Title: Measure of a Man
Author: Maggie Lee
Cover artist: Reese Dante
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Amazon: Buy Link The Measure of a Man
Genre: historical lite mm romance
Length: 206 pages
Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius
Summary: I liked the writing and the characters as much as I liked them in the first story in this series, but unfortunately it still did not quite work for me as a historical.
Sequel to The Mark of a Man
After narrowly escaping the sinister plotting of Anthony Arlen’s City Guard and the wrath of the outlawed Sun League, Kit Porter and his friends, Alec Weston and Robert Warren, must flee or risk capture—or worse. With enemies dogging their every move, the friends risk a brief, heartbreaking meeting with Kit’s mother before pushing on to the town of Ludlow. There, they enlist the aid of Jamie McEwen, a rich merchant and old friend of Alec’s, who offers them a way out. But in order to make good their escape, they must first reach Boston, a port city on the other side of the country.
The tense journey across England tests Alec and Kit’s growing feelings for each other, while forcing Robert to confront unresolved guilt over past loyalties and actions. Just when escape seems within reach, the Sun League closes in, and the three friends face a desperate battle to evade the awful fate in store for them.
I reviewed The Mark of a Man, the first story in these series here and while as you can see I had issues with it, I was really attracted to the writing and to the characters, therefore when I saw that second book was out I could not resist, and I decided I wanted to read about the continuation of their adventures. The blurb pretty much sums up their story for you – they are running away for dear life, because powerful and/or dangerous people want them arrested and/or dead.
I still liked how the story was written; it flows well and it has that gentle and sweet feel to it, despite the danger the main characters face. All three characters are extremely likeable and if I were to think about this story as a AU historical fantasy, it would have probably worked better for me.
Unfortunately as a historical it still does not work for me, despite the fact that the author clearly made a concerted effort to better orient this story in time. For example one of the characters in the story served under Roger Mortimer, so of course I could see that this is happening in 14th-Century England. There are a couple more pointers like this one, but I still felt that the mentality of the main characters is too modern for 14th Century. In the first book I felt that Alec discussing his love for men as a given with Robert really did not ring true for a historical. In this book again I could see that the effort was made to explain it, but I still did not feel that it made sense. I just did not buy that it would have been that easy for anybody brought up in those times to accept that your friend is attracted to men with enough ease.
But that’s not the only occasion when I felt that the characters suffer from a too modern mentality. Yes, Alec was shown to be an honorable man, but I was having trouble with him being so chivalrous that he would let go the people who were sent to arrest him and brought him and his companions to arrest and possible death even if he previously served with them. It just again did not make sense to me. Alec’s behavior felt stupid instead of chivalrous. I mean, I guess the author was going for a true knight kind of thing, but medieval chivalry as far as I know was such a selectively applied thing (I could be wrong of course) that in this instance it just felt off.
Another example (even if in a roundabout way in my opinion) of the not very historical mentalities was to me the evil female of this story. Some of you may know how I feel about the evil females in the mm stories – if they are the only woman in the story of course. I just start to twitch when the only woman in the story is a villain, because while women can be horrible villains, but I just want to see that this is not the only role they could be cast in these stories. Here however the problem with this character for me was a little different. She was not the only woman in the story, so her evillness as part of type casted role of being a woman did not really bother me, but why are her views on not accepting and hating the fact that her son is attracted to men are treated as anomaly in the 14th- Century England? It just felt weird to me that what to me felt as normal views of somebody in that time were castigated as something so abnormal. I am not saying that these views should have been celebrated obviously, but I just felt that the way it was portrayed was again off.
And despite all of the issues I described above I still liked the writing and will be looking forward to more books from this writer.