Review: A Proper Lover (Ganymede Quartet #2) by Darrah Glass

What does it mean to belong to someone? 

Henry Blackwell is the happiest he’s ever been, and it’s all because of his companion slave Martin. Every experience, whether it be mundane or spectacular, is improved by having Martin at his side. The better Henry gets to know his slave, the deeper his feelings grow. Though the physical attraction between them is undeniable, Henry’s sure there’s more to their relationship than just sex. He can’t be certain, as it’s never happened before, but he believes he might be falling in love. 

Henry’s friends are ready and willing to put their own slaves aside in favor of female companionship, and they’re beginning to wonder why Henry isn’t interested in girls. Henry only wants to be with Martin and doesn’t know how much longer he can use “late bloomer” as an excuse. The holiday season approaches, along with the promise of parties with friends and family. Henry doesn’t want to share Martin with his friends, but he doesn’t like being left out. Will he stand up for himself—and Martin—when it counts?

This is the second of four installments in the Ganymede Quartet, continuing Henry & Martin’s story from A Most Personal Property (Ganymede Quartet Book 1).

Gah! How am I gonna make it til March?

I'll tell you I thought I really liked the first one. Well, like turned to love in this one. I confess I was a tad disappointed when I started this one to find that it picked up right where A Most Personal Property left off, but then I made a decision. Ms. Glass and I need to come to an understanding. A quartet is no longer sufficient. I'd like something in the twenty book range so I can see these two as adults because Henry is going to be an outstanding adult. Outstanding, I say! So, name your price Glass. Let's get this thing done. 

Henry and Martin are falling in A Proper Lover. This is a first for Henry and he's not quite sure what he's feeling. He knows he wants to shower Martin with affection, wants to be with him all the time, desperately wants to spend time together as a couple complete with PDAs. Henry's one of my favorite characters. He doesn't have a high opinion of himself and I like him for all his foibles and shortcomings. He's possessive, fussy, jealous, is a bit of a snob yet has simple tastes and is what my grandmother calls tenderhearted. He also loves food especially cake. I laughed so hard when he growled over the macaroni and cheese! Who can blame him? Good mac and cheese when the cheese is maybe a little burnt around the edges… mmmmmmhhhhhmmmmmm. I feel ya, Henry. He thinks himself a dullard and boorish whereas I see him as sheltered and largely shunned by his parents. He's had no real guidance but picks things up quickly. He's deliberate and thoughtful, and does have a certain childlike naiveté that endears him to me all the more which I hope he retains. He's mainly only felt loved by the slaves in his house so it's really no surprise that he should fall in love with his own.

Martin fell asleep first, his breath soft and regular against Henry's throat. Henry stroked Martin's hair back from his forehead, ran his thumb over Martin's eyebrow, kissed the places he'd touched. Martin made a kittenish sound in his sleep and nestled closer. Henry resisted the urge to crush him to his chest, he didn't want to wake him, only claim and keep him.

If being queer during the Gilded Age is abhorrent, you can imagine being in love with one's own slave compounds the problem tenfold. The overwhelming amount of oppression in this society is both daunting and romantic-all that sneaking around and secret looks. Meow. Then again, it strikes me as appallingly hypocritical for a society to sanction boys using their slaves for "release" and "their health", yet condemn homosexuality. If Henry and Martin could just find other boys like them, somewhere they can be accepted. I'm hopeful Uncle Reggie and maybe the bohemian cousin can help so they're not so cloistered all the time. I actually think some of Henry's friends are gay or at least bi, but the only way for Henry to find out is through one of their swap parties/orgies and Henry ain't swapping Martin. Also, Henry's not comfortable speaking up for himself or being the center of attention. He wants to fit in and not be outcast; but the trouble is for Henry to truly fit in he'll have to swap Martin. Definitely a pickle. A sour pickle.

I'm going to go out on the limb here and say I think Henry would be willing to see Martin with another slave, but not his friends, and I think he'd require a certain amount of control over the scene. Henry's a voyeur and he has some other kinks which I'm hoping get explored more in the next books along with Henry's butt. Henry's butt needs exploring and Martin is DYING to plant the flag. However, first and foremost, he's possessive, protective and in love with Martin. I can't see him ever being intimate with someone else. He's far too loyal for that, but I suppose time will tell. At any rate, in A Proper Slave these two are just as randy as… well, a couple a teenage boys. They even have a contest to see if they can set a record. Martin's doing. He's the competitive one. Henry just likes being with Martin and making him happy.

A Proper Lover is told entirely through Henry, but I believe Martin feels the same or is at least in the same neighborhood as Henry, but his status precludes him verbalizing it. Martin's a good influence on Henry, encouraging him to open up to others especially Cora. Cora who is a delight! She's a 7 yr old little tyrant princess. And boy, does she ever have a crush on Martin! She makes no secret of wanting to have a boy slave or a cache of them when she comes of age. She's a girl after my own heart. Yet another reason I'd like twentyish books rather than four so I can see this! She's going to be a force. She's outgoing, imperious and effervescent, quite the opposite of Henry.

"I can't have a boy slave," Cora complained, "and I can't marry Martin, I can't have anything I want!"

Cora and Louis fulfilled the comic relief quotients in spades, though I'm still a little pissed at Louis right now. He needs to get his head out of his ass. The secondary characters pushed the story forward and are fleshing out Henry and this world little by little. It seems clear Nurse understands Henry's preferences; they have some poignant moments that made my heart happy to know someone in his life loves him unconditionally. His father possibly has an inkling which may have precipitated the Uncle Reggie thing. I'm anxious to find out more about Reggie. I'm hoping he'll help Henry be less self-conscious. Even James, Louis' older brother, who's seemingly out of control is intriguing. What's happening there? Something ain't right with that kid. There's so much I still want to know! No way two more books is going to be sufficient. C'mon Glass! Throw a girl a bone or twenty.

The writing is as superb, evocative and delectable as A Most Personal Property. I found this one to be less wordy than the first, and despite it's page count I found it to be a quick read though I might be a teensy bit biased. 

One final note:  Someone needs to do something about that Adam Pettibone otherwise I'll have no choice but to jump in to this story and have words with him. Pettibone, I can promise you you won't like my words. No one little bit. *glares*
An ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest opinion.

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  1. Hehehe...Cupcake keeps tempting me. I don't even know Cora but I'm liking her style!!

    1. Cora was hilarious. There's a whole scene where she's playing with dolls and is instructing Henry… Yeah, I chortled.