Author: Alex Beecroft
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 246 Pages
At a Glance: An exquisitely written novel.
Reviewed By: Maryann
Blurb: Billy Wright has a problem: he’s only visible when he’s wearing a mask. That’s fine when he’s performing at country fairs with the rest of his morris dancing troupe. But when he takes the paint off, his life is lonely and empty, and he struggles with crippling depression.
Martin Deng stands out from the crowd. After all, there aren’t that many black Vikings on the living history circuit. But as the founder of a fledgling historical re-enactment society, he’s lonely and harried. His boss doesn’t like his weekend activities, his warriors seem to expect him to run everything single-handedly, and it’s stressful enough being one minority without telling the hard men of his group he’s also gay.
When Billy’s and Martin’s societies are double-booked at a packed county show, they know at once they are kindred spirits, united by a deep feeling of connectedness to their history and culture. But they’re also both hiding in their different ways, and they need each other to be brave enough to take their masks off and still be seen.
Review: Blue Eyed Stranger is such an exquisitely written novel by Alex Beecroft. She writes with such emotion and passion, and I could actually hear the British accents come through in the writing; though I have to admit I had to check out the definition of some vocabulary, as well as the musical instruments discussed in this novel. The history about the different dances was also very interesting, and the county fairs, dancing, music, history and love really made this story come alive.
Both Martin and Billy have the issues that come with a new relationship. They also give support to each other in their own way, and they have their mutual like of the arts and history.
Even though Billy Wright deals with deep depression, he is an amazing character. He is a talented dancer with the Morris Dancing Group, and also plays the violin. As long as he is in costume he can handle his depression, and he gains self-confidence. Billy has accepted his being gay, and he never hid that fact.
Martin Deng is black and gay, two strikes against him, but he still tries to hide the fact that he’s gay. He’s an extraordinary teacher and tries to teach truth. He also has to deal with a degrading and controlling father. Martin performs as a Viking in his group, the Bretwalda Reenactment Society.
I also have to make mention of the musical group Steeleye Span’s “All Around My Hat”. Whatever I am reading, if an author mentions a group or a song(s), I make it a point to check out the music, which really sets a good tone for this novel.
Thanks, Alex Beecroft, for expanding my vocabulary and knowledge of music.
You can buy Blue Eyed Stranger here: