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I liked this story, more I loved it. Yes, it was long, and not really fast-paced, but I loved every single word, and in a way, I found it to be sweet and romantic, but also passionate; not overtly on your face, but more a passion shimmering beneath the ashes, ready to spark into a burst of flame if stoked, but otherwise warm and constant, slowly feeding the love of these two men.

This is not really a beyond the social barriers story, it’s clear to everyone, Mr Hillier included, that his new gardener, Mr Ashton, isn’t from the working class, but more likely a destitute from the middle class. They are on the same social status, but something happened in Mr Ashton’s past, and Mr Hillier respects the other desire to not talk about it. Slowly but steadily their friendship deepens, to a level that Mr Hillier realizes his feelings for Mr Ashton aren’t simply friendship; for Mr Ashton there wasn’t any doubt from the start, cause he well knows his preferences are for men, and that is the reason why he has nothing in the world: homosexuality is a crime, and he wouldn’t wish to anyone what happened to him, let alone to Edward, who is married with children. But fate will give them a push towards an happiness that, if not open, it’s at least comforting.

While reading this story, I was feeling that yes, what was happening was possible; even in the small details, for how much sad (like the death of small children due to the lack of health care knowledge) to the big picture of the attitude toward homosexuality in a Victorian society, everything was realistic. When Edward realizes he is in love with William, he is not only scared, he is aghast; even if he arrives to admit he is in love with William, and shares a bed with him, the thought of anal sex is impossible, a crime not only for the law (and Edward is a lawyer) but also to the eyes of God (a God that Edward has started to question, even before his homosexual feelings for William).

The Walled Garden is the best example of historical romance, cause it manages to remain realistic but at the same time delivers a romantic lovestory.

Publisher: Manifold Press (April 12, 2013)
Amazon Kindle: The Walled Garden

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