I’ve just finished The Soldier’s Scandal by Cat Sebastian. This was in an effort to try a completely new genre for me in 2017 as the one into which this falls (LGBT) is completely outside of my own reading experience. I really don’t know what to think about it. I would agree it was pretty well written, the characterisations, particularly Jack Turner, were good and some of the period ambience was well done. However, I really had some problems with it. For a start, homosexuality was illegal in England until 1967 and legalised only in 1980 in Scotland and 1982 in Northern Ireland. For a long time, and probably in the early 19th century, the Buggery Act of 1533 was still on the statue books and as I understand it, homosexual acts were a capital crime and executions were carried out. I really have done very little research on this so perhaps I have misunderstood the facts. It was just that I found the relative ease with which Rivington and Turner were able to have sex was unbelievable. We are talking about an era before most bedrooms had locks on the doors. In a country (or urban) inn or country house, servants were coming and going at all hours of the day and night so concealment must have been difficult though the author would have us accept that these two men were able, on numerous occasions, to do what they liked, day or night. I found it hard to swallow.
I am not squeamish when reading about sex in a novel although I do like some romance with it! As I read this book, I found myself wondering just who the author is aiming this book at. Gay men? Straight men? Straight women? Gay women? Someone else? After reading it and thinking about it long and hard, I just felt that I was a voyeur as I read it, and that the descriptions of the main characters lovemaking was, for me at any rate, unpalatable. I found myself wondering just what it is that makes the descriptions of LGBT sexual acts appealing to straight women (or men, for that matter). Do LGBT people read these books? If they do, I’d really be interested to know what they make of them, whether they are popular within that community and whether they consider that an author such as Cat Sebastian has got LGBT love and sex right. I believe she must not be LGBT herself as she says on her website that she has a husband and three children. I would also like to know what led her to write in this genre.
Finally, it’s not a genre to which I will be returning. I just felt too uncomfortable with it. And I wonder if those in the LGBT community like to read romance novels that are about straight relationships, love and sex acts. I don’t know if I am stirring up a hornet’s next here or not. I really would be interested to know what others here at AAR think about it.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you here at AAR.