Micah Yardley is a student of letters at Harvard, and a passionate poet. He makes the trip from Boston to the small town of Wroxham to meet with Jefferson Dering after seeing the man give a lecture that captivated him. Micah is a huge fan of Jefferson’s poems, and he knows the man can help him achieve great things.
Jefferson is surprised to meet the younger man, but the two quickly find a companionship. Kindred spirits connect, and their feelings grow. But Jefferson knows he cannot act on them, for they are immoral. But he can’t resist, and one night, things get a little out of hand and Micah flees back to Boston.
Micah has to come to terms with his feelings, and when he does, he starts up a correspondence with Jefferson. Over months and through letters, the two fall in love. Micah knows his heart belongs to Jefferson, and he uproots his life to be with Jefferson. But they cannot be open, and what’s worse, other forces are at work to conspire against them.
I admit that I was intrigued by the blurb on this one. But I had trouble getting into the style of writing, and found the pacing to be a bit off for me. As much as I liked the characters, and there were parts of this story that really drew me in, I had a few issues.
I simply adored Micah. He’s passionate about his poetry and he wants nothing more than to pursue it. Though he’s privileged in a lot of ways, especially because his family is wealthy, he’s also the youngest son and therefore basically ignored. This is really his story, as he learns who he is and grows as a person. His relationship with Jefferson is key to a lot of that, but he does the necessary soul searching on his own.
Jefferson is a wonderfully drawn character as well. And he hasn’t had the easiest life either. Things have happened that cause him to be an outcast, and he portrays a misanthropic ideal that’s not necessarily true. I loved their relationship, and I loved watching them come together and finding their truth. The love story here is what kept me going throughout the book.
As I said, I had some trouble with the pacing. This book started off rather slow for me, and dragged pretty much through the first half. But then it settled into a nice rhythm and I enjoyed the second have quite a bit. But there was one plot point I had a lot of trouble with. The blurb mentions a haunted church, so I’m not giving anything away when I speak about the ghost storyline. For me, this didn’t work or fit well into the plot. I wasn’t quite sure as to the point of it, and that made it feel discordant. Ultimately, the things it accomplished could have been done in another way that would have fit the overall plot better for me. When it comes down to it, the fact that there was a ghost felt out of step with the overall feel of the story and, therefore, pulled me out of the book.
All in all, this was a decent historical romance. I liked the characters, and I especially liked their love story. But it would have worked better for me if pacing had been smoother and the paranormal side plot had been better incorporated or left out altogether.