A Gay Historical Romance
A Private Gentleman by Heidi Cullinan is at its core the love story of Lord George Albert Westin and Michael Vallant; it’s a tale of failure and redemption in families, friendships and society. Cullinan paints a vivid tapestry of passion and pain, of love gone down to the depths of hell and reclaimed at great costs.
Cullinan is not a gentle writer. She can draw beautiful imagery, such as her descriptions of Wes’ orchids and Michael’s books. However, her power as a writer is in her depiction of emotional trauma. As she explores the contours of Wes’ addiction to opium, Cullinan delivers some gut-wrenching scenes; likewise, with the recounting of Michael’s early life with his courtesan mother.
While Cullinan is hyper-focused on the romance between Wes and Michael, she peoples A Private Gentleman with characters who step onto the stage with their own powerful history. Her secondary characters are not mere stand-ins or tools to move the tale. They have their own stories to tell.
Penelope and Rodger are just two of the secondary characters who demand attention on Cullinan’s stage. On the surface, it appears that Penelope, the crusader, stands at one end of the social spectrum while Rodger, the brothel owner, stands at the other end, but neither character is so clear cut, both are good and bad.
A Private Gentleman is a great read! Cullinan’s Wes and Michael make you root for them. You want them to win through the pain and trauma of their lives because they deserve to win. There should be 10 stars just for this book. A Private Gentleman is definitely a keeper.
Also published on Blackraven’s Reviews
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Image courtesy of Samhain Publishing