Review: Sharp Love by Ava March

Title:  Sharp Love*
Author:  Ava March
Series:  Gambling on Love #2
Genre:  MM Historical Romance
Publisher:  Carina Press
Format:  ebook
Date/Year:  June 9, 2014
Reviewed by:  Andrea

*This book was provided to reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Summary from the publisher:

London, 1822

William Drake has lived among thieves, bastards and beggars all his life, doing what’s necessary to survive. As a young orphan, that included looking after his best friend, Jack Morgan. But as they grew older, Jack took the honest path, leaving Will behind to fend for himself the only ways he knows how.

When an unsavory errand for his employer brings Jack back to London’s underbelly, he needs Will’s help. It’s there, among the alleys they ran through as children, that the love he’s always felt for Will returns. As their nights together grow hotter, Will discovers something new about his old friend—Jack’s need to serve extends into the bedchamber.

Will has never fully abandoned his dream of escaping London with Jack. But what could the Duke’s driver want with a dishonest cheat like him, beyond a bit of rough sex? It takes the gamble of Will’s life to find out if he can win Jack’s heart…

Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: D/s theme and elements, and male/male sexual practices.

My Musings:

SHARP LOVE is the second book in the GAMBLING ON LOVE series.  It is closely related to the first book, ALL IN WITH THE DUKE, but could easily be read as a stand alone.

This book tells the story of Will and Jack.  They are lifelong friends who met in an orphanage when they were very young.  They had a tough start in life and over time grew to trust and depend on each other.  As boys and adolescents, Will and Jack were an inseparable team, at least that’s what Will thought.  Jack apparently had other ideas.  While Will perfected his less than savory moneymaking strategies, Jack decided to take a different path and has worked his way into an honorable position.  He works as a driver for a duke.  As grown men, they’re still best friends but there is some animosity on both sides over the lifestyle the other chose.

One of the more interesting aspects of this book for me was that Jack and Will are both common and poor.  I’ve read so many historical romances where one of the main characters is a Duke, a Lord, or at the very least is a self-made man.  I rarely get the opportunity to read about two ordinary guys in a historical romance.  I understand why, it’s hard enough to give two men a HEA in a historical romance in the first place.  It’s even more difficult to come up with a believable HEA ending for guys who aren’t of the gentry class and don’t have enough money to do whatever they want.

Now, getting back on the topic of Will and Jack.  I liked them.  Even though Will was an unsavory character and an admitted thief and cheat, I still liked him a lot.  Jack was a good guy and I did like him, but he was on the verge of being a sanctimonious jackass at times.  Jack and Will being together made sense and it worked for me.  They didn’t have a quick or easy romance, they definitely had to work for it, and I liked that.

I said before that this book was closely related to the first book, but that it could also be read as a stand alone.  I say that because the two books run concurrent to each other.  Jack works for the Duke and was repeatedly referenced in ALL IN WITH THE DUKE.  In fact, a couple of the scenes from ALL IN WITH THE DUKE were repeated in SHARP LOVE, but they were done from Jack’s viewpoint rather than the Duke’s.  It might sound confusing but it brought the two books together brilliantly.  I read a lot and have a tendency to forget characters and events between books.  I thought it was a great way of bringing the reader back into the world without any long and drawn out backstory being awkwardly thrown into a conversation. The neat thing is that it would also work in reverse.  If someone reads SHARP LOVE first, it’s the perfect glimpse into the story of the first book.  It will give the reader just enough information about what’s happening with Tristan and the Duke to make them curious without giving away their story.

As always with Ava March, the quality of writing was excellent.  The plot was strong, and the story flowed very well.  I thought the periodic mingling of this book with the previous book was brilliant.  The characters were genuine and believable, and they had a good romance which I thoroughly enjoyed reading.  The only letdown for me was that I never got emotionally invested, even though it was a very good book and I enjoyed reading it.  I had to mention that, but please don’t let it discourage you from reading SHARP LOVE.  It’s a very enjoyable book and I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of MM historical romance.


Overall: 3.5 stars
Sensuality level:  3

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