Author: Jordan L. Hawk
Series: Whyborne & Griffin (Book #1)
Genre: Historical Romance; M/M; Mystery
Pub date: 12/04/2012
Some things should stay buried.
Repressed scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has two skills: reading dead languages and hiding in his office at the Ladysmith Museum. After the tragic death of the friend he secretly loved, he’s ruthlessly suppressed any desire for another man.
So when handsome ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty approaches him to translate a mysterious book, Whyborne wants to finish the job and get rid of the detective as quickly as possible. Griffin left the Pinkertons following the death of his partner, hoping to start a new life. But the powerful cult which murdered Glenn has taken root in Widdershins, and only the spells in the book can stop them. Spells the intellectual Whyborne doesn’t believe are real.
As the investigation draws the two men closer, Griffin’s rakish charm threatens to shatter Whyborne’s iron control. When the cult resurrects an evil sorcerer who commands terrifying monsters, can Whyborne overcome his fear and learn to trust? Will Griffin let go of his past and risk falling in love? Or will Griffin’s secrets cost Whyborne both his heart and his life?
Widdershins is the first book in the Whyborne & Griffin series of which there are currently 8 published and 2 unpublished books in addition to several short stories. It takes place in the late 1800’s in New England. If it was based in current day I would classify it as an urban fantasy novel not a romance. I hesitate to put it under historical romance because it just doesn’t feel right to me but it seems that most people are marking it as such and I can’t think of a better classification so will follow the crowd.
It was the cover art that drew me to Widdershins. I will admit that I didn’t even read the description. I hate how reading them gives away things that will happen. Since I didn’t read it though, I didn’t realize that the book was based in the past. It took me through the first chapter or so to figure out what was going on, to my embarrassment. As I usually do when I’m reading a new book I tried to draw comparisons to other books that I’d previously read. Since I haven’t read all that many historical novels I had a hard time with this one. The only one that even came close was The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. That one only has time traveling but still there is quite a bit in the past and supernatural aspects as well.
Frustratingly, this very unique book won’t get as much attention as it really should due to the fact that it’s a m/m novel. There are some quite graphic sex scenes but you could always skip past them. It’s not like erotica where it’s in every chapter or anything. Making this book even more diverse, there is a major supernatural aspect as well. I hesitate to call it magic. Sorcery perhaps? Dark magic maybe. Either way, it was a nice addition.
Lastly, there’s the mystery. Griffin is a private detective hired to solve a murder. He seeks the help of Whyborne to translate a grimoire related to the murder. I really liked both Griffin and Whyborne. The book is written from Whyborne’s point of view. There is a short story that is based between Widdershins and the second book Threshold called Eidolon that is from Griffin’s point of view that gives a lot of understanding into how he thinks of himself and Whyborne. I’m not reviewing it because it’s very short and only took an hour to read but thought it should be mentioned here. Whyborne’s friend and co-worker Christine was really the only supporting character of note. I liked her a lot and hope she’s in the following books.
I would wholeheartedly recommend Widdershins. As you may have noticed it’s hard to classify to whom I would recommend the book since it is in a broad range of genres. If you enjoy mystery such as a Sherlock Holmes type novel then you may like it. Add in the supernatural and romance factors and it really stands out among other books. I’m actually pretty surprised that I haven’t read it before this. I really enjoyed it and read it within a day. There are several other books in the series and I look forward to seeing where the story goes next.
“Why did he have to be kind? If only he’d mocked me, or sneered at me, or merely tolerated me, then I would have known how to deal with him. But he insisted on being kind, on pretending I had some worth. How was I to defend myself against that?”