Title: The First Act
Author: Vanessa Mulberry
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 17, 2016
Genre(s): Gay romance, historical read, mystery/suspense, actors, spies
Page Count: 215 pages
Reviewed by: Natosha
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
April 1594. William Moodie thinks he’s in love with celebrated actor, Richard Brasyer. When Brasyer’s playing company, Goldfox’s Men, comes to town, William is only too willing to leave his country life for the opportunities of the theater and a life in London. Determined to become Richard’s apprentice, William seeks to impress his mentor with his acting—and please him in bed.
Meanwhile, Richard struggles to escape his past as a spy and disentangle himself from the manipulations of his former master and ex-lover, Bennett Goldfox. Swearing off a relationship with his new apprentice proves difficult for Richard, as William uses all his youthful charms to seduce him. When Bennett’s life is threatened, Richard is lured back into the game for one final mission, and he and William travel to Cambridge to hunt down a list of traitors to the Crown.
In the midst of danger and deception, Richard and William come to truly see each other, faults and all, and realize their feelings run deeper than either expected.
I have to admit that when I realized this book was written about historical times, I was honestly dreading reading it because there have been so very few historical books that I have been able to enjoy. Regardless I was not going to let that sway me from reading it because I am a firm believer in giving each book is fair chance. I am glad I do because this book turned out to be very interesting. It actually kept my attention once I started reading it and the further into it got the more I was held captive wondering what the ending would be.
William in my opinion is a very smart individual even though when people look at him they think he is wide eyed and innocent because of his young age. I found that through reading about him that if he did not know something or how to best approach an issue, he became inventive with his approach to the lack of knowledge or he asked questions until he was able to come up with his own solution. William may be a farm boy by heart but he has skills that no one would expect from him and he is good with coming up with things off the top of his head at a moments notice. Even when he finds himself in a situation he has never been in, he has a way about him that helps others to find him relatable so therefore they put their trust in is being only an innocent, which is good for him in sticky situations that he finds himself in.
Richard in my opinion is very jaded in views of others but with good reason. He put his love as a young man in the wrong hands and for years that has been used against him to do Bennett’s biding. Even after all these years I think that Richard still seeks Bennett’s love even though he will never get it and Richard is fully aware of that but still cannot resist Bennett. Bennett knows how to manipulate Richard to do the jobs that he wants Richard to do and he knows what to say in order to get Richard back into his bed.
Those things start to change slowly after Richard meets William. Richard I bekeieve is intrigued with him from the moment he first meets him but keeps him at arms length, which is not a Richard like thing to do. Normally he will have a new apprentice in his bed as quickly as possible but there was something different in the way that Richard was towards William. Reality is that should have been an eye opener for Richard but like with most, it took a lot more time for Richard to realize his true feelings for William. It took Richard being in a dangerous situation and by association bringing danger to William also for Richard to evaluate who he would protect at all costs. Would it be Bennett or would it be William?
This book had a lot of intrigue and suspense through out it. It was hard to figure out how Richard was going react to a situation and who his loyalty lies with. I found myself throughout this book wondering who Richard was going to chose and if he was going to keep pushing William to the background and keep choosing Bennett over him.
The only thing I can say that I did not like about the book is the list. There was never any real explanation as to what the list was truly about and I felt there should have been more answers about this because that list played a huge part in this book. I felt like a key factor to this story was left out and that left me questioning why it was even in the book if there was not going to be more to the list and the questions surrounding it. I felt like Vanessa left out a major part of the story by not bringing the reason for the list to light for the reader. Too many questions left in my opinion about the importance of the list.
Regardless this was a very interesting and intriguing read and I did enjoy it regardless of my first worries about it being a historical book. I enjoyed reading it and watching both William and Richard finding their way.
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