Douglas Fitzhugh is a famous Hollywood actor in the films of the 1920s, and a closeted gay man. He lives with his younger brother, Donald, who was his ward when their parents died years ago, but Donny’s graduated college and now teaches history at university. They have recently been recruited by a mysterious benefactor named Grant to help an archeologist on a dig in Egypt and are game for the task.
Aboard the ship to Paris, where from they will take trains to Egypt, dashing and brash Douglas meets cherubic-looking Charles Angeloff, son of the very archeologist Douglas and Donny have been sent to assist. Charles fears his father’s life is in danger and closely guards the object his father requested he to bring to Egypt. Douglas is captivated by Charles and finds he’s of a like-mind when it comes to attraction. They pass many an afternoon sexing it up aboard ship. They also meet Jeb, a wary Texan who is meant to be the security of their entourage, and Peter, a librarian whose specialty in linguistics and antiquities is equal to that of Donny. It seems all of these are men of a certain persuasion and they endure Douglas and Charles’ “scandalous” behavior with a hearty wink and a consensual nudge.
Once they land in Paris, the group meets the last member of their party, Clark, a spiritualist and seminary student about whom Jeb has some strong opinions. But worse, Charles’ steps are being dogged by a strange and captivating magic that takes the physical form of a man—as well as a charismatic voice only Charles can hear. He wants Charles for his own, and his desires to keep his ‘beloved’ close to heart are leading the entire party into dangerous encounters. Charles is head over heels for Douglas, however, and that man is not willing to let go the most compelling partner he’s had in ages to anyone. And, especially not to a rival who appears to be a mummy!
The Curse of the Mummy’s Heart is the first book in a new historical paranormal adventure/romance series, and I must say I was charmed. The story has been crafted to recall the capers of original monster movies, and it bears all the hallmarks of the Golden Era of Hollywood. The characters are fast talkers and faster actors who are all glamorous in their own unique way. With the pairing of Douglas and Charles firmly established, the other four men marshal their considerable resources to protect this union at all costs. Charles, being a bit young and the tragic hero of the story, is treated a LITTLE like a classic damsel in distress. There are hyper-dramatic moments that harken to the paranormal aspect, along with the mysterious benefactor who is not only the mastermind, but bankrolling all the hijinks.
It’s really a whole lot of fun, with a tone that is tongue-in-cheek and plays well with the plot, which is playful rather than dark. I loved the historical setting, and the observations of the modes of travel from the era that allowed for this team of “peculiars” to assemble and develop their chemistry. For readers who enjoy historical adventure-romances, or Old School monster dramas, this is likely a book you’ll find appealing. The pacing was well managed between developing both the adventure and the romance. It’s clear that future stories will revolve around further paranormal investigation missions, as well as the love stories that will grow between pairs of the remaining characters. I look forward to diving into sequels headfirst.