A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{May 22, 2012}   The Satorialist by Cecilia Ryan

Plot: Beau Brummel is the royal sartorial advisor and a favorite of Prince George. When he spots a beautiful young soldier at a ball, he plans only to give him a make over and have a little tumble. He doesn’t expect to fall in love with Toby. When the crown prince notices how close the men have grown, he is less than pleased. He offers Beau an ultimatum: leave Toby or hang for treason.

This review is based on an ARC provided by Netgalley.

The Satorialist left me feeling a little disappointed. I was rather excited to read it: I like history and pretty boys, history about real-life pretty boys seemed right up my alley. Unfortunately the execution left me dry.

The problem, for me, was that the story was told from a point in the distant future, looking back. This is a perfectly acceptable narrative technique but in this case it created a distance between the reader and the events and emotions in the book. Even the sex scenes were discussed from a remove which gave them a weird clinical feel. It felt like overhearing a stranger talk about their day in a coffee shop. To make things worse, we move through the plot at a breakneck speed: almost 30 years pass in 60 pages.

The sad thing is that I was genuinely curious about the events and characters. Beau in particular had great potential to be a vain, intelligent and witty protagonist with an exciting love affair. If the whole thing had been slowed down and fleshed out, it could have been thrilling and heart breaking.

On the whole, the novella reads well and it isn’t unenjoyable, but it is a rather superficial exploration of an interesting historical figure.

2012 (#50)


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