A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: Two men living solitary lives meet and help each other feel whole and complete.
Blurb: Alone in his East London shop, a man known only as Dalton makes living prosthetics: bionic, mechanical limbs, from leather, metal, and magic. It’s to this little corner of the capital that Finn Croucher, an elite army marksman, travels after an accident leads to his hand being amputated.
While Dalton fashions Finn’s new hand and teaches him how to use it, he reveals some secrets long hidden, and he and Finn become lovers. But Finn must return to duty, and a string of letters becomes his only connection to the love he left in London.
Review: I don’t care for steampunk, it’s true. I, in fact, never read it. Oh I have, when pressed. I have picked up the occasional steampunk novel but always with great reluctance and the idea percolating in the back of my mind that I surely am not going to care for this genre. Anna Martin changed all that–made me, a liar. I loved this steampunk novella. Absolutely loved it!
Kid Gloves by Anna Martin explores the lives of two men who live on the margins of life. Men who prefer solitude and being alone to any other type of existence. They dismiss their loneliness by assuring themselves that they don’t need another person to fulfill them.
Finn is fresh from the battlefield, having had his hand amputated after falling from his horse and enduring the pain of the horses’ hoof crushing the bones in his hand. His only desire is to return to that same place where he can once again be a lone bowman taking out the enemy in quiet stealth. The field surgeon has sent him to Dalton, a strange man who works miracles that defy logic. Dalton is somehow able to create a mechanical hand that actually attaches itself to the severed nerve endings in Finn’s wrist. Now Finn must relearn how to use his hand, arm and fire his bow and become the strong soldier he was before the accident that took his limb.
Dalton has lived apart from society for quite a long time. Having had various lovers that each taught him more about his craft, he now quietly embraces a celibate life, helping those poor souls who are broken. From simple things like a mechanical knee to the more mystical creation of the hand he produces for Finn, Dalton remains an enigma to those around him. When Finn crosses his path, Dalton begins to see how very lonely he has been and how much he has removed himself from the company of others.
These two men reach out to each other from the silent confines of their own desperation and forge a friendship that moves steadily toward love. But Finn has never known what it is to be with a man before, and Dalton hides secrets beneath his rough outer clothing that will shock and arouse Finn more than he can imagine.
I think that author Anna Martin has such incredible skill in creating characters that are both flawed and poignant. This was a delicate story. A love story that seemed to whisper across the pages yet was so moving and beautiful it left a lasting impression. When Finn had to return to the battle, the author opted to grow the love aspect between the two men through their letters to one another. With such simple things as how they began to address each other as “my Finn” and “Your Dalton” we were drawn into their ever increasing need for each other. It was so cleverly done–so beautifully written. I found myself just swept along in this carefully paced novella. Never rushed, unfolding with simple grace, the tale wove its way into your heart, and you fell in love with these two men.
Kid Gloves by Anna Martin is a love song. Its melody is pure and sweet. I highly recommend it to you.