Prince Andrewe, or betray him.

Review:

When I see that a book belongs to the historical genre, that is what I expect to read. I do not know about you, but I often adjust my mm subgenre expectations accordingly depending on whether it is classified as a mystery/fantasy/historical fantasy/ historical or contemporary. This book was supposedly a historical romance. I checked and this is how the writer classifies it on her site, so this is what I have to go with. I do see that the publisher put it under  historical and fantasy. If this is a historical,  I at least want to know in what century the book takes place.

I am still not sure about this one. It is not Twentieth Century, that’s for sure. And America is mentioned once by one of the characters, so I guess we can cut anything before that date, but that still leaves me with 400-500 years where I am left with guessing and I did not like that. The setting was way too vague for my taste than what I expect when I pick up an alleged historical and the mentality of the characters was way too anachronistic (no matter what century you choose as a setting). The fathers of the main characters seem to be quite okay with their sons preferring men, as long as they do not advertise it of course (then they are not okay). Considering that one of those fathers was a King of England, I hope you can see my problem with that. I do not see the wealthy owner of the merchant ship being that fine and dandy with his son, his only heir, being a lover of man either.

As an aside, Prince Andrewe, with *e* at the end, the heir of the British Throne? That name grated on me so very much.

But often when I am not happy with a book which claims to be a historical, I will still like it as an anachronistic romp, when the characters are delightful and the plot is fun. Unfortunately this did not happen here either. If it was a historical fantasy, I guess I could see Andrewe at least being somewhat believable character as a completely spoiled brat acting as a selfish, immature child with disregard for anybody and anything around him.

Emmett… well, Emmett for me was not believable no matter what genre the book would belong to. He acted as a complete moron as far as I am concerned. The blurb hints that he may (or may not) betray Prince Andrewe, but do not worry as I will not tell you whether he did or not. What I will tell you is that I did not see convincing reasons for the vast majority of his decisions and actions throughout the book. He decides one thing, then in midair he changes his mind and decides to do another thing; he comes to a completely irrational conclusion, then changes his mind again and *truly expects that other people would change their plans too just because he did no matter how irrational that conclusion was*. He is 26 years old, and note if this is a historical, he should be not just a mature adult, but somebody who has at least some sort of wisdom to know what to expect and how to communicate with other people. Unfortunately he did not. Please note that I do not necessarily have a problem with some of Emmett’s actions – I love flawed heroes. What I have a huge problem with is that I did not see convincing reasons for those actions in the story and instead of coming off as flawed, the majority of his actions just made absolutely no sense.

Oh and there is a sweet kid/teenager in this story who I thought acted with more maturity than any of the two main characters.

Not recommended.

Emiliana

I had the same problem with the book and while I liked Emmett at the very beginning, him sticking up for his friend, boy was I surprised when he changed his tune about monarchy after meeting the prince. The whole story just went downhill from there.
I studien history in University and have a Bachelor in History and no, I don’t think one could clearly tell the time period, which should not be necessary in a historical novel. 🙂

Raine

I got quite annoyed with this book, it was not based on any English history I have come across and I did not think the main characters acted like real people of any century. Emmett seemed remarkably unconcerned at being virtually pimped out by his father!

The writer’s site mentioned 1600’s, which left it late Elizabethan or Stuart, both periods are distinctive. If it was meant to be an alternative world England there was still not enough to make it work, other than as an olde worlde fantasy. This one was not for me .

Val Kovalin
You make a good point, Sirius. As a reader, I will accept any (well-written) world building in a made-up fantasy kingdom — such as total acceptance of homosexuality. But as soon as the author specifies a real location like Britain with its own rich history, I expect the author to stick with the basic historical facts such as the overwhelming importance of procreation and male heirs. (I mean look at what Henry VIII felt he had to do to get a male heir, and the bloodshed he started between Protestant and Catholic continues to this day.) If an author sets… Read more »
Crissy M
See…I disagree. Yes, Andrewe is annoying and selfish in the beginning, but he does grow up through the course of the story. And I don’t really think that Emmett is a moron. He had strong, rebelliious objections about the monarchy from the beginning from the beginning and although he fell for Andrewe and began to doubt those objections, Thomas played off of his doubts. But in the end he realized his mistakes. And I think historical is the best category for this story. I really can’t see any fantasy in it other than the king and his being okay with… Read more »
Mara Yollick

But you shouldn’t have to estimate the time period. The author should have made that clear in the story. Especially in historical fiction or romance, we want to know when we are, as well as where.

The author also needs to be clear about whether she’s writing historical romance or fantasy romance. Otherwise, readers who buy the book believing it’s historical romance are not going to trust this author again.

Crissy M

Hi Sirius! You’re right you shouldn’t have to estimate the time period…It happens to be a favorite of mine so it was easier for me to kind of estimate as I was reading.

And when I got to thinking about it, the story does have sort of a fairytale quality so I can see it labeled as fantasy. So you’re right, there should be a distinction…I could see both historical and fantasy.

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