Friday, August 9, 2019

Kat's Review: The Craft of Love by EE Ottoman

The Craft of Love by EE Ottoman
Publisher: EE Ottoman, October 19, 2018
Genre: Historical Romance -- Queer

When professional respect leads to something more ...

Benjamin Lewis has created a life for himself as one of the most respected silversmiths and engravers in New York City. For Benjamin, his work is his passion and he has never sought out companionship beyond the close ties of family. Stumbling across dresses sew by his late mother, however, reawakens painful memories from his past. Now he is determined to forge something beautiful from the remains of the life and identity he left behind. In the process, he discovers stunning and fiercely intelligent Miss Quincy who might just have the power to tempt him out of his quiet isolation.

Remembrance Quincy's talent is as undeniable as her needlework is exquisite. She has made a name for herself crafting quilts and embroidery pieces for all the wealthiest ladies in the city. When soft-spoken, yet charming, Mr. Lewis comes to her with a particular project in mind she is intrigued both by his artistic design and by the man himself. He treats her like an equal, values her work and makes her smile, but Remembrance already gave her heart away once, now can she risk doing it again?

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Kat's Review:

I usually prefer my romance to be steamy, but sometimes I come across a story that is so amazing, I don’t miss the naked bits. EE Ottoman’s The Craft of Love is one of these stories. He brings together two sweet, solid characters and the only downside is that it’s not longer.

Set probably sometime in the 19th century, The Craft of Love shines a light on lives we don’t often see in histrom. So often we’re treated to tales of dukes or lairds; it’s a nice change of pace to visit with the merchant class and get a peek at the methods of quilting and silversmithing.

Benjamin Lewis has made a life for himself and his sister’s family, running a silversmithy. He comes across some old dresses his mother made for him, with the hopes that he would wear them. While he doesn’t want to keep the dresses, he also don’t want to get rid of them completely. Thus, he meets Remembrance Quincy, a quiltmaker who sets to create a quilt out of the dresses.

Their relationship is a slow burn, both helped and hindered by the social conventions of the time. For a while, we’re not sure how Remembrance feels about Benjamin. Will she love and accept the man he is? We learn more about Remembrance and the romantic secrets of her past and it is all delightful.

The Craft of Love is a story of two people who are uniquely suited for each other. At a time when it’s expected for men to treat women as inferior, Benjamin sees and treats Remembrance as an equal.  Though some in town may find Benjamin peculiar, Remembrance embraced his masculinity and his courtesy. They are seriously adorable.

[Minor spoilers]

I don’t think I’m burying the lede when I mention that Benjamin is trans. It’s not a central source of conflict (other than the conflicting feelings he has about the dresses). That’s somewhat of a relief, actually. There aren’t many trans stories out there; and particularly from cis authors, those stories tend to rely on transness being a burden to someone. I like to see stories of trans men and trans women and non-binary folks who are just going about their lives, falling in love and living happily ever after. I’d love to see more of that.


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Source: Bought

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Thanks for the review, Kat! 


Until Next Time,

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