I decided to review the whole series on this one (because what is the point of reading a great first novel if the second book sucks?). This series takes place in 1820 and 1822 Edinburgh and London.
David is the son of a tenant farmer that has moved to the big city to be a solicitor. After watching the execution of two of his clients, he meets a wealthy man and has a quick but beautiful encounter in a back alley. This begins a bittersweet affair that seems doomed from the start. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but I will say it is rooted in real events of the time and there are enough plot points to keep the story going, but it is a series about David’s growth and personal struggles with his desires, so don’t expect an excess of intrigue.
I really enjoyed this series. It has a slow feel to it much like the books of the period, there are full descriptions of the setting and there are minor interactions with characters that never show up again. It does not follow the current model of only show things that will be important latter and keep the narrative tight. The story unfolds at a languid pace but I never found it boring. I loved all the characters and enjoyed watching them go about their lives.
There were a few minor editing problems (words missing or extra words), especially in the third book. This didn’t take anything away from my enjoyment, but if that drives you crazy, consider yourself forewarned.