Title: The Legend of Gentleman John (Dreamspinner 2018 Advent Calendar – Warmest Wishes)
Author: T. J. Nichols
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 1, 2018
Genre(s): Historical Romance, Fantasy
Page Count: 36 Pages
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Banyn, a fae, escorts the souls of children to Magh Meall, but one Christmas, he comes for a lad who isn’t quite dead, and he breaks a rule rather than wait while John fights a battle he’ll ultimately lose. So begins a long-running affair that crosses the border between life and death, the human and fae realms, and even oceans to strange countries with different gods and rules.
John Rourke renounced a religion that had no place for him and returned to the old ways. Convicted of theft, he is sentenced to transportation and suffers brutal punishment—until he escapes to live on his own terms as a bushranger. When vengeance against his tormentor consumes him and threatens his life, John finds he has only one holiday wish—to see his fae lover one last time.
“The Legend of Gentleman John” is an unexpected little jewel of a story, encompassing ancient Irish myth and turn-of-the-century Australia hard reality and featuring a transgender main character. The story is told in a non-linear manner, and we get bits and pieces of John’s heart-breaking past, a brutal exportation to Australia and a fae love that transcends time and place. There are no explicit sex scenes here, and the romance reminds me of Austin Chant’s excellent Peter Darling in the way Banyn sees John’s true nature rather than his gender. At only 36 pages, this unusual tale feels complete and I love the way TJ Nichols ends this story. 4 strong stars for “The Legend of Gentleman John.”