Sadie S. Forsythe
on March 15, 2018 :
While reading Widdershins one word kept repeating through my head—CUTE, cute, cute, cute. Then I thought how refreshing it was to have two strong sexy men who weren't alpha-assholes. Yeah, Griffin gets a little bossy in the bedroom, but both men are pleasantly beta-like. I liked it. They're also a little older than the average romance hero and I always like meeting a non-nubile twenty-year-old, with a little life-experience in a lead role.
The villain was appropriately evil, while the supporting bad guys had enough grey to make them interesting. There was a strong, kick-ass female character (almost unheard of in the m/m genre, in my experience). Yes, Christine for the win! The sex was hot, without ever cluttering the story and I enjoyed the writing.
So, lots to like about this book. My only real complaints were a FEW editing slips and I didn't think Whyborne got enough of credit or...is there a word for having everyone see how horribly they'd been misjudging him? Anyhow, that. But I suspect that's because he needs that same persona to carry on into future books. (Speaking of future books, this one ends. It's not a cliffy.)
I'm calling it a success on all fronts.
(reviewed 79 days after purchase)
on Dec. 2, 2017 :
"Widdershins" is the first book in the "Whyborne & Griffin" series. I won't go into a summary, the description on the book link is perfectly okay to get a general sense of the story setting. I haven't read anything by JLH before, so it was something of a gamble when I purchased the first three books. The lovecraftian elements, combined with the stuffy demeanor of a victorian gentleman, offset by the story playing out in USA during the high time of the exploration and industrialisation, instead of London (which would be my default expectation when the moniker "victorian" is used) - it works unbelievably good to build an atmosphere of foreboding and secrecy, whithout tipping into another extreme of torture porn. While I found Whybornes constant inner put-downs somewhat too much, in this I admit that my assessment might be somewhat subjective, being familiar how endless the spiral of self-hate can seem. Which made the ending all the more satisfactory when he finally showed the spine of steel, when needed. The supporting character of Dr. Putnam was a nice touch, and I appreciated having another person to dilute the secretive dynamic that the protagonist couple tend to fall into, considering the story setting. All in all, recommend and would buy again.
(reviewed 2 years after purchase)
on May 12, 2016 :
“Widdershins” is the start of the “Whyborne & Griffin” series, and I purchased the rest of the books before I’d even finished reading the first. Hawk does a wonderful job with tension and atmosphere, painting a likable narrator into a well-paced adventure. I thought the horror and mystery elements were especially well done, and I was even more impressed by the dialogue. It can be tough to get the tone right in a historical setting, and Hawk does a wonderful job.
(reviewed 3 years after purchase)
on June 8, 2013 :
This author is fast becoming one of my favourites. I almost can’t encompass how much this story has everything that makes me happy to read a book. Romance, beautiful and complicated men, supernatural horrors, sorcery, a steep learning curve for oblivious characters who are forced to wake up right now or die. The scenery: it’s grim and snowy and cold and set in an alternate early America, in a city born from the whaling trade. You get that harsh flavour of hard work, now and in the past, mixed with industry and ruthlessness and authority and arrogance. Tuck in the all but smothering attitude of learned men in a museum, and you feel edifices will crush your emotions to a grey pulp. And then you get the redeeming characters who remind you why we make friends, have lovers, entertain hopes. The bright parts are so bright, you are warmed when the characters feel that warmth.
Loved the narrative. Very beautiful balance between feelings, scene and action. I’m on the second book in the series now. If not for distractions in the house, I’d probably read it in hours like the first. But I’ll do my best in any case, no doubt.
(reviewed 10 days after purchase)