Even in post WWI England, being gay can get a man thrown in prison. Colonel Fred Hemley, the youngest son of an Earl survived the war with serious enough injuries to end his military career. In honor of Fred’s heroics, the Earl gave his son a small estate called Sherrington Park. The remote rustic old place was only suitable for hunting and fishing parties.
Fred has a plan to help the wealthy and powerful as well as the servants who prefer other men. He just needs the help of James, a footman fired by the Earl. A skilled valet and footman, James was caught with another man. James blamed the horror of war for his bad behavior and the Earl showed mercy, not turning James over to the police. Free but dismissed with no reference, James has nothing to lose joining Fred in his scheme. Nothing--except his heart and freedom.
This story about tore my heart out. The author is sympathetic to her characters and you ache at the injustice of it all. There is the separation of the classes and the fact that homosexuality is still against the law in 1919 England. Colonel Fred Hemley is the son of an Earl who has lost a leg to the war. His father is aware he is gay and has pensioned him off to a small property where he won’t be an embarrassment to the family. Fred is determined to do good so he has hatched a scheme to help gay men both upper and lower caste. He is going to train gay men to service, footmen, valets, coachmen and the like so that folks can be comfortable in their own homes. Key to his plan is James. James, a footman fired by Fred’s father for being gay, is well versed in the arts a servant needs to know and the fact that Fred is in love with him has no small part in his decision. James is no fool and is afraid to hope, and to trust. Life has taught him not to take chances. Read this beautiful story to find out if Fred gets his school off the ground and if James will come around.
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