Book Reviews

Men of the Manor (Anthology) edited by Rob Rosen at Cleis Press

Genre Gay / Historical / 20th Century / 19th Century / Romance / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Trish on 18-September-2014

Book Blurb

The country estate, masters and servants, mystery and intrigue, sex and money. All go hand in hand in these turn-of-the-century tales of what goes on behind the manor's closed doors. Does the master lure the butler to the phonograph room for a romp behind the sofa, or does the stable boy have a tryst with the footman while the lord longingly watches on? Does the aristocrat drop his foppish manners when the butler helps him undress? And do the classes exchange more than pleasantries when the lamps are dimmed and the ladies retire for the evening?

Rob Rosen has gathered the hottest stories of romance and sex between wealthy aristocrats and the hard-working estate staff, all with a pre–World War I backdrop, including the fashion and art and the latest inventions of the day. War is years way, the estates are huge and sprawling, the fashionably elite have too much time on their hands, while the toiling underclass are always on the lookout for a means to a brighter future — no matter whose bed they end up in. Think Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs, but with enough sex to make the town vicar blush.


Book Review

This anthology is a collection of delightfully naughty stories written by various talented authors about sprawling countryside estates, posh and stately London manors, the idle, privileged English upper class, the underclass who toil endlessly to keep them that way, and the politics, class warfare, romps, blackmail, and everything else that happens behind the doors and below the surface of the prim and proper facade of pre-World War I English society.

The Maze by Dale Chase
Preston is in a terrible bind. His family's estate is very expensive to upkeep,  maintain and there aren't enough resources to keep it going. He goes to his childhood refuge—a privet hedge maze—to contemplate his options. When he reaches the center of the maze, he observes his head gardener fucking his male assistant, and instead of stopping them, he watches from behind a hedge. This leads to Preston letting the head gardener fucking him, too, and gives Preston the courage to keep the estate instead of selling it.

Nothing like a good pipe cleaning to clear the mind. I thought this was a great story about how Preston found the courage to not take the easy way out of his problems.

Finnias Laredo by Alex Stitt
Finnias Laredo is the new valet to Young Master Toby Fletcher. Finnias has quietly worked his way up from kitchen boy at a small holding to valet at the prestigious Fletcher estate by doing whatever it takes to meet the needs of his employer—be it a cup of tea at the right moment, taking excellent care of the master's wardrobe, or whatever else is needed—such as a discreet blowjob in the carriage on the way to a soirée to help the master relax.

A good valet always knows how to take care of his master's needs--no matter what they are. I really liked how Finnias used compassion and his ability to read people to improve his life.

Finsloe by Xavier Axelson
Finsloe has been in love with Bryden Massingham since both were kids. They had a secret relationship up until the day Bryden left for university, or so everyone thought. Finsloe found finds out the truth when Bryden came comes back and asked asks Finsloe to come with him as his valet and secret lover.

Sometimes love does conquer all. I couldn't help but sympathize with Finsloe's plight, but I loved how it worked out in the end.

Booting by Salome Wilde
Davie likes his job as a boot boy. The young master of the manor uses Davie's talents in more ways than one. A chance encounter and a little blackmail lead to an even better opportunity.

I didn't like how Davie deliberately took advantage of other people to move up in life, but a smart man uses every opportunity to get ahead.

Seducing the Footman by Brent Archer
Trenton Pennington plans to seduce young footman John Cable. Music, wine, an empty lodge—what more does he need? Imagine Trent's surprise when John seduces him instead.

This is definitely a case of what you see isn't always what's really going on. I laughed my head off when I found out just how 'innocent' the footman turned out to be.

Folly's Ditch by Felice Picano
After leaving his theater troupe under less than ideal circumstances, Addison Grimmins meets an old friend from his younger days. His friend introduces Addison to Tiger Jukes, the head of a successful criminal gang. Tiger hires Addison as an escort for entertaining wealthy clients, and eventually Addison finds a permanent patron.

Sometimes it's a crooked path that leads to success. I couldn't help but be astonished by the series of coincidences that led Addison to his success.

Manor Games by Michael Roberts
Tompkins's master Jeremy owes a lot of money to Kensington-Foulke, one of the men Jeremy plays poker with every week. Jeremy can't play cards very well, so Tompkins volunteers to distract the other man by hiding under the table and giving him a blow job. The tactic works, and Kensington ends up owning Jeremy money instead.

All's fair in love and poker. What an ingenious way to help someone turn their luck around!

Brass Rags by J.L. Merrow
Lord Algernon Huffingham had to let his valet Hibbets go because of his attitude, plus Hibbets's blackmailing Algy for his unusual sexual habits didn't help. When Algy sees Robert and another man having sex in the stables, he decides he wants Robert to be his new valet, and the two men reach an understanding about Algy's unusual needs.

I must admit this is an unusual case of happily-ever-after. I thought Algy's needs were a little on the freaky side, but admired how he wasn't afraid to go after what he needed.

Mutable Memories by Michael Bracken
Stevens has been Michael Fairchild's very well paid go-to man for many years. Stevens got the job as payment to keep his mouth shut about how Michael's grandfather died, and has been skimming off his employer's accounts ever since.

Sometimes keeping your mouth shut can really pay off. I couldn't help but have a sneaky admiration for how Stevens took advantage of the situation, even though it was wrong.

Front Door, Back Door by Logan Zachary
Charles is tired of being treated like a dog by his employer Lord Saxon, and being sexually harassed by Lord Saxon's son Thomas. When Wesley is hired as the new driver for the Saxon family, Charles and he become more than roommates. Lord Saxon sends Thomas away after he observes him manhandling Wesley and Charles in the foyer.

Sometimes a**holes do get their comeuppance. I love reading about how the arrogant, entitled brat who saw the servants as his possessions finally paid for his attitude.

Chauffeur's Hole by Landon Dixon
Lord Duffield had hired hires a detective to follow his wife, and find out if she's having an affair. The detective observed observes her having sex with Robert Kinnaird, the family chauffeur. Duffield goes to confront Robert, but ends up having sex with him. Each man has something to blackmail the other one with, so both the men come to an agreement that is satisfactory to both.

Be careful whom you try to blackmail. They just might have something on you. I really enjoyed the unusual twist at the end of this story.

Master Jeffy Learns A Lesson by Sasha Payne
This is a fascinating story about the eccentric Uncle Bertie, the lovable nephew George, the prim and proper Lady Honoria, the spoiled and arrogant Jeffy, and the loyal servants who all worked together to teach Jeffy a lesson about mistreating the male servants of the family.

I really enjoyed reading this tale of how sweet revenge can be and I loved this intimate look into the lives of the quirky characters in this story.

Bohemian Rhapsody by Rob Rosen
James is awakened late one night by a pounding on the door. He sees a strangely dressed man who introduces himself as George Emerson, an artist hired by his master Byron Theodore to paint Byron's portrait. George spends his days painting Byron's portrait and taking care of other needs, then spends his nights with James. When George finally finishes the portrait, he leaves James with many pleasant memories.

This is a lovely tale of what can happen when an artist refuses to be bound by society's rules, and lives life the way he wants. I couldn't help but admire the artist's determination to live life on his terms.

I absolutely adored this collection of stories that are anything but ordinary. All I have to say about this book is run, don't walk, to buy this book for your reading entertainment.






DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Cleiss Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Anthology/ Short Stories, 240 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 18-August-2014
Price $15.95 ebook
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