After returning from service, Army veteran Jack McCall fought his way back from addiction and joined a charity supporting homeless veterans in London, where he became an inspiration to others. He approaches Edward Marsden, Viscount Routhsley, a known playboy and philanthropist, about sponsorship for his charity. To his surprise, Edward isn’t the shallow pleasure-seeker everyone assumes, and he and Edward share many interests. Little by little, they are drawn together in spite of the different worlds they come from.
But for two men in the public eye, happiness won’t be so easily achieved. Edward fears coming out as gay will shift attention from his charity work, and Jack worries his relationship with the aristocrat will undermine the integrity of his foundation. They come under intense scrutiny, leading to an inevitable clash between Jack and the press who won’t stop harassing them. As what they’ve built comes crashing down, Jack and Edward must make a choice: continue presenting the facade the public expects, or expose the private truths in their hearts so they can be together.
Sara - 5 Hearts
This was romantic. Oh so romantic with an engaging plot and character development that kept me so bloody glued to the page and in the story, I forgot to eat. Yeah, it was one of those books.
So before I get into this review, I need to say that I have five pages of notes and quotes that I don’t know what to do with. There is so much in this story, so much more than the blurb even alludes to that I don't know where to begin or what to share without giving too much away. This story is what I call an onion; you think you are getting what you see on the surface and yet the more you read, the stronger the story becomes and things happen to your eyes. Seriously though.
So. I’m gonna try to not ramble but, yeah. It’s my way.
Jack wondered when his world had become so off-balance. Probably, he thought, about the same time a tall, blond gentleman stepped into his life and confused everything.
Jack McCall, our wonderfully freckled ginger narrator, an ex-Army combat veteran, works his tail off with a charity Those Returned, a charity who aids veterans with the transitions back home and into civilian life. It’s not an easy job but it is one Jack takes great responsibility that when Jack is assigned the task of seeking out Edward Marsden, aka Viscount Routhsley, to get him to contribute the charity, a simple act of human decency via a glass of champagne sets the men on a course to one another.
I adored that the story was told from Jack’s POV because the man tells a great story. We get small bits of him and his past but the first meeting with Edward, it gives him a longing he was not prepared for. Little does he know, Edward has the same feelings; after a meeting at the shelter and then another at Edwards flat where the flirting was engaged by a just out of the shower Edward *bites fist* Jack learns that this man, a member of the aristocracy, happens to be so finely dressed because he is in the closet.
I have a soft spot for men in the closet. I think it has to do with the emotional journey they go on while fighting their fears and coming to terms with it all. But this, it’s not the traditional story we get of a closeted man and for that I was thankful. Edward is only in the closet so that the intentions of his money to charities isn’t mixed up with his preferences. The fact that Jack, a man he now fancies, is part of a charity Edward is giving money to, makes this complicated and that’s where the hiding comes into play.
You think I haven’t had people after me for my money before? I know you’re not. You know you’re not. The fact I want to sponsor your charity is irrelevant to the fact I wouldn’t mind having you in my bed.
Now, like I said before, this story is layered and while you have Edward needing to keep his sexuality out of the public eye his liking Jack can cause a few issues. It’s what happens because people (reporters) are terribly nosey that turns the story from a simple case of hiding a relationship to a stellar read that delivers romance, support, fight and true acceptance.
We take privacy for granted. I know I do. People love to know the ins and outs of those who are in the papers and magazines; the celebrities from all walks of life. Regardless of how they came into the public eye, people want to know what they ate, what they are wearing, who they are dating, where are they going etc. It’s exhausting to see it online and on magazine covers that I just cannot imagine having to live it. To go to the lengths a public figure must when they simply fancy another person and want to have a relationship with them is extraordinary and insane.
This is all bollocks. We’re grown men. It’s no one’s business what we do behind closed doors.
This is true hurt/comfort and it’s done well. I like that Edward being in the closet is only for the public side of himself and that his family and those he holds close and trusts, know the truth. Meeting Edward’s father was a delight and I love how he treated Jack when they met. Edward’s parents are beyond accepting of their son and it was such a change to see and have it be believable. Though he has the acceptance, Edward believes if he keeps his preferences out of his public life and charity work it’s for the best and both he and Jack believe keeping their relationship private is for the betterment of his involvement with Those Returned and yet, what could it cost them?
This romance is built upon chance that builds into a strong foundation. Jack, for reasons I won’t spoil, has a need to be hidden Edward is there to provide the soft landing jack needs. The men now have time to get to know one another without the public strains of reporters breathing down their necks. Though the internal anxiety they face, of what would happen to Jack also allows them to deal with the stress of Jack’s PTSD and may I say, it was amazing to read how Edward helps Jack cope.
Edward. Le Sigh. The picture of Edward as a boy was simply adorable. I loved the stories he tells Jack but Jack, his thoughts on his Army career broke my heart and yet the time allowed them to share these bits with one another was truly bittersweet. You feel the connection they have, the friendship and the chemistry as lovers who want more. But how can either of them have more when neither of them are publicly out? It was the angst of all angst to see them struggle and yet the author delivers it gorgeously.
It was unfamiliar. Almost two decades in the military couldn’t ever have been considered safe, but even working with Those Returned, there was always the fear and doubt that if they found out about his past and what he was capable of, he might be turned out. But now, he’d let Edward see a little of who he was and the world hadn’t ended.
Edward is simply amazing. He isn’t your usual aristocratic wealthy man, he is just a man and his new found fondness for Jack is something he prioritizes. He wants Jack to be happy and healthy and seeing all the ways he comforts jack and supports him was amazing. He won’t let jack run away and throw away what is staring them in the face. Edward will fight for them to have a chance, even if that means telling all his truths.
The story is full of romantic moments but I think my favorite is Edward’s addiction to Jack’s freckles. Growing up with them myself, they weren’t always seen as a positive nor attractive so when you have a man, who finds them charming and interesting enough to search out constellations in them, just clean up the puddle of goo I turn into.
“How many men do you know who have the constellations picked out so beautifully on their back?”
“Freckles. They’re nothing special.”
Edward leaned closer. “Charming is what they are.”
This is one heck of a slow burn romance. Though the men move quickly into a physical relationship, it was just supposed to be “an enthusiastic fuck” and nothing more. But circumstances throw them together and they work, they communicate as adults so that they can get through it. You’d think living with someone after knowing them for such a short time would be awkward but the way Jack and Edward go about it was gorgeous and oh so romantic. I so enjoyed watching them fall in love while they learned about the other.
The secondary characters in the story are amazing and vital. Edward’s Matilda is a force to be reckoned with but she always has Edward’s best interests at heart and in her sights. She has known the man too long to not be diligent with his heart and make sure that all of his transactions are treated with the best public relations that can be offered. Even if that means she is a bit of a twat to Jack, I can see where she is coming from. Henderson is a good man and boss to Jack, always having his back and knowing that Jack is just like the ex-soldiers they help at Those Returned. Again, Edward’s parents bring a spark into the story and Tommy and Angie were a breath of fresh air to an uptight situation but also for Jack.
His whole life was a fishbowl, and everything he’d done was to protect Jack from the worst of it.
Private Truths is a stellar work from a talented author who delivers a truly romantic story that is quick to be a favorite of mine. Not only does she tackle a tough subject of Veterans with PTSD but does so with respect. Lewis has created two men who refuse to exploit their relationship for the sake of comfort and instead, force their truths to be the guiding force to their happiness.
SheReadsALot - 5 Hearts
I love reading romance.
I love reading about all types of protagonists: the socially awkward, the ultra-suave, the shy, the grumpy, etc. Hell even the super possessive 'alpha' has a place and time. Call it fantasy, guilty pleasure, whatever, just give me a good romance where the main characters have to work for a happy ending, and you will have a fan in me.
Private Truths by C.B. Lewis did this for me, hooked me with layered main characters who didn't expect love to be the final order....and were so happy that it happened to them.
A publicly closeted aristocrat and a war damaged veteran, who at the core of what matters, are great people who totally deserve each other. That's what you can find in Private Truths. This is my first 2017 fave for a reason, it's getting harder and harder I'm finding to read a book I actively want to re-read and bask in. I took joy in starting my day reading about Jack and Edward and seeing what the world threw at them next.
Set in present day London, the book starts with ginger haired vet Jack McCall being sort of forced into promoting his charity for vets in need, Those Returned, at a dress up event. His boss put him on the trail of wealthy Edward Marsden, Viscount Routhsley. Jack awkwardly places a bid for Those Returned, doesn't make much small talk and hightails it out of there as soon as he could. What he doesn't expect is really capturing the attention of the presumed ladies man viscount Routhsley.
I knew this book was going to be a winner from 4%. Jack and Edward have a chemistry that slow burned and simmered from that event and it carried itself all the way to the final page.
"I had no notion I would grow so attached to you, Mr. McCall."
"I'll second that." He leaned sideways until his shoulder rested against Edward's hip. Edward's fingers stroked through his hair and brushed down his neck. There was something comforting about the casual intimacy of that touch. "I'm glad it happened, though."
Edward kneaded his neck gently. "And I," he murmured, "shall second that."
Class differences? Yes. But Lewis didn't make it be the leading difference. Edward is smooth but he cares for people. And he takes a shine on Jack. However his public life is fodder for the gossip rags and ruthless paparazzi. So in the closet Edward remains. He and a reluctant Jack start of as men with a shared passion to help others in need, to friends, to lovers.
Jack gets swept into Edward's world. But Jack's had a taste of the limelight via harassing paparazzi. and for a man on edge and has PTSD, the results weren't favorable.
The story shines a light on those who suffer PTSD without going to extremes or brushing the aftereffects for a far fetched plot line. It's realistic. The relationship between the men doesn't happen overnight, the author wonderfully gives them time. Slow burn is the aim, over saturated sex-fests that drown out the plot won't be found here.
"Why the hell do you care?"The passion is abundant as is the romance. The author (yes I nerded out to find out more about this author after reading) calls this book an "old fashioned romance", I couldn't agree more. At times, it gave me historical romance in present day feels. I could have easily put two men in a different time period and the story would still work.
Edward's hand was warm against his cheek, and he had to fight the urge to tilt his head into Edward's touch.
"Why wouldn't I?" Edward asked quietly.
The story mainly from Jack's POV. The reader gets to share in his wide range of emotion. The lust (yes, there is a good amount of sex, though not overly graphic), the fear and the uncertainty of falling for someone. Plus, the paparazzi/villainous angle also helped move the story along.
And the humor!
"Jesus Christ!" he exclaimed, rushing around the table to hug her, her round belly knocking against his ribs. "What's that big clown been doing to you?"The humor was wonderfully mixed in throughout the book. Edward was a dashing leading man. I could buy why Jack was enamored. And Edward's parents are a hilarious delight. Even when times got rough, the humor peeked though, Great mix.
"Same thing you lads just done," Tommy said smugly, "with a hundred percent more fanny."
Another facet of this story is that it's on the quieter side of romance but their chemistry spoke volumes. I do enjoy a well written quieter romance, where the little moments tell a lot about the main characters' feelings. A touch can say so much.
I'm a quote-nista. I love a good quote. The more I love a story, the more quotes I save like a mad woman. Sara has 5 pages of quotes. (I'm pretty close w/ # pages of quotes from Private Truths) After my first time reading C.B. Lewis, I am a fan. I loved her words, pacing, the moments & in-between and all of her characters (even the arsehole ones)
Good persevered, an important light on veterans was portrayed with respect and a romance that definitely left a lasting impression was written. This ends with a solid HEA for me.
I'll be looking for more C.B. Lewis with bells on.
Recommended to readers who love romance between layered characters and enjoy reading slow burn.
Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!