Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Review & Excerpt: RE-INVENTING LOVE by Storm Grant

Title: Re-Inventing Love
Author: Storm Grant
Genre: Historical M/M Romance
Publisher: MLR Press

Engineer and assistant inventor Maximilian GrĂ¼n is in love with his employer, but he daren’t reveal the truth. It’s 1910 and if Canadian authorities learned of his homosexuality, they’d deport him back to Germany where the country of his birth would become the country of his death.

When promising young inventor and mathematician Dr. Jasper Hamilton expresses his own feelings for Max, the young German regretfully declines. He cannot risk their partnership, their reputations—their very lives!

Then a rival inventor sabotages their inventions. Jasper is caught between the physical and the metaphysical, reduced to atoms, and transported to the spirit plane! Max is devastated, deeply regretting his lost chances.

But Jasper manages to communicate across the aether, telling Max he must reverse the machine’s polarity. But without Jasper’s talent for mathematics, the calculations defeat him.

Can the would-be lovers bridge the gap between life and death to finally be together?

He steeled himself against his desire to grab the man and kiss him soundly. Instead, he settled for leaning even further into Max.

Max made no attempt to draw away.

They sat side-by-side. Was Max’s breathing quickening? But Jasper’s own thudding heartbeat and shaky breaths masked all other sounds. He cleared his throat again and pointed to the rough sketch on his desk.

“If we were to reroute the electrical current through an asbestos filter prior to it connecting with the element, we may be able to regulate heat without having to monitor it quite so vigilantly.” Jasper tapped the page.

Max leant forward, his shoulder sliding along Jasper’s own. “Ja. Yes. It could work. Not with the insulated wires you haff drawn here, but with…” He snatched up a pencil, scrawling quick, firm marks on the page.

Jasper relaxed. Tuning out the engineer’s words, he rode the cadence of the accented voice like a wave. He fought his smile, but lost. It was so good to have a partner on whom he could rely.

If only there was a way for them to be more than working partners.

I don't normally read many stories that aren't set in the present day, and when I do I will usually opt for something with a lot of adventure and set much further back in time.  While Re-Inventing Love is set a tad more than a hundred years ago, the mindset of the times in regards to homosexuality gives this story bit of an edge to it, particularly for Max coming from Germany.  And though Jasper might not face as severe repercussions in Canada, that doesn't make their sexuality any less illegal there either.

Much of the story centers on the creation of an amazing machine that should transport objects from one place to another over a distance simply by flipping a switch (as the author says, think Star Trek).  But this fascinating invention causes its share of misfortunes...and even with that fact being known, there are still those who would seek to steal it for their own profit.  For poor Max, he keeps coming out on the bad end of things when it comes to this invention that he helped create-losing his mentor, his family and his home...and then almost losing everything all over again.

Max continues to try and help with the transporter, meeting Jasper and his sister Octavia in the process--and falling for Jasper even though it could cost him everything he holds dear (including his life).  Jasper and Max seem so sweet together, and while there are limitations to what they can be to each other, there's always hope for the future.  Well, as long as things in the lab don't blow up in the process.

With a meddling, conniving ass of a man named Smythe continually trying to appropriate the invention for himself, Octavia adding her own metaphysical and supernatural exploits to the mix, and the constant threat of their sexuality being discovered, Max and Jasper have plenty to keep them on their toes.  Much of the story feels like a mystery to be unraveled as the two try to figure out how to make the invention work without blowing anything up, and though this is a romance it is relatively understated for a large portion of the story.

A mostly tame tale with a bit of romance, Re-Inventing Love was a 3.5-star read for me.  Historical M/M romance fans, in particular those who like the early-20th century time frame as their setting, will enjoy this story quite a bit.  There's a bit of spice toward the end, but in general the sexual content is pretty understated.

STORM GRANT pens long and short tales. Her work spans genders and genres, offering good guys and bad puns. Her alter ego, Gina X. Grant, writes funny urban fantasy.


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