Title: Hold Fast
Author: Sebastian Nothwell
Length: 295 Pages
Category: Historical Romance
At a Glance: Delivered in a voice that lends itself well to the period in which the story is set, Nothwell tells a classic tale of romance with the requisite complications, drama, past trauma, and, of course, a happily ever after. In the end, the highest compliment I think I could give to Hold Fast is that I bought the rest of the author’s books as soon as I finished it.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: As Evelyn becomes the perfect gentleman, Morgan becomes the perfect captain. It is down to Morgan to take command, down to Evelyn to hold fast, and down to both to navigate their own treacherous sea.
Thirteen years ago, Evelyn Winthrop fled England to go a-whaling. But now that his father is dead, Evelyn must become a proper baronet to save the estate from his wastrel brother. He grudgingly accepts help from estate agent Morgan Turner, who is eager to carry out the late baronet’s wishes. While repressed Morgan teaches rough-edged Evelyn to fit into high society, Evelyn seduces his closeted agent into embracing his true nature.
Just when it all seems like smooth sailing, a mutual acquaintance returns make waves. Painful secrets from Morgan’s past threaten his relationship—and the entire Winthrop estate along with it. In the midst of dysfunction, drama, and duels, Morgan must learn to trust again and disclose his harrowing past. Otherwise, Evelyn may abandon the estate and follow the siren song back to the sea.
Author’s Note: This novel was previously published under the title Take Me Like a Sailor.
Review: Family drama, the abuse of trust and power, gentility and social hierarchy, and love in the time of gross indecency laws lay the foundation for Sebastian Nothwell’s Hold Fast.
Evelyn Winthrop fell in love with the idea of the sea while reading Moby Dick as a boy. It wasn’t until he was caught in a compromising position, however, that the eldest son and heir to the Winthrop estate gave in to the siren’s song, escaped his father’s derision, and signed onto a whaling ship where he worked his way up from cabin boy to the role of harpooner aboard the Mary-Ann. Thirteen-years later, a letter sent by estate agent Morgan Turner informing Evelyn of his father’s demise, and that he’s inherited the estate as well as the title that comes along with it, finds the now Sir Evelyn feeling a bit of a fish out of water.
There’s a Pygmalion undertone to this story in Morgan being made responsible for reacquainting Evelyn with the etiquette and social niceties expected of him as the Winthrop baronet, something Evelyn commits to only because there’s a time limit to his participation in it. He has no intention of making his baronetcy a long-term position and makes no secret of the fact that he’ll be returning to sea just as soon as the matter of the running of his late father’s estate can be reasonably assumed by its agent. How, after all, can a bearded, long-haired, and heavily tattooed sailor—a man who looks more pirate than gentleman—ever hope to fit into a polished and proper society? There are more issues at hand, however, than seeing to estate matters. Evelyn’s younger brother, Basil, is a vile, spoiled rotten toe rag who needs to be dealt with. And Evelyn’s boyhood friend Ned Ashmore is just as despicable and has ties to Morgan’s past as well. Ned’s presence in Evelyn’s home, and in his life, is a point of friction in the story that must be resolved before Evelyn and Morgan can move forward.
Delivered in a voice that lends itself well to the period in which the story is set, Nothwell tells a classic tale of romance with the requisite complications, drama, past trauma, and, most important for the late 19th century setting—and once the villains of the story are dispatched—a believable ending which will allow Evelyn and Morgan to continue living together long into their old age. The building of their relationship hinges on the growing trust between them which eventually opens the door to their simmering attraction to each other, which leads to them giving in to their physical desires and Evelyn showing a bit of submission to his “captain” while Morgan falls into the role like he was made for it.
In the end, the highest compliment I think I could give to Hold Fast is that I bought the rest of Nothwell’s books as soon as I finished it. Being a fan of Historical Romance and sympathetic heroes who find unexpected friends and allies along the way, I was not left in the least bit unsatisfied.
You can buy Hold Fast here:
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