Paper Valentine by AJ Llewellyn
Genre: Victorian Era/ Gay MM
Book Length: Novella
Reviewer: The one and Only Silver Pixie
London, 1840. At the height of Victorian hypocrisy, two men meet and fall in love. Their romance is forbidden, punishable even by death, but their passion blossoms thanks to a paper Valentine.
Saint Valentine’s Day has become a new and very popular day for lovers. Thousands of Londonites are clamouring for the ideal romantic gift. While men buy chocolate and posies, they yearn for something more unusual, more personal. Enterprising brothers Aldon and Samuel Barnaby hit upon the idea of paper Valentines, creating lavish presentations decorated with silk, lace, and paper flowers.
Aldon is fortunate to have his perfect valentine going to his expectant wife, Geneve, but Samuel still longs for his own true love, pouring his heart and soul into his beautiful creations. Samuel’s romantic verses inside his paper Valentines are in huge demand, yet not a single local girl can lay claim to his heart…because his passion lies not in a woman, but another man—Jude, a handsome but shy widower.
Jude's heart, haunted by grief, hasn't been ready to consider marriage again. But slowly, through his inclusion in the Barnaby family's lives...and his frequent excursions to stop and stare at the Barnabys’ shop window...he begins to wonder in what direction his future lies.
Can Samuel possibly allow his heart to explore love with another man? Could Jude ever love him in return? He sends Jude an exquisite, anonymous paper Valentine, not suspecting that his entire world is about to be turned upside down…
Just in time for Valentine’s Day I remembered an awesome love story that fits the season. In this AJ Llewellyn novel we meet Samuel and Jude. Both men fit the classic image you would have of London in the 1840’s. Samuel and his Brother Aldon are printers and hatch an idea to make paper Valentines for the people of London and sell them in their shop. Amidst this Samuel’s very pregnant sister in law Geneve tries as she feels is her duty to play match maker. What she and Samuels brother fails to realize is the grieving widower Jude has found love again but in the arms of someone who in all actuality could get him killed. Little known Historical Fact I learned in this book was buggery was illegal and punishable by death. In order for gay men to meet others some dressed as woman in places that were called Molly Houses. The Queen thought that woman were not capable of loving woman the same way so it was only illegal for men to fornicate or bugger as it seems to have been called. In the end confessions are made and promises kept. But the Question remains do Jude and Samuel get their Happy ending or will fear rule their hearts?
This was a short story for AJ and for all the 69 pages it was on my e-reader it was well worth the read. Of course like with most of AJ’s books I learned a lot about history, the fun stuff that most history teachers nowadays leave out of their lessons. I loved this sweet natured fun hearted book. It warmed my heart from the very first page. Jude’s and Samuel’s struggle was palatable and heart breaking at times. You honestly felt what the characters were feeling. You hurt for them when they hurt and you yearned for them when they yearned for each other. This is honestly something that is sometimes lacking in more mainstreamed books. I feel AJ has once again out done himself.
On a Scale of 1-10 on my erect peni scale I give AJ Llewellyn’s Paper Valentine a 10+++. It’s Hot Romantic and heartwarming this book didn’t need a lot of sex to make it sexy or hot. The lead up to the actual sex leaves you panting and wanting more.
On my scale of It Can Wait till Pay Day and Sell the Kids… Darlings sell the kids. This book honestly can be the best Valentine you can buy for yourself EVER!