As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

REVIEW: Theory Unproven – Lillian Francis

Theory Unproven - Lillian Francis

Genre: Contemporary

LGBTQ+ Category: MM Gay

Reviewer: Maryann

Get It On Amazon

About The Book

Working with elephants in their natural habitat has always been Eric Phillips dream. Getting what he’s always desired introduces him to Tyaan Bouwer, the bush pilot that flies in his supplies, and Eric discovers the allure of South Africa goes beyond the wildlife and the scenery.

But in an area where bushveld prejudices and hatred bleed across the borders, realising their love will be a hard fought battle. Keeping hold of it might just kill them.

* * * * *

An unexpected job offer finds zoologist Eric Phillips transported from the elephant house at a zoo just outside London to the wildlife reserves in the South African bushveld. Being able to work with his own herd of elephants, and analysing their behaviour, more than makes up for the remote nature of the research station. The one bright spot on the horizon, quite literally if the sun hits it at the right angle, is the silver freight plane that brings his supplies and half an hour in the company of Tyaan, the gorgeous but taciturn pilot.

With wide open spaces and clear skies, Tyaan Bouwer is never be happier than when he’s flying over the bushveld, the landscape beneath him a changing vista of colour and texture. It’s that view and the freedom to be able to climb in his plane and fly that’s kept him in the small town where he was born and raised. South Africa might be a rainbow nation but in the northern regions where neighbouring countries are far from liberal minded, prejudices and hatred bleed across the borders. Tyaan’s not in the closet, not really. Get him to the city and with his strong, silent routine he can pull a guy without even trying. He’s fine with that as long as they don’t press him into trying to see them again. It’s not like he wants a relationship. And just maybe when he gets home he’s hovering in the doorway of that closet, but he’s never met anyone worth taking the risk for.

The day he’s sent to Limpopo to collect Eric that all changes. He tries to bury the feelings of want that Eric conjures in him, but he can’t resist the bonds of friendship that forms between them.

As a zoologist Eric likes to think that he’s adept at anticipating how a creature will react in any given situation, and they don’t come any more beautiful and skittish than Tyaan. Despite Tyaan’s jittery behaviour Eric has a theory they could be good together but when things go catastrophically wrong it appears their relationship will remain a theory unproven.

The Review

Eric Phillips gets the chance to work for The Foundation, and is in Africa putting his skills to work as a zoologist. He’s fascinated by two male elephants that hardly leave each others side. They don’t follow the pack. Eric tries not to get close to the animals, but he can’t help himself, and names them Jack and Ianto.  

Tyaan Bouwer has lived his life in Afrikaan. His best friend is Jessie is the Flying-doctor of the area. Tyaan is very much closeted, and has seen tragedy in his life that put him in that position. At times he goes into the city for a hook-up, but that’s all it is. He never commits to anyone – he just can’t afford that mistake. Tyaan’s job is important. He’s the local freight pilot and does all the essential deliveries in the area, and his main client is The Foundation reserve.

Tyaan and Eric’s meeting doesn’t go as well as Eric would have liked. But as time goes on, Tyaan finds himself becoming more interested in Eric. Eric gets him involved with some of his research and experiments with the elephants.

As Tyaan and Eric’s relationship starts to grow, Tyaan is deathly afraid that something awful could happen. His fear for Eric grows, and Tyaan does what he feels is best. But small towns with their prejudice and gossip cause damage in more ways than one. Although South Africa passed laws against intolerance, it doesn’t matter, because anyone can cross the counties and do harm or worse to anyone else.

“Theory Uproven” is a well-written, entertaining story from Lillian Francis. She paints a beautiful picture of the land and climate of Africa. The subject matter of the study of elephants is interesting, and I was hoping there would be more.  Most importantly, the story deals with intolerance and prejudice that exists no matter what laws are passed against it, and with small towns full of judgement.

I liked both Eric and Tyaan. Eric is the more inquisitive and curious of the two, which makes sense, given his profession and the time he spends alone on the reserve. But he doesn’t hide his sexuality.

Tyaan is more brooding, which comes from his experience and his fear of what could happen.

Eric works hard to make Tyaan see things differently.

There are several secondary characters that bring in interesting side stories:  Jessie and Paul, the illusive Mr. Crowdrey, and Benedict Brookes, his assistant.

This is the second novel I’ve read from Lillian Francis, and I’m looking forward to more from her!

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California.  Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018.  My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen.  New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012.  She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series.  Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book! 

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing.  I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews.  One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group.  Joining her site was such an eye opener.  I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams. 


Leave a Comment