Title: Patron
Author: C.B. Lewis
Publisher: DreamSpinner Press
Release Date: June 21, 2017
Genre(s): Historical Supernatural Romance
Page Count: 78
Reviewed by: iHeartTropes
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Theodore Wentworth, who possesses little more than a sharp and well-educated mind, is trying to solicit a sponsor for his studies of Greek antiquity by performing recitations at gatherings of collectors. Desperate for luck and better skills in oratory, in jest, he places a coin at the feet of a statue of Hermes. It seems like coincidence when his fortune turns and a gentleman calling himself Alexander becomes his benefactor. Despite his friend John teasing him about it, Theodore continues to offer tokens to Hermes and sinks himself into his study of the classics.

Alexander encourages Theodore’s interest, prompting Theodore to face desires he tried to put aside years before. As Theodore embraces the knowledge, he must also resist his attraction to Alexander—knowing his feelings are a serious crime in Victorian England.

But the secret Alexander keeps will change everything in a love story for the ages, steeped in taboo, temptation, history, and myth.

The rich imagery enchanted me from the very first paragraph to the final word of Patron, by C.B. Lewis.  An antiquities room shrouded in candlelight is brought to vivid, unsettling life in the opening scene where Theodore, a humble student of Greek history, offers a shilling to the god Hermes in exchange for eloquence in his upcoming performance.  This young man is about to read the Iliad, in the original greek, before an audience of learned gentleman who make up the upper echelons of Victorian London society.

As it turns out, Theodore’s semi-public reading goes incredibly well.

His success begets many beneficial connections and opens several doors for Theodore, all of which he cautiously attributes to Hermes.  This marks the onset of a mystery as delicate and catching as a spiderweb.  Theodore’s offerings are mysteriously disappearing and his requests are being granted; there’s enough plausible deniability to leave the reader guessing, but the order of events suggests divine interference.

All the mystery winds up Theodore’s growing attraction to Alexander, an enigmatic gentleman of high standing who embodies everything our young scholar doesn’t dare hope for.

The mystery built in this story is delightful—especially if you enjoy a splash of the supernatural in your romance—and the descriptions are both picturesque and informative.  For example, the description of the statue of Hermes is a tool effectively applied to the plot.  The stone facial features are cast in shadow, but the smile is visible, conveying a dominant personality that’s benevolent and sinister in equal measure.  This suggestion of power is enticing, and the reader spends the journey trying to decide if the love interest, Alexander, is Hermes personified on Earth.  The taboo angle of romancing a God (even a Greek one) is sinfully delicious, driving you to turn the page for the next encounter.  All of this culminates in a very satisfying conclusion.

Short and sweet, this story is swiftly paced.  Though there is no erotica, the chemistry between the characters is palpable.  I fervently hope for a sequel, though this story is complete on its own.

I cannot recommend Patron enough—this is one book I’ll be returning to for multiple reads.

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Patron provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.
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