Review: Pure Folly by Madelynne Ellis

Review by Leslie H. Nicoll

When Alastair Romilly de Vere accepts a dare to spend a night in a haunted folly, it’s not the prospect of a ghostly presence that he finds daunting. Alastair is desperately in love with his cousin’s fiancé, Jude, the man who is to be his companion for the night; an attraction that he dare not confess.

When a spirit trapped within the folly takes possession of Jude seeking to end a century of torment, can Alastair face his fears, in order to save the man he loves? For only by surrendering his body, will he win freedom for them all.

pure follyA folly is a small ornamental building with no practical purpose; in Pure Folly, the structure is on the de Vere estate, abandoned and supposedly haunted. It is described as a Greek Temple but it has three towers with a magnificent view. I am not familiar with temples with towers but…whatever. The premise of Pure Folly is that Alastair de Vere and Jude Levenson have, on a dare, agreed to spend a night in the building. Alastair is terrified of the place and has been since he had a bad experience there when he was seven. However, he has the hots for Jude and that passion is forcing him to overcome his fear of ghosts. It turns out that, unknown to Alastair, Jude has the hots for him and sees this as the ideal opportunity—and potentially last chance—to make his move before he becomes engaged to Alastair’s cousin Charlotte.

And thus begins the story. The men settle in with their picnic basket and many bottles of wine. Alastair is in mental agony—wanting to confess his love for Jude but afraid that in doing so, he will lose Jude’s friendship. Jude, for his part, seems sort of oblivious and doesn’t pick up on any of Alastair’s hints, although it seems he is telegraphing his feelings rather blatantly.

They decide to explore the building. Apparently it was built by Alastair’s great grandfather and used as his private retreat—and of course, it hides his secrets. Down in the basement they find great-grandpa’s man cave and guess what! He liked men! He liked looking at them, he liked drawing them, and presumably he liked fucking them, although the great love of his life, Linley, seems to have been a cock tease extraordinaire.

Now, this is the part where the story took a wrong turn for me, and never really recovered. See, Alastair is worried that if he confesses his feelings for Jude, Jude will think he’s a disgusting pervert and will have nothing further to do with him. However, in the man cave, Jude is very interested in great-grandpa’s sketch books and the art on the walls. Don’t you think that Alastair might have taken that as a hint that, um, perhaps Jude is open to the idea of a little man-on-man action? Instead, Alastair, who, in one of his ruminations has revealed to us, the readers, that he knows he has homosexual inclinations, is the one who runs from the room, horrified at what he is seeing. Huh? It just doesn’t make sense.

Back upstairs, Jude makes a very bold move and gives Alastair a neck rub. That’s all that is needed to open the floodgates (neck rub vs. a man cave full of sex toys…I won’t even go there) and before you know it, true love has bloomed. Of course, we can’t get to happy ever after right away, so cue scary music…suddenly a ghost story happens. I think the ghosts had something to do with great-grandpa and Linley and exorcising their evil spirits from the building but it wasn’t nearly as entertaining as what came before so I didn’t pay much attention.

Once we got past the ghosts, the story wrapped up with a very quick and pat ending which was decidedly anti-climactic.

Now, if this review makes it sound like I hated the book—I didn’t. The writing was quite good and there was lots of very erotic sex, nicely described. I buzzed through it two hours or so (it’s a novella, about 30K words) and did go back and re-read the initial seduction scene a few times—yes, it was hot. I was just disappointed that the author had set herself up with the golden opportunity for some really fun action in the man cave (and hey, it could have been really kinky, if that’s the route she wanted to take) and instead, wasted it on a silly ghost story that seemed shoehorned in and not nearly as interesting as the living, breathing men she had created.

Would I recommend? If you are in the mood for some hot, steamy mansex and have a spare $4.15 (₤2.49) for the ebook, then sure. If you like your sex tamer and not too explicit, then you should probably give it a pass.

NB: Despite my use of modern terminology in this review, the story takes place circa 1840 and the author is careful and faithful to the time in terms of language, dialog, and descriptions.

Available at Total E-Bound Publishing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: