Title: A Position In Paris
Author: Megan Reddaway
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: August 20th 2018
Genre(s): Historical Romance
Page Count: 260 pages / 65,000 words
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
Reviewed By: CrabbyPatty
Paris, 1919. World War One is over, and wounded hero James Clarynton is struggling to face life without one leg, one eye, and the devilish good looks he had before the conflict. Now he must pay for affection, and it leaves him bitter. He’s filling the time by writing a book—but it’s the young man who comes to type it who really intrigues him.
Edmund Vaughan can’t turn down the chance to be secretary to the wealthy James Clarynton. He’s been out of work since the armistice, and his mother and brother depend on him. But he has secrets to hide, and the last thing he wants is an employer who keeps asking questions.
As they work together, their respect for each other grows, along with something deeper. But tragedy threatens, and shadows from the past confront them at every turn. They must open their hearts and trust each other if they are to break down the barriers that separate them.
A heartwarming romance with some dark moments along the way.
ABOUT THE BOOK
It Wasn’t All Fear: Actively Gay Men in Europe in 1919
By Megan Reddaway
My new novel A Position in Paris is a gay romance set in France in 1919. Wealthy James Clarynton has been wounded in World War One, and since his family disowned him after he was caught being sexually active in England, he is living in Paris, in the apartment that his gay great-uncle has bequeathed him.
So why Paris? Why did so many gay men see France and Italy as havens in the 19th and early 20th centuries?
The answer is that homosexual activity between men wasn’t illegal in those countries, as it was in Britain, Germany, the USA and many others. In France it was decriminalized with the adoption of a new penal code in 1791, during the Revolution, and this was never overturned (although a higher age of consent was introduced during the occupation of France in World War Two, and remained for some decades after).
The same laws spread to Italy briefly when Napoleon made that country part of the French empire. Things changed back with the defeat of Napoleon, but from 1890 to 1930 there was another “window” of sexual freedom for gay men in Italy.
By contrast, gay men risked prosecution in the UK consistently from 1533 until 1967, and in all US states until 1962, when the Model Penal Code suggested decriminalizing sodomy (although many states did not do so until the 21st century). Sex between women was never specifically outlawed in many countries, including the UK and some US states, which had laws against anal sex rather than laws against homosexual activity.
So when the British-Irish playwright Oscar Wilde was threatened with prosecution over his relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas, friends advised him to flee to France, where he would have been safe. Instead he stayed, fought his case in a blaze of publicity, and lost. He was given the maximum penalty of two years’ hard labour, which he served from 1895 to 1897. Then he did leave for Paris. He’d been at the height of his fame before the court case, but it all fell apart, and he died in poverty three years after his release, at the age of forty-six.
The Wilde case must have caused a lot of anxiety for other gay British men at the time and after. My other main character, Edmund, born in 1897, would have grown up knowing about it. He’s more conventional in his attitudes than James, and he doesn’t expect to have any love in his life.
But when circumstances bring him to Paris, where both attitudes and the law are very different, he meets James, who takes him on to type a book he’s writing. Then Edmund begins to see that he could have a very different life from the one he had always imagined himself living. And that’s where my story leads.
Megan Reddaway’s novel A Position in Paris was published on August 20th.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
MEGAN REDDAWAY lives in England and has been entertained by fictional characters acting out their stories in her head for as long as she can remember. She began writing them down as soon as she could.
Since she grew up, she has worked as a secretary, driver, barperson, and article writer, among other things. Whatever she is doing, she always has a story bubbling away at the same time.
For news of Megan’s gay romance releases and two free stories, visit her website.
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August 20 – Megan’s Media Melange, August 22 – Joyfully Jay, Amy’s MM Romance Reviews, Urban Smoothie Read, August 24 – Love Bytes, August 25 – Gay Book Reviews, August 27 – , August 28 – The Novel Approach, August 29 – Sexy Erotic Xciting, Mirrigold, Lillian Francis, , BooksLaidBareBoys, Virginia Lee, August 30 – Diverse Reader