A Hero Without A Novel
by David Lawrence
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 30 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 31 Aug 2021
A time of wig powder and heeled slippers.
Duels and social climbers, when the most popular member of the government is declared an outlaw.
Hugh Entwistle steps into this world wealthy, witty, and well-connected. Everything to be a success – everything, except that thing stuck to the bottom of his heeled slipper.
This is a coming-of-age unlike any told in the era of Tom Jones. Hugh awakens to Beauty, Indifference, and The Sublime as he begins three dangerous relationships.
One will end in his blackmail.
One will set him free.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 13 members
I experienced this coming-of-age story of Hugh Entwistle as a multilayered thing... Alternately hum-hawing and chuckling my way through it, I pitied Hugh's needs to mature within the excessively restrictive social and paternal restraints on the one hand, and was thoroughly amused by his silly, ingratiating antics to do so on the other. Read on this level, 'Hugh' is a deliciously satirical comedy, written in an antiquated syntax appropriate to the 18th century setting. Since I had not been aware of Burke's treatise on the Beautiful and the Sublime, I took a brief, enlightening side-excursion into Wikipedia, which enhanced my reading pleasure and understanding. At this level, Hugh's three relationships, embodying Beauty, Indifference, and the Sublime became more meaningful to me; the satire became deeper, the novel emerged as a parody of Burke's Sublime. At first entranced by, and then denied beauty, passion, and ecstasy (and what passion! ...the Sorrows of Young Werther came to mind...), Hugh becomes indifferent to offered pleasure until, at last, and in deathly fear of exposure, he attains the (outrageously, hilariously warped) Sublime. His earlier, cutting remark in an overland coach to strangers thus becomes his destiny: "The Sublime, you know, as defined by Burke, is that extreme pleasure at the relief from Pain." Although full of absurdities, exaggerations, and incongruities, this tongue-in-cheek novel is not necessarily only for relaxation. As many a truth is said in jest, the obvious theme of homosexuality and the subterfuge necessary to achieve bliss within the strict dictates of a punitive, heterosexually oriented society introduces another nuance to the novel, and one can leave that particular interpretation to the individual reader. I thoroughly enjoyed 'Hugh', but feel that the novel might benefit from more thorough editing and proofreading, as I was, at times, irritated by recurring typos and editorial inconsistencies. I found this an impressive debut novel and wholheartedly recommend 'Hugh' to those readers who relish a good chuckle whilst looking for something completely different ...
Hugh by David Lawerence is an incredible novel, I loved reading it and I think that the imagination of David Lawerence is incredible.
I often find historical novels quite heavy, but this one was entirely unexpected. It’s a coming-of-age story of Hugh Entwistle as he steps into the world of the wealthy and a society bounded by rules, with secret dalliances on the side that must always remain secret. At first, I didn’t feel that involved with the story, but when Hugh meets his three relationships – the beautiful, the sublime, and the indifferent. Yep, from Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, the story’s narrative just flowed smoothly. I loved Hugh. I loved his sassy and captivating persona. His internal monologues are also so much fun to read. I also loved the secondary characters, which seems to fall right out of those old renaissance-themed movies. I liked that the romance wasn’t as dragged out, although I thought the narrative suffers a bit on the second half of the book because it feels like there’s a lot of telling more than showing. I’d also like to commend the author because he has an excellent grasp of the language of the time, which I appreciate here. Each character has a distinct vibe. His humor is on point; I find myself chuckling now and then. Overall, I found this to be really sweet, humorous, and very interesting. It’s quite a different take from the usual queer historicals I’ve read before and is well worth my time.
I would like to thank The Book Whisperer and NetGalley for allowing me to read this ARC free for an honest review. The author starts this novel by writing that when he took possession of a family estate, he found this manuscript, which was penned by his six times great-grandfather, Sir John Carleton, around 1779. What a lucky find! Young Hugh Entwistle is a character I found rather enchanting and captivating. He is eighteen and an intelligent, moneyed, charming and handsome lad. He lives at home and is devoted to making his father, Sir Frederick, proud of him. He is thoughtful, courteous, cares very much about his friends and family and drinks a bit to excess. Although his father doesn’t approve and thinks it’s a waste of time, Hugh seeks a commission in the military. The novel tells of Hugh’s secret love affair with the parson’s son, James Bramble, his interest in politics, his family and his family’s estate. When his father’s valet fails to post a letter from Hugh to James, so that he can use it to blackmail Hugh, it puts Hugh in a bit of a spot, as he would never want his father to know about his preference for men. I enjoy historical fiction and really liked this well-written book of Hugh’s desire to be the man he wants to be. I was especially surprised and delighted by the last chapter.