Publisher: P.D. Publishing, Inc.
One of the characters in Standish does nothing—doesn’t move, doesn’t speak, doesn’t think. And yet this character controls emotions and actions and passions just by existing. It is a house called Standish. Like the Rochester mansion in “Jane Eyre” or the cliffs in “Wuthering Heights” Standish is a place so important to the story that it almost takes on life.
Standish is the vanished patrimony of Ambrose Standish, impoverished grandson of the man who lost the place to Gordian Goshawk in a gambling game and lost his life in a duel soon after. Ambrose is studious, intelligent, and bitter at a fate which has him toiling as a tutor to support himself and his two spinster sisters. The house, Standish, is his obsession, his dream, his torment.
When Rafe Goshawk, who inherited Standish from his father, returns from many years abroad to take up residence there his life is set on a collision course with Ambrose. The Goshawk family’s reputation is that of “venal, predatory raptors” and Rafe himself is a cold-eyed man, as bitter as Ambrose but for a different reason. He was born in Paris, raised as an aristocrat, and was a young boy when the Terror sent his mother to the guillotine, destroyed his world, and sent him and his father fleeing to England.
Ambrose hates the Goshawks without ever having seen one of the infamous breed who ruined his family. And then through circumstances or fate, he finds himself hired as tutor for Rafe’s son; for the first time he sees the house he has obsessed about, up close. It is everything he dreamed it would be. It’s a given that Rafe and Ambrose will end up in each other’s arms but if you expect roses and violins and a predictable ending…surprise!
I won’t go further with the story because it has so many twists and turns and I don’t want to write a spoiler. The writing—descriptions, dialogue, everything about it—feels real and authentic. Erastes is an author who must research and research and research. And yet the research never overwhelms the story. It never intrudes. The author handles violence and sex with equal ease and knows the fine line at which to stop.
It’s superb, well-crafted storytelling at its best.