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ARC Review: Between His Lover and the Deep Blue Sea by Merry Farmer

Book Cover


Sailing Master Septimus Bolton has spent his entire life at sea…in more ways than one. Now that his ship has been decommissioned at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, he has nothing to do but accept the invitation of one of his fellow naval officers to convalesce for the summer at a remote country estate in Yorkshire. Septimus would do anything to get back to sea…

…until a pair of blue eyes and a mischievous smile tempt him to forget everything, including discretion.

Adam Seymour has had to fight for everything he has, from the scholarship that allowed him to attend university to the right to be himself. Now, as tutor to the Duke of Malton’s precocious children, he has a comfortable life in a grand country estate far away from ridicule. His goal of starting a school for underprivileged children once his noble charges outgrow his tutelage seems well within reach…

…until temptation arrives at Wodehouse Abbey in the form of handsome, older, irresistible Septimus.

It doesn’t matter how hard Septimus fights his feelings for Adam, the two men can’t seem to stay away from each other. But when Septimus is offered the chance of a lifetime in the form of the ship he’s always wanted to command, he will have to choose between the possibility of lifelong love and the dream that is finally within his reach.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Steam Level – Smokin’ hot! This includes explicit scenes between male lovers, so if that isn’t what you want to read, please feel free to pass on this book.

My Review:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I considered dnfing this one but pushed through because the story was good. I did skim a lot of the second half though.

I like the characters, though Adam was a bit too impulsive and young-seeming. My favorite moments were when Septimus and Adam were being teased by Septimus’ friends — and especially the absolutely ridiculous game they invented to drive Septimus and Adam together. I also really enjoyed the scenes with the children and the barge chase.

My biggest problem with it was the writing. It was too convoluted and tangled and I desperately wanted to take a red pen and slash through it as if I were slashing through brambles. The dialogue especially was overwrought and too formal and really unrealistic.

Under the writing, though, is a good story that makes for an enjoyable light read.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Oliver Heber Books for providing an e-arc for review.