Rating: 4 stars
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Benedict Yeats has two obsessions in life. One is his career as a prominent archaeologist, helping to lead digs in Egypt. And the second is Evander St. John, Duke of Casterwell.
Benedict has been obsessed with Evander since the men were in school. Evander is gorgeous and powerful and just exudes an air of confidence and control that draws Benedict in and he has never been able to get Evander out of his head. Though their social circles overlap a bit, they don’t interact very much until Evander invites Benedict to his country house party, in part so Benedict can study the extensive collection of Casterwell Egyptian artifacts.
Benedict can’t believe he let himself get so close to the object of his desire and temptation. Evander is happily married with a lovely wife, Juliana. Benedict has never been with a man before, and though he knows it is time to finally accept his interest in other men, he has no reason to believe Evander has any interest in him. But as it turns out, Evander shares Benedict’s attraction, inviting him to his room at night for a tryst. The sex with Evander is amazing and just confirms what Benedict has always known: he is interested in men, and Evander is the man he truly wants. But Evander is also married, and despite the fact that he is clear that Juliana has her own lover and that the two have an “arrangement,” Benedict still feels guilty for his role in the affair.
As he continues his days at the Duke’s home, Benedict has a chance to enjoy seeing his amazing collection of Egyptian treasures. He also succumbs to more encounters with Evander, though he is clear with Evander that the affair must end. And when Benedict is called away back to Egypt, he is sure that things will be over between them. Yet Evander has other ideas and is definitely still interested in a relationship with Benedict. But Evander must now open up about his past and show Benedict how he truly feels in order for the men to be together.
Objects of His Obsession is a enjoyable historical that covers a bit of a later time period than many I have read (late 1890s) and an interesting career for one of our MCs in archaeology. The title definitely sets the theme for the book, as Benedict truly has these twin passions of his career and Evander. Jaggert makes Benedict’s yearning quite palpable for the handsome Duke, and I could really feel the intensity of his obsession with the man. There is just such a pull that Benedict can not help himself once the man is within reach, even as his conscience struggles with the idea that Evander is married. For his part, Evander seems similarly obsessed with Benedict, determined to have him and unwilling to back down. He knows Benedict wants him badly and isn’t willing to let him throw the relationship away over unnecessary concerns about Juliana’s feelings. Just what kind of arrangement these two have and why is something that unfolds over the book, but it is clear that both these men want each other and badly.
I did feel like as well conveyed as this intensity is, the actual romance end never felt fully developed for me. I could totally tell these guys wanted each other desperately. But I never really felt it develop into anything more, despite the proclamations of love by the end of the story. The men have known each other for years, but have had little interaction. While I can see they are clearly hot for one another, I don’t see where the love develops. I just wanted to see how those feelings grew out of the lust, what made things take a turn from just wanting one another to actually caring about each other, and that part was just not as well portrayed.
One of the things that attracted me to this story was Benedict’s career and the Egyptian artifacts he studies. We do get a good sense of the demands of his profession and life in Egypt, all of which I found quite interesting. This is a time when big discoveries were being made and I found it really enjoyable to read about this world. However, I was hoping to get into the nitty gritty a little bit more — what it is like on the digs, more about the artifacts that Benedict finds at Evander’s, things like that. But I still think it is an interesting side element and helps round out the story beyond just the connection between the two men.
Ok, last issue. We know Benedict is totally obsessed with Evander, and part of it is the man’s striking looks — olive skin, blue-black hair, and turquoise eyes. My compliant, as silly as it may sound, is that we hear about these turquoise eyes so very many times it totally took me out of the story. At first, I just noted it in passing. Then as the story continued, it caught my attention how often it was mentioned. By halfway through the book, I was being pulled totally out of the book each time it was mentioned and I felt compelled to check to see just how many times we hear about these amazing eyes (we are told they are “turquoise” 59 times in a roughly 200 page book). By the time I got to the end of the book, I was kind of moaning and sighing every time I came across yet another reference. And it was not just when Evander is looking particularly hot or Benedict is noting his appearance. We hear about those turquoise eyes even in just casual references to his gaze. Now I know this is a small thing in the scheme of things, and I definitely don’t think anyone should avoid the book because of it, but I will say it caused a significant distraction to me while reading and should have easily been something noted while editing.
I also want to point out that although Benedict’s conscience makes him concerned about his relationship with Evander, this is definitely a clear cut situation where Juliana is completely supportive of the affair (in fact, she even gets involved trying to help get things moving forward between the men). The reasoning behind this is something that is revealed as the story continues so I don’t want to get into too much detail, but I think even those folks who are really anti cheating in their books will be comfortable with this story once the reasoning is revealed.
So overall I enjoyed this one and think it is a nice historical with a unique spin. It had a few areas where I think it needed some work, mostly in the actual romance development. But I think Jaggert really gets the intensity and connection between them quite well and it makes for a nice historical with some unusual angles.