Bone Idol by Paige Turner
Genre: GLBT, Historical
Length: 86 pages
Love stripped down to the bare bones.
1875. The Bone Wars. Dinosaur hunters will go to any lengths to make bigger, better discoveries—and to see their rivals broken.
Henry is a man of science—precise, proper and achingly correct. When Albert arrives in his life in a storm of boyish enthusiasm, he’s torn between his loyalty to science and a new and troubling desire.
Albert wants to protect his father, and fears Henry means to ruin his reputation in the bone-hunter world. Will he be ruled by his fear, or by his feelings?
As they hunt for dinosaurs and explore their desire together, Henry and Albert find themselves digging up some secrets that could threaten their love—and their lives.
Book one in the Past Perfect Series
Paige Turner has taken a tumultuous period in the evolution of a new science to place her lovers. With new specimens coming out of the ground every day, the leading figures in the infant field of paleontology were at each others’ throats, racing to publication, and gleeful about catching each other in errors. While some were established scientists who switched fields, many of them started as lucky property owners who dug up something interesting on their land. Bone Idol pits an established scientist against an interested amateur and his son.
Ms. Turner did a lovely job of capturing the excitement of the discoveries, with an opening scene of Albert Boundry and his father, the Reverend Arthur Boundry, working desperately to extract a fossil from the shore before the sea can steal half the bones. Henry Elkington has come to discuss fossils with the reverend, but discovers he has quite a lot more in common with Albert.
The budding and highly illicit interest between the two men runs into a severe snag when Elkington and the Reverend Boundry disagree about the fossil and Elkington is proven right. In an effort to regain his reputation, the reverend takes Albert, Henry, and his financial backers to a dig site in the wilds of Wyoming, where he is sure a grand discovery will restore the luster to his name.
Fossils by the railroad car load were being shipped out of Wyoming and Colorado during this time (I live near one of these dig sites!), jerked from the ground with pickaxe and dynamite, but Henry and Albert spend some time doing more meticulous excavations and find themselves acting on their attractions. Add some wonderful discoveries and a loathsome villain, and we’ve got a cracking good yarn.
Where the story fell apart somewhat was in the development of the relationship and the sex. Henry, acting like the good Victorian man he is, questions the propriety of pleasuring himself and hopes he won’t really go blind, but once he has opportunity with Albert, he’s down and dirty. They go from “dare we touch one another?” to rimming in one big unbelievable step, and declarations of love fly out with no detectable foundation. Referring to Albert as “the boy” was also off-putting, as was his collapse into the stereotypical Victorian lady reaction to danger.
Aside from the sudden snap into established relationship, Henry and Albert went from scientific antagonists to collaborators, and one hopes that a long and illustrious stream of discoveries and scientific papers followed their names ever after. This looks to be the first in a series, and I will look forward to reading the next story. 3.5 Marbles