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
An utterly delightful regency romance.
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.
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.