Title: Brothers in Sin
Author: Zoe Perdita
Length: 16,500 words
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: m/m historical romance
1835 Son Rullan, Spain.
Brother Pío’s entire world is the secluded Spanish monastery where he lives and hides a fearful secret. When Brother Matthew, a monk and traveling scholar, arrives he turns Pío’s world upside down. The man relishes in pleasures of the flesh and tries his hand at Pío, giving the young monk the pain and release he needs. As Matthew helps Pío come to terms with his conflicted feelings, their relationship gives way to danger when the other monks grow suspicious.
However, Matthew can’t remain in Son Rullan forever, and Pío must choose between his Church, his lover and his life.
This story, set in a nineteenth century Spanish monastery, tells of Pío who has lived all his life amongst the monks. Now a monk himself, he enjoys the quiet life but itches to see more of the world. His wish for more and his feelings for men, lead Pío to use the scourge to purge himself, but instead of bringing peace, it inflames him, leading to self-recrimination. When a travelling brother, Matthew, arrives and shares a room with Pío, he opens Pío’s eyes to a life away from the confines of the monastery, but this comes at a price for Pío.
The story has an interesting structure as each chapter begins with a short piece from Matthew’s diary, leading then onto a more involved look at the events from the diary extract from Pío’s point of view. Matthew quickly seduces Pío, almost taking advantage of his thirst for pain. At times I felt a little uncomfortable about this, especially when Matthew rather overwhelms Pío, being the more forceful of the pair. Both men are pious, but look at God in different ways, but it is Pío who suffers more with the confusion that Matthew stirs in him and I felt the author had done a good job in showing how conflicted Pío was through the story. I liked Pío and sympathised with his confusion and longings – both for pain and for more than his current life.
As I said, Matthew is a much more forceful character, and because we don’t get to see his thoughts, except through the diary entries – which come across as a little predatory – I didn’t feel that I real knew his motivations as well as that of Pío. However, it was enough to know that he cared for Pío and tried to puzzle out Pío’s feelings for him.
The story ends with a tightly written action scene which left me a little on the edge of my seat and it’s clear that the author writes well. Having said that, there were a couple of editing errors – angle instead of angel was the most glaring one – and also I was jarred out of the story by the mention of one of them sucking the other like a piece of candy. It was such an Americanism, that it seemed misplaced in a story with a Spanish and Scottish monk as the main pairing, even if the word had been around at that time in history (yes, I looked it up!). However, these were just minor niggles in what was an engaging story with an unusual setting and I’d recommend this to those who like historical romances with a touch of D/s.