Robbie has been running for so long. Not in actual time, but for most of his life from an abusive, rigid father; a distant, lost mother; and his own feelings — feelings that the bible and his dad say are an abomination. His only friend tried to help him and ended up beaten, possibly jailed, and who knows what else. The guilt that swirls in Robbie’s gut is only outdone by the hunger pangs as he is dropped off in Hollywood, a place that makes his head spin. He knows he is a greenhorn, but how very isolated and backward he has been soon becomes apparent in a town where everyone strives for the upper hand and doesn’t mind stepping on others to get it. Thank goodness for Pops who feeds him, cleans and clothes him, and gives him his first job as a driver on the Citadel movie lot. It’s there that Robbie learns, all too quickly, that his way of thinking isn’t necessarily unique to just him, but also isn’t accepted. He falls for the handsome actor, Martin Brentwood, and discovers that loving someone might be wrong in the eyes of the public, but is so very right in the arms of the man he trust with his life.
Silent Sin is a gorgeous story set in the golden age of silent film. To say that author E.J. Russell did her homework is to diminish the rich history that unfolds in this story. With familiar silent screen stars like Valentino, Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, and the like, the reader is thrown into the backstage of a movie lot teeming with drama that goes far beyond the cutting room floor. The story focuses on two fictional characters—one, an actor who is never sure if his contract will be renewed and does everything he can to put himself in the best light, and the other a green, naïve young man who becomes the quintessential Hollywood poster boy of someone who goes from rags to riches overnight. In a time when the Temperance unions have banned alcohol and the newspapers are ferreting out the latest scandal and ruining men’s lives with stories of their sexual perversion, these two men, Martin and Robbie, fall in love and spend every waking moment trying not to get caught in the act.
There was so much to love about this story: Robbie’s innocence, Martin’s passion to have what he most desired—a man to love, and all the intrigue that comes with a novel about film stars and their lives. I was swept up in this fascinating story that moved so quickly. Watching a young man finally learn to respect himself and shed the guilt and fear that had plagued him most of his life was so satisfying. I loved the chemistry between Robbie and Martin; they were so convincing as lovers and their story was heartbreaking in many ways knowing the fear they had of being caught was so real for that time in history. Much of the sex in this novel was off page, a fitting way to depict the era, in my opinion, and a device that made the moments these two men had together even more sensual.
Silent Sin delivers in spades with romance, drama, rich infusions of historical details, and a happy ever after worthy of the movies. This fictional romance, interspersed with actual stories from that era, made for a highly entertaining novel and one that fans of this author will not want to miss.