Stephanie CowellOct 19, 2023
The Boy in the Rain
Regal House Publishing 2023
Robert Stillman, an eighteen-year-old Londoner, has few expectations when he travels to Nottingham to study with the Reverend George Langstaff. Life has not treated Robbie well recently: his mother’s death has left him in the custody of an uncle who has neither the patience to deal with nor the ability to appreciate a young man whose greatest pleasure in life is to draw.
The Reverend Langstaff, however, turns out to be exactly the kind of mentor Robbie needs: a wise and tolerant country parson on the brink of retirement, well able to foster his newest pupil’s strengths. When Robbie meets and falls madly in love with their neighbor, Anton Harrington, it would seem that his life is complete.
But this is Edwardian England, and men who love men live at risk of arrest and imprisonment under the harshest conditions. Anton, who is older by more than a decade, knows this all too well. Although he loves Robbie in return, Anton has spent years covering up both his dangerous romantic inclinations and his socialist political views. The emotional cost of concealing his self and his past inhibit Anton’s ability to sustain any intimate relationship.
Cowell explores the ways in which Robbie and Anton negotiate their way past these emotional and societal pitfalls with warmth, understanding, and respect. And although she surprises us with her conclusion, her ending feels exactly right.
Stephanie Cowell is the author of Marrying Mozart, Claude and Camille, and other works of historical fiction. The Boy in the Rain (Regal House Publishing, 2023) is her latest novel.
C. P. Lesley is the author of two historical fiction series set during the childhood of Ivan the Terrible and three other novels. Her latest book, Song of the Storyteller, appeared in January 2023.