Review: Winter Hearts by Fyn Alexander

Luke Chandler says he wants nothing more than a quiet life on his land-claim in Dakota Territory. But what he also wants is a partner. The problem is, loving other men in 1881 means a lonely life for a man like Luke. As the son of a butcher from Boston, his desire for a loving domestic relationship seems nothing more than a dream, until one winter night, a snow storm blows a young man to his door in need of shelter. As the winter drags on, bringing with it a slow-burning love, his hopes begin to soar. Along with those hopes, his fears of the reactions of the people in the small town of De Smet grow.

Sam Smith is a romantic, but he also holds a strong family loyalty. He leaves Boston to get away from his parents’ expectations for a while, always knowing he must return at some point. The sweet young man does not anticipate meeting a rugged, honest man like Luke, who is desperate for love while at the same time afraid of the repercussions. The first time Luke holds him in his arms, Sam plans on making Luke his darling man.

My first Fyn Alexander and certainly will not be my last.

This author has built a house on my TBR mountain. The premises are SRAL appealing: large age gap, a young twink type and an older bear type, D/s and alludes to kinky sex. Why did I wait so long that her books can pay me mortgage for their residence in my TBR? I dunno. I get distracted.

I'm paying attention now.

I am not sure if I can call her writing formulaic (yet) but I am usually pretty good at sniffing those out. And this is a formula that works for me. Did the story read like a true historical romance? Eh, some parts did, some parts didn't. It kinda read like a contemporary to me, if you ignore the fact the character rode horses instead of driving cars. The tone and, sometimes, the dialogue read modern. I think readers who don't gravitate to the more traditional historical settings might like this book.

Sam Smith (which kinda weirded me out while reading the beginning because I kept thinking about the singer)  is a gay Harvard law student who left his Boston Brahmin (wealthy) lifestyle to be independent and farm on his own claim of land in the Dakota Territory (De Smet, SD). He wants to ignore his lavish lifestyle and homosexual partying ways much to his family's anger. Sam lied about his age, nearly freezes to death in a snow storm and meets a fellow gay Bostonian (Luke Chandler) in the town on De Smet in 1881 (what are the chances?) Luke is surly, older larger than Sam's 5'11", hairy and closeted. Luke has been spurned in the past for being who he was so he denies any temptation and represses, represses, represses.

We have one surly, bear type and a carefree, twink-like dandy trapped in shanty for a very long winter is a recipe for hot man loving right? Well...sorta in this book. The two got together fairly quickly, Sam of course has hearts and butterflies in his eyes. He loves his "darling man" and loves to cook, clean and nurture his bear any way he can. However, the sex scenes while hot, were a little inconsistent in the hotness factor, especially in the beginning. It was almost fade to black and little disappointing but it got better once the story hit its stride in the middle.I would describe the sex as spicy vanilla. Maybe light D/s undertones? I wouldn't have minded a scene but that just because I'm greedy

Predictable? A little.

Was the story entertaining? Most definitely.

The story started a little rough to me, then we get this instant connection between the main characters. I could see what the main conflict would be from the first chapter and it played out exactly how I imagined at the crux of the story.

But I found myself being drawn to Luke and Sam. I stopped caring about why a 19 year old would be so determined to serve a grumpy, 30 year old who had such a tough time returning his affection. But Luke loved his Sam, in his own fucked up way. They grew to be a great little couple with their little issues: Luke and his closet, Sam and his lying. They made it work with a cast of characters: the villain Morley and slutty bottom twink/dandy Courtland were the most memorable. The drama wasn't too over the top but sometimes I rolled my eyes. I mean could a guy really be so blase with their homosexuality in 1881 without more drastic repercussions? Sam...he was so open with his sexuality in a time where you'd be killed or lynched for openly admitting you were in love with the same sex. I could griped more about it but damn it I really liked (not loved) this story. *ponders* I think I expected a little more girt and realism. The epilogue was gratuitous sugar. I could have done with out it or maybe made it shorter.

I want to read contemporary Fyn Alexander to compare.

Overall, a decent story, with good characters. I was satisfied. Can't go wrong with a bear and his twink, no matter how you dress them.
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  1. Bears and twinks are my must for 2015 (and rent boys with HEA) so sold! I've been looking at Fyn Alexander's The Angel and the Assassin, but she's a new author to me and the book is nearly £6.00, which, without a strong recommendation, I wouldn't pay for a author I haven't tried before, so problem solved!

    1. A bear/twink combo is always a yummy combination. Your 2015 sounds like it will be pretty hot Lorraine. ;)

      I also get the apprehension with spending $$$ on new authors. I don't like wasting my cash on duds myself.

    2. That is why BMBR stands out amongst the rest of them - honest reviews, great reference library and fun!