A Promise of Tomorrow

Title: A Promise of Tomorrow
Author: Rowan McAllister
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: M/M historical romance
Length: 214 pages
Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

A guest review by Jenre

Summary Review
An utterly delightful regency romance.

THE BLURB

Lord James Warren, Viscount Sudbury, lives a quiet, safe, and predictable life alone on his estate in Suffolk, only traveling to London once a year to visit family and satisfy his more forbidden needs. But this year, his routine is shattered when his niece and nephew ask him to help a beautiful young man they’ve only just met.

Kyle Allen, alone and running from his abusive lover, stirs feelings in James he has long denied for fear of tarnishing his reputation and losing his family’s love. Though undeniably drawn to Kyle, James’s honor demands he keep that part of himself completely secret, even if Kyle is feeling the attraction as well, despite the pain and betrayal he’s recently suffered.

Assistance and a future for Kyle might be secured, but then they would face a choice: stay apart and continue leading half-lives… or risk everything for love.

THE REVIEW

My first real romance love was Regency romances, and I’ve pretty much devoured the genre over the years. I’ve always felt it a shame that there weren’t more m/m romances set in the Regency era and so was thrilled when I saw this one at DSP. I’m happy to say it didn’t disappoint at all.

James, Lord Sudbury is on his annual forced sojourn to London at the end of the ‘season’. He’d much rather be spending the time hiding in his country estate than avoiding young chits and their marriage minded mamas, but feels obliged to spend some time with his sister and her family. When his nephew and niece ‘rescue’ a young man, Kyle, from his violent male lover, James feels compelled to help him get back on his feet, all the while trying to avoid the strong attraction he feels for Kyle.

As I said, I’m a big fan of Regencies, and so I was quickly immersed in the setting and characters. I really liked James and sympathised with him at the start of the book. He hates crowds, likes the simple life in the country and knows that no matter how many women cross his path, he’s never going to find any of them attractive. However, he also understands duty and family, and genuinely loves his sister and her children. He’s as far away from a Regency rake as you can get, being kind, generous and a generally nice bloke. I also felt sorry for James as he self-deludes himself into thinking that his lonely life is enough, and that he can live without love if it means his family is safe from scandal. One of the most rewarding parts of this book was watching the way that Kyle creates complete havoc in James’ ‘safe’ life and seeing the war within himself between duty and love.

Kyle too is a very sympathetic character. He’s made some very dreadful errors in his recent past and is now living with the consequences of that. He’s also facing up to some truths about himself, and spends much of the book embarrassed over what has happened, mortified that he is having to rely on friends to help him, and fighting his strong attraction to James. Sometimes, when characters are attracted to each other, but refuse to face up to that attraction, it can be tedious, but I never felt that with this book. I enjoyed the delicious tension which came from knowing that sooner or later the two men were going to succumb to their attraction and that it would be immensely satisfying when that happened. Which it was, of course, with well written, hot but emotional sex scenes. I also liked the way that Kyle grew and matured as the book progressed.

Those of you looking for a detailed Regency setting may be a little disappointed as this setting was a little ‘wallpaper’. I didn’t mind that too much, after all I’m not that interested in the type of carriages they ride in, or other such details. What was accurately shown, was the turmoil that James feels over his attraction to Kyle, and how that would affect his family and his standing in society should it ever be known. I thought the way this situation was resolved at the end was very much in keeping with what might have happened at the time, and I was satisfied with the HEA.

There were other things I liked too, such as the secondary characters of James’ niece and nephew; the little ways that James copes with being a gay man in society and the lovely way that the lust between the heroes gave way to tender feelings. In fact I only have one niggle about the story and that is that the villain was a little over-the-top in the way he acts, but I still found it gratifying when he got his comeuppance.

Overall, this was a pretty terrific historical romance. I found it completely absorbing and couldn’t bear to put it down. If you like historicals, especially regency ones, and are looking for a story with great characters, good writing and a compelling plot then this book is for you. I enjoyed A Promise of Tomorrow a great deal and would highly recommend it.

21 comments

  • Sirius, don’t worry, I will read the story. 🙂 As you said, the perception of characters is very subjective, so I decided to find out for myself.

    Any yes, I have “Gentleman and the Rogue” in my TBR and am looking forward to reading it. I heard lots of good things about this story, with nobody ever hinting to a “chick with dick” scenario. 😉

    Come to think of it, I have yet to read a serious “chick with dick case”, since I can’t really remember any. But that’s maybe because m/m Regencies don’t hold the same appeal for me as they did as m/f. (which I can’t explain, btw) So either I’ll remember my m/f days when reading this book or not. Let’s find out! 😉

    • As I said Lilli, I didn’t feel that Kyle fell under the ‘chicks with dicks’ category (a phrase I rather dislike). Yes, he’s sensitive and overwhelmed at times, but he also endeavours to make the best of his life and tries to make things better, for which I admired him.

      Hope you enjoy the book, Lilli :).

  • I already added this to my TBR, Jen, so thanks for your thorough review.
    Although, Sirius’ comment about the “chick with dick” protag made me a bit hesitant. But I’ll give it a try anyway as it’s all a question of personal perception, right? 🙂

    • Lily, please do not let my comment to stop you from buying the book. This is one of the most subjective things, how we view the chararacters, right?

      For me, yes, he definitely was, but maybe you will find that he was not at all. Personally I find that Regencies authors produce the most of them ( characters who are male in name only), I can count on the fingers of my both hands and I will probably still have fingers left of the Regencies where I cannot substitute the name of the younger guy with the female name and nothing in the story will change. But I keep looking since I adore Regencies. Have you read “Gentleman and the Rogue” by Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon and “Seducing Stephen” by the same authors? I loved them, period and I thought they managed very well to avoid “chick with dick” pitfalls. But this is my very subjective opinion and the book is very well written, do give it a chance. 🙂

  • Your review has totally caught my attention. I like regency romances so I’m off to check it out.

  • I loved how this one was written too, I loved settings, also found very refreshing that James was a nice guy, unfortunately Kyle annoyed me, he was just such “chick with dick” for me, that it spoiled the enjoynment of otherwise very well done story for me. Just my opinion of course and thank you for a great review.

    • Hi Sirius
      Glad you liked the book too :). I didn’t have the same reaction as you to Kyle. He was very insecure and did cry quite a bit, but some of that was understandable given the upheaval in his life. However, I can see how he could be likened as similar to the female role in an m/f Regency.

  • Oh, sounds like the perfect historical for me – I hate all the details that bog down so many historicals! Thanks for the review, Jen.

    • You’ve amazed me, Chris. Usually you avoid historicals like the plague :). Yes the lightness in the setting would be good for those who don’t like to get bogged down with detail.

  • Jen, you got my attention, too, with this one. It sounds like fun! How refreshing that the one guy is generally a nice bloke. The Regency rake is just way too common in most Regency romances!

    • Hi Val
      It was fun, and a good all round read. I agree, the Regency rake is too common a character so it was nice to have James as a decent guy.

  • I’m not sure from your review, Jenre, how much time is spent in the country. I bought this last week based solely on the fact that it is the Earl of Sudbury from Suffolk. As a Newmarket residence I’m really looking forward to reading a book set close to home – will I be lucky?

    • Hi Rachel
      The first part of the story is set in London, but then the setting shifts to Suffolk and takes place mainly in the country seat of the Viscount. Some of the book also takes place in Bury St. Edmunds, but I have no idea how accurate it is in terms of street names, etc. I’ve only been to Bury St. Edmunds once as a child so I can’t remember much about it.

      • Hi Jenre – having read this now, I’m pretty sure that Kentwood Hall is based on the real life Kentwell hall: http://www.kentwell.co.uk/
        This is an Elizabethan House, just outside Sudbury and interestingly, about 15 miles from Bury St Edmunds. It now holds a lot of recreations from past life.

        BSE is only used as a name for a town in a Promise of Tomorrow and there is no detail. This is unfortunate because it is a lovely town which owes much of its attraction to its Georgian architecture – which I think would have been very modern at the time in which the book is set. I am particularly fond of BSE, and went to school there, so was spurred on even more to read the book. I don’t know if the series about the antique dealer Lovejoy was shown in the US, but it was filmed in the area upon which the book is based.

        Hope some of this detail helps add to the atmosphere of this enjoyable read.

        Is it my imagination, or is there a touch of the historical yaoi about this book?

        • Hi Rachel
          As I’m from the UK, I do remember Lovejoy but it’s that long since I’ve seen it, I can’t remember where the programme was set. You are right Suffolk is a beautiful County. As I said I only visited BSE as a child and was more interested in the cinema and the shops than the architecture at the time, lol! But it does sound like a little bit of a missed opportunity not to have added some details of the town. Perhaps the author chose the town based on research into the nearby hall, but didn’t have enough detail to be able to accurately describe BSE. It’s better that the details are vague than wrong :).

  • Wonderful review Jen. I love that Kyle creates complete havoc in James’ safe life. I will check this book out soon. Thanks!

    • Hi TJ

      Thanks :). It’s one of my favourite of the historical story lines – when the dull, staid life of one character is completely overturned by the arrival of another character in his life.

  • *Looks up, bleary-eyed, from massive in-progress writing projects* Did you say “pretty terrific historical romance?” *Eyes half-finished manuscript, sighs, then rereads compelling review* Okay, you’ve definitely got my interest, but if my editor asks, you haven’t seen me here in weeks.

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