Tag Team Review: Patron by C.B. Lewis

Theodore Wentworth, who possesses little more than a sharp and well-educated mind, is trying to solicit a sponsor for his studies of Greek antiquity by performing recitations at gatherings of collectors. Desperate for luck and better skills in oratory, in jest, he places a coin at the feet of a statue of Hermes. It seems like coincidence when his fortune turns and a gentleman calling himself Alexander becomes his benefactor. Despite his friend John teasing him about it, Theodore continues to offer tokens to Hermes and sinks himself into his study of the classics.

Alexander encourages Theodore’s interest, prompting Theodore to face desires he tried to put aside years before. As Theodore embraces the knowledge, he must also resist his attraction to Alexander—knowing his feelings are a serious crime in Victorian England.

But the secret Alexander keeps will change everything in a love story for the ages, steeped in taboo, temptation, history, and myth.

Sara - 4.5 Hearts

This was a breath of fresh air. I have an adoration and fascination with mythology of all sorts but Greek was the first I truly was engaged with. It’s always amazing to learn why things are in our modern times – like say the seasons – and have them traced back to mythology (Hades, Demeter and Persephone) which always seems to make perfect sense to me. This book relies on mythology for the ideology of this story and it’s done beautifully.
We meet Theodore Wentworth in Victorian London as he is studying law but has a real love for the Greek Language. Theodore is in need of money and hopes that being asked to do a reading from the Iliad will draw a patron to him so that financial worries will be lessened. As Theodore is waiting in the library, he falls upon a statue of Hermes and decides to lay a shilling at the Gods feet and call out for help. Superstitious or not, Theodore knows there is nothing to lose and as he is called in for the reading it is too late to take back his shilling.
Though Theodore is good with this Greek, he flies through his reading like a rock star and earns the attention of some favorable gentlemen who offer a bit of work. But it’s the dark haired man with the cane that arouses Theodore’s senses in so many ways and they mystery behind this gentleman stirs a long hidden secret of Theodore. With Theodore’s internal dialogue while questioning his curiosity about the gentleman, we get a small glimpse into Theodore’s past and learn about his friend Robert from school whose shared curiosity earned them both a caning across the palms.  
I have to say quickly; I truly love that the author gave a confirmed bachelor like Theodore such a wonderful friend in John and made John unconventional for the times. He gets his best friend and knows all about Robert – which in its own way is code for Theodore’s attraction to men - but John is nothing but faithful in his friendship and always tries to do what’s best for Theodore.
Now this short story relies heavily on mythology and some YA fans of The Song of Achilles will enjoy that Theodore gets a chance to read all of The Iliad including the pages he wasn’t taught in school that including Achilles and Patroklus. I sighed as Theodore read and realized that Achilles and Patroklus were more than just friends and how Achilles reacted to Patroklus death made much more sense. It seems odd that a simple friendship would impart revenge over the death of one’s “friend” with such passion.  But you get why a lover would revenge the death of his beloved. Now, it has been much debated if these two were lovers but I lean toward the side that they were. Mythology gives us many instances were men loves men, like I love the idea that Apollo was so in love with Hyacinth, he refused to let Hades take him and instead turned him into a flower from his spilled blood.  Mythology  has this sort of alpha male deal to it, and I like it but I also like that the Greeks were so fond of love and fornicating that they were open to who it was with…even if you needed to turn into a golden shower or swan to get off.
Okay, I digress but I said I loved mythology. Back to the book.
When the dark haired gentleman from Theodore’s reading calls upon him to dinner, they begin to talk about the hidden texts and what they mean. Theodore is afraid of his feelings toward the now named Alexander and terrified that Alexander may want the same thing. When he lays down a few more offerings to Hermes and they are answered without reservation, it’s time for Theodore to decide if he can accept what is in front of him without prejudice.
Patron truly was a lovely read and special treat for those who favor mythology.  I loved the feel of it, how the intimate touches were so whispery and light yet so meaningful. They felt right for the time and while that end felt abrupt – or maybe I just wanted more – but it left this reader satisfied.

SheReadsALot - 4 Hearts

Slow and steady wins the race, right?

It would have been enough to part with the smile and a handshake, but Alexander grazed his thumb down the back of Theodore's hand. His eyes never left Theodore's, dark and warm, and then their fingers were slipping apart, and Theodore tried to recall how to breathe.

Well slow burn tends to win for me too. And this author struck the right chords for me yet again.

Patron is a short story based in the historical Victorian period. It stars geeky lawyer, Theodore Wentworth, a man of humble beginnings who worked what he has so far. Though he is a lawyer, his passion is Greek mythology. (Can't say that I blame him because it's a fave subject of mine as well). His passion doesn't bring home any money, nor is he rich. He seeks a sponsor with a love for the Hellenic period. The story starts with Theodore nervous, about to read a text in ancient Greek and he offers a small payment to a statue of the god Hermes. The story slowly shows Theodore in his element, his nervousness and geek chic. Something comes over him as he reads the text to the potential rich patrons. Could it be the man with mesmerizing eyes staring directly at him in the back of the room?

The man who ignites something in Theodore only gives the name of Alexander. If you read the blurb, you can easily figure out the mystery behind Alexander. But... that's the magic of the story. That and the quiet pursuit of Theodore by Alexander. Theodore was slowly plodding along a lonely life, never even dreaming of having a companion due to being gay in that time period and fearing for retribution for loving who he wants to love. He denies himself.

And I think the author captured enough emotions to show the longing in Theodore. He's so afraid. He has a very good friend and his wife for companionship. But the resignation takes a toll, hiding who he is stifles him. Alexander who shares the same interests, the same passion, and possible the same attraction, seems like a dream man.

After that magical night of ancient Greek reading, Alexander begins to creep into Theodore's waking thoughts and dreams.  He shows up once in awhile as Theodore's luck is changing for the better. Alexander with his smoldering glances and grazes... *bites lip* Nothing too overt, more sensual and intimate than anything. I think the author aced it with the pauses and touches. Sometimes more can be said when bodies speak for themselves without being extremely obvious.

He locked the door of his small room, and only then did he lift his hand to his cheek where Alexander had touched him. Such a touch was far more intimate than a hand to the shoulder or to the elbow.

I wouldn't suggest this story if you need everything spelled out, filled with sex (there is a sex scene but I've noticed the author doesn't get overly graphic) or need immediate actions. Even though it's a short length, the characters take some time to get to know each other. Or I should say Theodore takes the time to discover something within himself that he never dared dream for.

I'm on the fence with the length of the story. On one hand, it's a little short to give a full picture of Theodore's seduction. And on the other hand, it works because where else could the story go with mysterious Alexander? The pacing starts slow, and the time spent with Theodore's best friend and wife seemed a tad long in points but it did showcase key turning points.

What sold me were smaller moments. JEEZSUS, does this author win in the smaller moments department. You get a touch or a glance between the protagonists and I mini swooned on the inside.

The story is tame, quietly passionate at points and bursting with Greek mythology references. Is there a HEA? I'd like to think so. It's sort of HFN, maybe HEA depending on who you ask. I'm hopeful and still quietly preening from gestures made in Patron. It starts slow and ends with quiet boom.

The last words? Made the entire story.

This story solidified me as a C.B. Lewis fan. I'm anxious for what else is plotting in their mind.

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