“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” ― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Author: Jae T. Jaggart
Pages/Word Count: 194 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: London, 1898
Lord Benedict Yeats has two obsessions.
One of which has a definite pulse – the seductive and beautiful Evander St John, Duke of Casterwell. A man he has a certain history with.
A man who tells Benedict that he has spent too long amongst sand and dead things. He might not be wrong. Casterwell’s world is one of sexual sophistication and games that Benedict cannot hope to match.
But when Benedict returns from working on a famous dig in Cairo, Casterwell invites him to a country house party that will change his life. An Egyptologist of growing renown, Benedict will also catalogue the famous Casterwell collection of antiquities.
And almost certainly, will become one of Casterwell’s string of lovers. But will he be the one to break through that glittering façade? Or will the scars of Casterwell’s dark, bloody past and his complex and fiercely deceptive private life tear them apart?
Review: There are some books that simply can’t be classified as anything other than Guilty Pleasure reads, and Jae T. Jaggart’s Objects of His Obsession is one of them. Believe me when I tell you I don’t mean that in a condescending or uncomplimentary way at all, because what I mean is that this is a book you don’t want to read if you’re looking for a history lesson or a thesis on Egyptology; this is a book you want to jump into with heart wide open because it revolves around one of my favorite conflicts in M/M historical romance—the challenging, and sometimes complete dismantling of, what we all tend to see as the cookie-cutter happily-ever-after.
And, beyond that, let’s face it, it’s a darn sexy book.
The Victorian Era is a particularly favorite historical setting of mine because it was during this time that Lebouchere’s Amendment made gross indecency or, in other words, homosexuality, a punishable offense in a court of law that carried a sentence far more egregious than the act of two men engaging each other physically and emotionally. And while the plot doesn’t necessarily evoke the era in terms of social or political detail, even feeling contemporary in terms of language at times, it very much captures the struggle of a gay man and woman who, because of their lineage, are forced to maintain the illusion of heterosexuality and fulfill their duty—marrying and producing the heir and the spare—and it’s Evander and Juliana Casterwell’s marriage, even if it’s an unconventional one, that is the crux of the conflict for Benedict Yeats, the man who caught Evander’s eye and who would eventually come to capture his very guarded heart.
Jae T. Jaggart did a fine job of translating the lust between Evander and Benedict into the love they eventually feel for one another, and wrapping it all up in the supreme guilt Benedict feels not only for being the “other man” in a marriage but because he also has a fierce sort of respect for the strong and formidable Juliana, who, refreshingly, was portrayed as nothing more than Evander and Benedict’s greatest champion rather than the throwaway female shrew so commonly found in the M/M genre.
While the resolution of the conflict in Evander and Benedict’s relationship may not be what’s considered traditionally satisfying in terms of the fairy tale ending we love in our romance, I feel the author resolved their relationship perfectly, and most importantly, believably for the time period in which the story’s told. The happiness Evander and Benedict are due, and is hinted at by the end of this book, can’t be weighed against modern expectations, and I for one am thrilled that Jae T. Jaggart remained faithful to those rules dictated by the setting.
If I were to make a blanket recommendation for this book, I think the closest I could come to getting it right would be to say if you’ve read and liked Ava March, which I have, I don’t think it’s too farfetched to say you can’t go wrong with Objects of His Obsession.