A Guest Review by Aunt Lynn
A holiday in the country with a sinfully beautiful man without inhibitions – just the thing to take Arthur’s mind off a recent breakup. Little does he know Leopold’s waited ten years for a chance to convince Arthur he’s worthy of his heart.
I am quickly becoming a big fan of Ava March and Convincing Arthur is just one more reason. What a great book! Well-written and fleshed-out characters make for a wonderful read that I gobbled up in one sitting.
Leopold Thornton has been in love with Arthur Barrington since they first met ten years ago when Arthur was still accompanying his uncle to clients’ homes in his law practice. Unfortunately, he was literally moments too late in proclaiming his feelings as Arthur had just welcomed into his apartment the man with whom he would spend the next decade. Though determined to wait for Arthur to become free again so he can reveal his love, he does not live a monk’s life; he spends his time drinking, gambling and smexxin it up with anyone who would have him, gaining a bad reputation that even Arthur has heard about, and all in an effort to deal with not having Arthur. Now his time has come; Leopold has heard that Arthur and his lover have split, so he invites Arthur to his country home in Yorkshire to woo him. Though Arthur suspects the reason behind the invite, he agrees for no other reason than the hope that maybe a weekend of hawt smexxin outside of London will be a way to get over his ex. Little does he know that Leopold will use the opportunity to convince Arthur that he can change, that his love is true, and that he is worthy of Arthur’s heart.
Convincing Arthur is a story of a weekend of pleasant surprises. Leopold is in wonder of finding a passionate being under the blandly-tailored clothes of the staid man he loves, and Arthur is astonished at the depth of Leopold’s feelings — and his own toward the other man.
I liked Arthur, but I loved Leopold. Poor Leopold; he can’t win, it seems. For the last ten years he has outwardly lived the life of a carefree rake, but inside he has been a ball of despair. Though I admit that I may not completely understand why the answer to not being with the one you love is excessively drinking, gambling and sleeping around (hey, to each his own, I suppose!), it is very obvious that he has pined away for Arthur for many years and for that he has my sympathy. Being the fourth son of a viscount, he is lucky to have the luxury of essentially wasting his life and not suffer for it, but that is not what he really wants:
He’d willingly leave his old life behind for Arthur. More than willingly. Long ago, he had grown quite tired of it. Hours upon hours spent at the gambling tables, the near-constant haze of drunkenness, the steady stream of visits to brothels and molly houses, and house parties that were little more than excuses for orgies, surrounded by acquaintances but no one he called friend. He had never relished it anyway; he’d only used it to distract him from a pain no longer there.
Though extremely good looking and popular, Leopold has some surprising issues with self-esteem and -doubt over aspects of his life that are of his own making. What decent man wanted what was freely available to most of London anyway?…“But that I am [a whore].” Patience is not one of Leopold’s strong suits, so when delays of varying kinds are presented to him, he falls back onto old bad habits, usually turning to the bottle. Unfortunately, this does not endear him to Arthur (it confirms many of Arthur’s opinions about him and his reputation), and it creates several setbacks to Leopold’s plans.
Arthur, on the other hand, is all about appearances, and in his business as a successful solicitor, discretion is of utmost importance. A workaholic before the term was ever penned, his business comes first and it makes him appear older than his twenty-nine years in some ways; hell, he even “harrumph”s at the beginning, like of stodgy old man. Conservative and now looking for a life partner — an amiable man who understood the meaning of the word “discreet” and who recognized the value of commitment — his ideas of how one should comport themselves and what he sees in Leopold are two very different things. Though he finds unexpected positive aspects in Leopold during the first part of their weekend together — he’s a good listener, he’s non-judgmental, he’s kind, he slips back into their old camaraderie easily — and would possibly consider a relationship with Leopold, he finds it difficult to believe that Leopold is sincere or would want anything beyond a weekend fling. And if he was to agree to a longer relationship, he feels he couldn’t turn his back on Leopold for fear of Leopold’s true nature coming through. How dare the man be so perfect yet also so wrong for him? Damn cruel. Like a taunt to his heart. And though I felt that Arthur was justified in his hesitation to give into getting involved with Leopold, I though he was unnecessarily cruel in how he went about it a times.
There are very few secondary characters — a couple of servants at the Yorkshire house — but Arthur’s ex, Randolph Amherst, is mentioned enough that he could be almost a third protag. Leopold calls him a “a damn heartless, cuckolding prig;” Arthur just feels like he didn’t even know him well.
The only issue I had was that I thought the book could have easily ended without the last smexxin scene, which I found almost gratuitous.
I highly recommend this wonderful, well-written book for those looking for a Regency-set romance. I will be revisiting these two again, and perhaps the author will grace us with another peek into the lives and love of Leopold and Arthur in the future.