The affair is made more complicated by the arrival of Clarence, desperate to win Daniel back, and the anonymous blackmail notes that threaten to expose both Daniel and Luke's sexuality. In a series of secret rendezvous, heated arguments and affairs, and repeated reminders of familial obligations, Lawrence deftly navigates the excruciating shame and guilt in concealing one's sexuality from an all-too-often judgemental society. "There is no place for me, or you, in a town like this. Perhaps in a city, where we could be anonymous. But that isn't truly being accepted, is it?" Luke says, an urgent and still all-too-timely reminder of the importance of accepting one’s self first and foremost.
Indeed, beyond the struggle for acceptance, Lawrence crafts a romance that rouses, with twists, surprises, and a randy wit. Blackmailer’s Delight does not extensively dwell on the falling-in-love phase, introducing complications early on, and lingering with playful precision on erotic romps. The bittersweet love triangle unfolds as a tale of being seen and understood, accepting queerness, taking no love for granted, and allowing oneself to indulge in the youthful pleasure of loving and being loved. Perfect for readers fond of LGBTQ+ romances with an erotic edge.
Takeaway: Randy, heartfelt winner of a gay Georgian romance.
Comparable Titles: Cat Sebastian’s The Queer Principles of Kit Webb, K.J. Charles’s The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: A