Reviewed by Heather C
Title: A Rose by Any Other Name
Author: Charlie Cochet
Series: Fallen Rose #2
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Length: 270 Pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 12, 2014
Available at: Dreamspinner Press and Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Nights in the roaring city remind bright young things that life’s too short to take for granted. Tucked away in Times Square hides the Pantheon: a secret cabaret for wealthy gay men. Pretty young men in elaborate costumes and rouged lips are eager to please, and the champagne flows all night long. It’s a world of frivolity, fantasy, and debauchery. As Eros, the most sought after performer at the Pantheon, Julius uses his beauty and charm on enthusiastic patrons, but growing weary of superficial love, he longs to make a better life for himself.
Five years after being declared mentally unfit after surviving the trenches of No Man’s Land, Edward Joseph Clarence Junior pieced his shattered life back together. Now he’s ready to take on the family empire. To celebrate his thirtieth birthday, Edward’s cousin takes him to the most posh nightclub in town, the Pantheon. Falling under the sway of Eros, Edward and Julius find a love they’ve never imagined and the chance for a future they had only dared to dream about. But as Ares, a notorious gangster and Julius’s most important—and dangerous— client watches them, the threat to their love and their lives grows by the day.
After reading Roses in the Devil’s Garden, I was really excited to read Julius’s story. I knew by the blurb that this would delve more into the sex industry than into prohibition, but it still wasn’t really what I expected…
It’s 1927, two years after we met Julius Knight in Roses in the Devil’s Garden. He’s moved into the role of Eros, the most desired performer at the Pantheon: the high-dollar, exclusive club catering to the fantasies of gay men. On the night of his 30th birthday, wealthy businessman and heir, Edward Joseph Clarence Junior, is treated by his friends to a night of booze and debauchery at the Pantheon where he meets the beautiful Eros. Edward is determined to “romance” Julius, but Julius is bound to the Pantheon and his dangerous client, Ares.
Despite the seriousness of the blurb, this story was mostly over the top fun. Very character driven and a bit outrageous at times, the sweetness of the romances more than makes up for it.
I really liked how Edward never made his relationship with Julius all about sex. He courted Julius and really won over his trust and his heart before he would ever let Julius have his way with him…so it definitely made for some really good sexual tension. And Julius never saw Edward as a source for money. No, Julius fought his feelings and attraction for Edward until he could no longer put him off. I believed in the romance between them, and they are one of those couples that makes me want to say ‘awww, aren’t they sweet!’.
I really liked all the secondary characters. First, there are Julius’s best friends, Terry and Lawry, and Edward’s best friend, Albert, and cousin, Maxfield. I loved how important their roles were in the story and how they had little side romances of their own. Gah, the tension between Maxfield and Lawry was the best!! I would have liked to have seen a bit more of them to be honest. Then there was Nate and Harlan from the first book. Oh.my.god Harlan and Edward fighting was cracking me up. Bunch of drama queens…every last one of them! Oh, John and Danny even make a brief appearance. And we find out how Edward knows Jacky from The Auspicious Troubles of Chance. It’s come full circle!
I really liked the setting: 1920s swanky cabaret-slash-sex-club that is the Pantheon, with its secret corridors and dark booths where any number if illicit activities might take place.
The villain was despicable and one of those guys I would love to stab in the eyes after cutting off his testicles with a dull pair of scissors. It was obvious who Ares actually was, but I really liked how they tied him in with the previous book. And Anteros…I wanted to choke that little snot.
I was worried there for a while, but somehow it all turns into a sweet HEA…for more than just Edward and Julius. I kinda didn’t want it to end!
This could probably be read as a standalone, but I definitely recommend reading Roses in the Devil’s Garden first to fully appreciate the last half of the book.
Overall Impression: I Really Liked It
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*