To Hold a Hidden Pearl (Rossingley, #1) Fearne Hill
Publisher: NineStar Press
Genre: Gay Romance
Length: 299 Pages
Purchase At: amazon
Dr Jay Sorrentino is getting married in ten days’ time to the girl of his dreams, so what the hell is he doing in a gay London club with a stupidly handsome stranger? As if calling off the wedding and alienating his friends and family isn’t enough, Jay also has to contend with starting a new job at a new hospital. So the last thing he needs is for the bloke from the club to be his prickly supervisor.
Dr Lucien Avery is a difficult colleague. He’s also the unexpected and reluctant heir to the vast Rossingley estate. Reclusive and miserable, he hates most of his colleagues, people who eat packed lunches, and supervising junior doctors. That is, until the delectable Dr Sorrentino turns up on his doorstep.
A light-hearted M/M contemporary romance, Rossingley takes place in Southern England and is centred around a fictional country house and estate by the same name. The first in the series, it can be read as a standalone.
I brought this off the back of the amazing Two Tribes that I read a little earlier this year. They are different books but the same detail to characters and story are in both. This is considerably lighter overall than Two Tribes.
Fearne Hill has this way of making things so real and life-like in amongst the happier, heart-warming moments. I believe the author is an anaesthetist and the way she talks about situations or patients in the book is that very ‘death is normal to me’ way of hospital medical staff, especially those in ICU, but to the reader it can seem very ‘oh my, how sad.’ And speaking of… Billy-Ray. *Little sobs. Broke my heart.
I loved Lucien. He is such a good man. Such a sad man who has lost so much – his entire nuclear family in one fell swoop, and 18 months later he is still very walled off. The death of someone significant changes things for you. He lost 4 (and a bit) significant someones. How much can you talk to people about it before they don’t want to know? Not a lot. So as Dr Avery he is prickly. While two female colleagues share a room with him and he gets along with them well enough, they still don’t know a skerrick of his life. The general staff, however, talk about him, have unflattering names for him, because they know nothing about him except his aloof, superior manner as a specialist, and like a good upper crust British gent, he doesn’t give them anything but a mask.
Jay is a first-year registrar anaesthetist and brand new to Allenmouth. He is assigned Dr Avery as his supervisor and many people at the hospital feel sorry for Jay. He’s only recently broken up with his fiancé, Ellie, also a doctor at the hospital. She is pissed off with him. His friends are pissed off with him. His own family is pissed off with him. No one knows why he’s had this change of heart so close to the wedding. They think he’s got cold feet and he’ll be back. After all, Ellie’s a great girl, how could he do this to her? But he won’t be back as he blew Dr Avery a few weeks ago, didn’t know who he was when he did it just that he was a hot guy in Spangles, a gay nightclub in London. It was definitely surprise! when Jay turned up first day for the new job. It was all rather deliciously awkward. The dialogue quite snarky.
Jay is having a crisis of sorts. He’s attracted to men. Didn’t know it for sure, suspected but pushed it down – until Spangles and a waif of a stylish, androgynous man with the blondest of blond hair attracted him. He cares deeply for Ellie but he can’t marry someone he doesn’t care for more than a friend. The blowjob in spangles proved a whole lot. It also cemented his resolve.
If I were at some sort of Alcoholics Anonymous-type therapy meeting, I’d introduce myself like this: Hello, my name is Jay Sorrentino, and I’m a closet homosexual. Possibly homosexual. No, scratch that. Probably, definitely homosexual, although the extent of my homosexual experience is giving a beautiful stranger a blow job in a nightclub. Once. A week before I was due to get married to my lovely, long-term girlfriend, Ellie.
Long story short, Lucien and Jay gradually become a couple. But first they get to know things about one another that others don’t. They fall. Bit by bit. They don’t want anyone at the hospital to know about them. Jay doesn’t want his family and friends to know any of this, especially on the back of him calling off his wedding. Of course, Lucien is Jay’s educational supervisor, so there’s that. Most of all, though, they become friends, then lovers as Jay gets to know Dr Avery or Lord Duchamps-Avery, the sixteenth Earl of Rossingley. Oh, and also Lady Louisa. Because Lucien has a couple of alter egos to help him to cope with his loss, and he enjoys dressing in nighties, and wearing pearls also has significance for him. They both need time to settle into something neither was looking for. However, Jay is just what Lucien needs. Lucien is perfect for Jay. Sometimes things happen on a schedule you didn’t see coming. But the heart wants what the heart wants.
The author makes a fair point in this book. Why should LGBTQ+ people have to come out? It’s nobody’s business but theirs. Heterosexuals don’t have to come out. I understand the point. I also understand that too many men and women have had to live lies or live in closets for a very long time. It’s not right or healthy. People should have a choice. They should be able to be who they are, not feel like they need to close a considerable piece of themselves down to make others happy. That was something I felt strongly about as I read. Jay really didn’t want to disappoint his ex fiancé, his family, his best friend. But given his friends deserted him in droves about the breakdown of a relationship that wasn’t even theirs, I kept feeling that I’d rethink that and live my life for me. And when Lucien meets up with his ex for a get together, Julian puts into his head the thought ‘don’t date straight men’ and Lucien feels for a moment or two like he might just be doing that. And I understood that.
To Hold a Hidden Pearl is lovely. I liked Jay a great deal. I adored Lucien. They’re not straight forward men as they deal with things that they weren’t expecting, things that change their lives. Jay makes Lucien happy, he’s kind and patient, as is Lucien, and understands that Lucien has his ways of coping with emotional pain, and Lucien knows Jay has his own turmoil to work on as well. I’m guessing at some stage they’ll appear again over the next few books and maybe they’ll be okay to be open with those they’d like to be open with. I hope so. I enjoyed this book so much I envision that I will definitely be grabbing books #2 and 3 very shortly. 5 Stars!
Karen October 24, 2022 at 11:46 pm
I absolutely understand why, my friend. Losing one close person is hard, several is so big and people expect you to just move on really quickly. Are you still sad about …? It’s been months… Are you remarried yet, hasn’t it been a year?
This book has even more depth than I covered but people who read it will see. Hill has a way of (pardon the pun) anaesthetising the pain and letting her characters make you feel better 🙂
Kazza’s Books of the Year: 2022 – On Top Down Under Book Reviews December 18, 2022 at 8:19 am
[…] To Hold a Hidden Pearl – Fearne Hill. Narrator, Richard Stranks. This audiobook narration just adds another dimension. Stranks dopes have a couple of interesting pronunciations but Lucien is absolutely wonderful on the ears because of Stranks’ pitch-perfect delivery. I only have the e-book review on the blog, my audiobook review is on Audible. […]
‘How much can you talk to people about it before they don’t want to know?’ I feel that quote deeply, and I know you understand why.
This looks like a really good, emotional book. I love the quotes and pics you used. And I would’ve bought the book based on the cover alone.