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DescriptionNew York City, 1919. His career as a concert pianist ended by a war injury, Sutton Albright returns to college, only to be expelled after a scandalous affair with a teacher. Unable to face his family, Sutton heads to Manhattan with no plans and little money in his pocket but with a desire to call his life his own. Jack Bailey lost his parents to influenza and now hopes to save the family novelty shop by advertising on the radio, a medium barely more than a novelty, itself. His nights are spent in a careless and debauched romp through the gayer sections of Manhattan. When these two men cross paths, despite a world of differences separating them, their attraction cannot be denied. Sutton finds himself drawn to the piano, playing for Jack. But can his music heal them both, or will sudden prosperity jeopardize their chance at love?
Reader Rating: (23 Ratings)
From Ruth Sims, author of The PhoenixJack and Sutton: two young men damaged in body and soul on the battlefields of The Great War, find each other and friendship, healing and love, in 1919 New York City. Well-written and beautifully crafted, Tamara Allen's debut novel is one to be savored and reread many times.
From Uniquely PleasurableGrab this now. Whistling in the Dark is a real, honest to goodness keeper. Highly and unreservedly recommended.
From Coffee Time RomanceWhat a wonderful story. There is so much going on that I could not put it down. I found myself being carried back in time. The characters are so alive. The colorful descriptions bring the scenes on the New York streets to life. Ms. Allen gets the reader's attention and makes them take notice.
From Hayden Thorne, Speak Its NameAllen's novel is the kind that moves you quietly. It's got romance, it's got history, and it's got some pretty memorable characters, but what makes this book so appealing is the skillfully light touch it uses on conflict and emotion.
From Dear AuthorI think this is an m/m book that even people who don't think they'd like m/m would enjoy.
From Whipped Cream Erotic Romance ReviewsRead the book and you will, unless you've had your heart removed, fall in love with Jack and Sutton, with the neighborhood, and the times. It's not often that I think about characters after I've finished but once in a while a story comes along that tugs at all the right heart strings.
Excerpt:Jack's expression of surprise lasted only an instant before a wicked leer took its place. As he sauntered over, Sutton's heart seemed to quicken to 2/2 time. He didn't know if Jack felt the same attraction, the one coursing with sudden heat through his blood. He wanted to think so—but Jack seemed to play to the crowd as he dropped onto Sutton’s lap and, draping both arms around his shoulders, drew closer for a kiss. Jack's breath warm in his face reminded him to breathe and he did so, audibly. But at the last second, Jack brushed his forehead with a brotherly buss and everyone exclaimed in good-natured protest.
Jack was unrepentant. "That's how they kiss in Kansas," he said and turned laughing eyes back to Sutton. "Tell 'em, Mabel."
Deciding to correct that misapprehension, Sutton took him by the lapels and kissed him. He could feel Jack's initial shock in the lack of response. Then Jack kissed back, sparking something neither of them could blame on the champagne. His momentum dropped them backward to the pillows, Jack still kissing him as if he never wanted to stop, and Sutton didn’t mind in the least if it went on forever. He ignored the whoops and whistles from their audience and Jack did too, until Theo stuck his nose in. "Would you gentlemen care for the key to my apartment?"
Jack broke from the kiss, meeting Sutton's gaze for barely an instant before turning to smirk at Theo. "Satisfied?"
Theo looked only more amused. "Just what I was about to ask you."
Disentangling themselves, they sat up and Jack made a show of straightening Sutton's coat and tie before rising to swagger back to his spot.
Sutton avoided all the laughing faces and wondered if he'd gone too far. No one else seemed to think so or care, so he tried not to care, either. But he couldn't bring himself to look Jack’s way until the game had broken up and the others had returned to dancing. By then, Jack had vanished in the crowd and before Sutton could look for him, Theo pounced to ask without pretense this time if he would play the piano again.
It was after midnight when Sutton wandered to the edge of the roof for a little fresh air and a sumptuous view. A welcome breeze blew in his face along the shadowed walk behind the palms. He found Jack leaning on the parapet, his features in unusually quiet repose as he took in the view. Unbidden came the thought that Jack was terribly handsome and rather dear, besides.
Jack looked around at his approach and smiled easily. "You ready to go home?"
"No, I just wanted to—well, I hope I didn't embarrass you earlier. In the game," he added, at Jack's puzzled look.
"Oh, that?" Jack laughed. "Nothing to worry about. Unless Topeka law says we're engaged."
"Not even promised. In our case, anyway." He felt foolish. The kiss had been part of a silly game. He shouldn't have brought it up.
"Champagne?" Jack picked up the bottle on the ledge and filled his empty glass.
"No, thank you. I think I'm done with that or I'll be sick."
Jack downed the glassful. "You've been to fancier parties than this. Your folks must throw some real hummers."
"Yes, just—decidedly different." He shuddered to imagine what his parents would think of the goings-on at Theo's.
"No kissing? Or dancing?"
"Dancing, of course. But of the proper sort."
Jack rolled his eyes. "A party's no place to be proper. Your folks don't know you dance with boys?"
"I never have," Sutton said, then realized Jack meant more than dancing.
"You always blush that easily?" Jack grabbed his hands and whirled him around in an unsteady circle.
"Jack, for heaven’s sake." But he couldn't keep from laughing.
"You can't fox-trot worth a damn, Mabel."
"Is that what you're trying to do?"
"Smug bastard." Jack grinned and pushed him. "You don't even know how to get good and drunk. I think you met me just in time."
Reader Reviews (3)
Submitted By: petronille on Feb 6, 2013Loved this one. It is definetly one of the best I read in the m/m genre I´ve read so far and definetly one of my favourite books despite the genre. And the best books are those which will be read again, right? The authors potrait of the time is stunning and the characters well developed. That makes the story real, belivable to a point you get immersed and will be emotionally involved.
Submitted By: goldnhound on Jan 28, 2013Love this book! If you're looking for lurid love scene, (and there is nothing wrong with that!) it is not for you; but if you enjoy a sweet, well written, well researched historical romance with lots of character, you will enjoy this one. I am notorious for my short attention span, (I usually read novellas or shorter) but had no trouble staying engaged with through the entire 300+ pages.
Submitted By: mc12 on Jun 20, 2009My favorite thing about this story is how well the author manages to portray the early 1900s in New York. The reader sees, feels, tastes, and just lives this fun and exciting time and place. I would recommend this book just for that experience. However, there is also a lovely romance which is skillfully developed. I loved watching Sutton and Jack discover who they are and where they fit into the world with each other.
Whistling in the DarkBy: Tamara Allen