Title: The Replacement Husband
Author: Eliot Grayson
Publisher: Smoking Teacup Books
Release Date: January 4, 2019
Genre(s): Alt / Historical Romance
Page Count: 160
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Goddess-blessed Owen Honeyfield is destined to enjoy perfect good fortune, and the arrival of handsome and eligible Tom Drake in his country town appears to be just the latest manifestation. Tom’s proposal is the fulfillment of Owen’s desires, but Owen is left heartbroken and at the mercy of Arthur, Tom’s disapproving elder brother, when his betrothal takes a disastrous turn. His reputation ruined and his bright future shattered, Owen must choose between loneliness and practicality.
Arthur Drake has taken responsibility for Tom’s scandalous behavior all their lives. He doesn’t think much of his brother’s engagement, knowing that even Owen’s sweetness won’t be enough to influence Tom for the better. When Tom’s impulsive selfishness threatens to ruin the lives of everyone involved, Arthur has only one honorable choice. He’ll need to repair the damage Tom has done and fight for his own happiness, knowing all the while he may never be able to take Tom’s place in Owen’s heart.
“Replacement Husband” is set in an alt universe with a strong resemblance to the Regency era in Britain (there is mention of “that new romance Owen had borrowed from his cousin, Withering Sights, whose sneering shaggy-maned hero had spent hundreds of pages gnashing his teeth and shouting at everyone”). The main area of difference is that the goddess Mirreith is worshipped, and people born with a sigil / birthmark on their body are said to be “goddess-blessed” which means they bring good fortune to those around them. Also same-sex marriage or being gay is not stigmatized.
Young virginal Owen meets Arthur and Tom, the brothers Drake, and quickly falls in love with good-looking Tom who sweeps him off his feet and proposes marriage. But Tom turns out to be faithless and because Arthur is already half-way in love with Owen, Arthur proposes marriage to save Owen’s reputation. Their marriage is not in name only and while Owen reads like an innocent damsel in distress Arthur is intense and passionate and dear gawd, their wedding night is soooo hot.
The plot held my interest through out with twists and turns and the two men slowly realizing how much they love each other, but personally Owen’s internal monologues about Arthur (i.e. will he love me after I’m no longer virginal and no longer a “challenge”) and his excessive weepiness (along with the quivering chin, trembling eyelashes, etc.) is a bit much. However, I like the way Grayson fleshes out the MCs (and a good amount of secondary characters) and makes them all personable. I also admire how he creates this alt world and sets it in motion without unnecessary explanation. 4 strong stars for “The Replacement Husband.”
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