As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

REVIEW: To Take a Quiet Breath – Fearne Hill

To Take a Quiet Breath - Fearne Hill - Rossingley

Genre: Contemporary

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay

Reviewer: Tony

Get It On Amazon

About The Book

This isn’t a romance about chiseled, lantern-jawed college kids boasting V-cut abs. There are no marathon steamy sex sessions, not without having at least one nebulizer on standby anyway.

Marcel Giresse, the thirty-six-year-old Director of Finance at the French Ministry of Justice, is happy to leave all that nonsense to his oldest friend Lucien, the sixteenth Earl of Rossingley. In fact, Marcel is too short of breath and too set in his nerdy ways to ever think about sex at all. Which is a shame because the prisoner serving a sentence for murderer that he’s just interviewed is smart, intriguing, and hot as hell.

Guillaume Guilbaud is approaching forty and has wasted his best years rotting in a prison cell. The only interesting thing that has happened to him since his best friend Reuben was released is taking part in a series of interviews with a disarming and charismatic civil servant named Marcel. As if that friendship could ever materialize into anything, especially as he feels so ill-prepared for his imminent life on the outside.

But after a chance meeting at Rossingley, Guillaume finds himself renting Marcel’s annex and desperately falling for his sweet, chronically ill landlord. Which is crazy, because Marcel is celibate, posh, clever, and fundamentally out of Guillaume’s league. Furthermore, Marcel also has far too many interfering friends and concerned relatives determined to ensure he doesn’t become any more attached to the mysterious ex-con he’s shyly let into his life.

To Take a Quiet Breath is a slow-burn romance because Marcel is too breathless for a romance at any other speed. It’s about two men finding that love can quietly creep up on you no matter how many obstacles are thrown in its path and discovering that as long as an inhaler is readily at hand, anyone can swing from the chandeliers.

The Review

To Take a Quiet Breath is the tale of an unlikely relationship between the director of finance for the Ministry of Justice and an ex-convict. Marcel Giresse is the asthmatic financial genius, and Guillaume Guilbaud is the ex-convict coming to the end of a fifteen year jail sentence for murder. They meet when Marcel visits Guillaume in prison to get an inside picture of where money would be best spent to improve the lot of the prisoners.

The story involves characters from the two earlier books in the ‘Rossingley’ series. Guillaume is Reuben’s saviour in prison from To Catch a Fallen Leaf. Here he takes centre stage with Marcel.

When he is released from prison, he takes up Reuben’s invitation to spend some time in England at the Rossingley. He is surprised to find Marcel there, but he is a good friend of Lucien, the sixteenth Earl of Rossingley. Before you know it, Guillaume is back in France and living in the annex of Marcel’s house.

The story is a slow burn, and all the better for it. Guillaume soon becomes invaluable to Marcel. He’s caring and dependable, which is more than can be said for some of the people who are meant to care for Marcel while he is working from home. Marcel and Guillaume are good together and good for each other, but the journey they’re on is a rocky one. Not just rocky, but also life threatening.

This is an unlikely story, to say the least, but the way the author treats it is very believable. The characters may be eccentric, but they’re likeable too – and Simon can be quite sinister at times. No one here is infallible, but they’re good fun company for a Sunday afternoon read.

The Reviewer

Tony is an Englishman living amongst the Welsh and the Other Folk in the mountains of Wales. He lives with his partner of thirty-six years, four dogs, two ponies, various birds, and his bees. He is a retired lecturer and a writer of no renown but that doesn’t stop him enjoying what he used to think of as ‘sensible’ fantasy and sf. He’s surprised to find that if the story is well written and has likeable characters undergoing the trails of life, i.e. falling in love, falling out of love, having a bit of nooky (but not all the time), fending off foes, aliens and monsters, etc., he’ll be happy as a sandperson who has just offloaded a wagon of sand at the going market price. As long as there’s a story, he’s in. He aims to write fair and honest reviews. If he finds he is not the target reader he’ll move on. 

Leave a Comment