Title: Manners & Mannerisms
Author: Tanya Chris
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: November 7, 2019
Genre(s): Regency Romance
Page Count: 223
Reviewed by: Bob-O-Link
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Everyone in Highley eagerly anticipates the arrival of Reginald Abernathy, the new master of Albon Manor. Everyone, that is, except Lord William Bascomb. William knows he’ll be expected to woo Reginald’s sister, and he can’t summon the interest for it. But when the Abernathys arrive at last, William discovers he’s interested after all—in Reginald. Reginald is the most handsome, most dashing, most intriguing man he’s ever known. Better yet, he seems to share William’s preference for men.
The addition of the Abernathys to Highley suits everyone. William’s sister adores Reginald’s, Aunt Harriet foresees many happy matches between the two families, William’s sister-in-law is pleased at the prospect of unloading her penniless relatives at last, and all the eligible ladies in Highley want the man who only has eyes for William.
Against a backdrop of elegant balls and frolicking picnics, William and Reginald enjoy furtive moments of ecstasy until a scandal erupts, forcing William to choose between Reginald and the only life he’s ever known.
See how many matches Aunt Harriet can make in this low-angst, warm and fuzzy Jane Austen-inspired M/M Regency romance.
“RAMPANT GAY EROTICISM REVEALED IN REGENCY ENGLAND”
That would be quite the headline, were there an open and scurrilous press in the 18th
Century. But, if so, Manners & Mannerisms would more likely be an exposé rather than a
light and bright work of fiction. Nonetheless, approaching this novel as a reconstructive
look at our gay antecedents, we can view their coming out and gay self-recognition, well
presented in the style of the Regency romance. The novel is particularly for those who
find that style engaging, and Ms Chris has properly honored the genre. Many lords, ladies
and the less titled are imbued with homoerotic desires, and ultimately find satisfactory
expressions for them. The novel also provides its compliment of expected characters –
a busybody aunt, a lord of the manor without any connection to its economic
realities, a snooty lady ruling the manor, “uncivilized” colonials, laborers preying on
ignorant superiors. There is a part for every classic ilk.
Ms Chris, blessedly, has here inserted sufficient psychological self-awareness as to
relate the story’s flow to our own times. William, a second son (i.e., almost without
family value), feels he has missed life’s opportunities – even though life had likely offered
him none. The women are particularly aware of the marginal value attributed to them – unless
they are fortunate enough to be heiresses.
Some of the language and episodes burst through the conceit of a period romance. In an
early erotic scene, William brilliantly engages his own mirror image in sexual play. The
heroes frequently approach the proximity of each other in erotic dances of teasing.
Eventually, seduction occurs – politely but determined: “Ah, you innocent creature.
There is so much, Lord William, so much men like you and I might do together. Will you
let me show you?”
In a salute to modern tastes, the author offers us the proper steps for a full sexual
relationship: first, a kiss; then a little mutual masturbation; fellatio next; and finally,
glorious coitus! All this is accomplished with the total awareness, were their actions
known, of the severe penalties that society would apply.
The reader is well presented with the pre-Stonewall conundrum, expressed by William: “It
seems the world would tell me I’ve behaved very badly these last few days. It tears at me
that such joy should also be such sorrow. I can’t reconcile it to myself.” Nonetheless,
the conclusion of Manners & Mannerisms is quite satisfactory, even by our current
“The chance to love you can never be called an affliction, and God can’t hate me for
that which He’s blessed me with.”