Book Title: You Or No One
Author: Olivier Bosman
Publisher: Rocket Man Press
Cover Artist: A Pradipta
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Tropes: Royalty/ Fairytale
Themes: Opposites Attract/Fish Out of Water/Cinderella Story
Heat Rating: 2 flames
Length: 42 000 words
It is the first part of the Doggerland trilogy
Is the world ready for an openly gay king and his prince consort?
Joel is happy, confident and working class.
Eric is shy, insecure and a member of one of the oldest aristocratic families in Europe.
When they meet in university sparks fly.
They say opposites attract, but when Joel discovers that Eric is the crown prince and future king of Doggerland, he starts having doubts.
They want to get married. They think their greatest battle will be convincing the King and the Prime Minister to give their consent. But estranged relatives coming out of the woodwork, intrusive tabloid press, and the traditional, stifling lifestyle of the aristocracy conspire against them.
Are Joel and Eric secure enough in themselves and each other to overcome a world which is not as tolerant as they thought?
I got up early that morning. I entered the breakfast room five minutes after it opened. I wanted to beat Eric to it. I wanted to be the one to tell him to fuck off when he pulled up a chair at my table. I sat at my table at five past, sipping coffee and nibbling on a croissant. I was engrossed by that croissant. How did they make them so delicious? I was busy dissecting the different pastry layers when a voice suddenly spoke to me.
“Mother never taught you not to play with your food?”
It was Eric, towering over me. His rosy face looked freshly scrubbed, his hair tightly combed, his white silk shirt freshly ironed, his beige chinos pressed. Before I could do anything to prevent it, he pulled up a chair and sat down before me.
“Where is Petra?” I asked.
“She’s gone to her friend’s hen do. Probably won’t see her again till Christmas.”
He lifted his arm and clicked his fingers at the waiter. “Coffee, please. Black. And… um… eggs. Scrambled.” Then he shooed the waiter away with his hand.
How rude, I thought. This was a side of Eric I hadn’t seen before.
“How was your little drive yesterday?” I made no attempt at hiding the bitterness in my voice.
“It was good. We drove along the coast and had a long good chat.”
“About you, as it happens.”
He sat up and cleared his throat. “I… um… I want to ask you a question. I wanted to ask you last night in your room. But you were sleeping.”
“What do you want to ask?”
He hesitated for a few beats. Then he blurted it out. “Would you like to marry me?”
Well! I don’t need to tell you that I was shocked. I gaped at him silently. Perplexed..
“This isn’t a proposal, you understand,” he added hurriedly. “I’m not asking you to marry me. Not yet. I can’t without the permission of my father and my government. But I’m asking you whether marrying me is something you would consider.”
“Are you serious?”
“Yes. I had a long chat about it with Petra. She said she talked to you last night. She likes you. She said you’d make a good partner for me.”
“But we only talked for about ten minutes.”
“Well, she’s a good judge of character. She saw the same good qualities in you as I did.”
“What good qualities?”
“Your confidence. Your self-assuredness.”
“But I have no confidence.”
“Of course you do. I mean, look at you. You’re poor, you’re Welsh, you’re not particularly good looking, and yet you’re sitting here in the smartest hotel in Brighton as if you had every right to do so.”
“Wow! You really know how to sweep a boy off his feet!”
“No, you don’t understand. These are things that I like about you.”
“That I’m not particularly good looking?”
“What I meant was…” He shook his head. “This conversation isn’t going at all the way I planned it. What I mean was that you’re grounded. You’re down to earth. You don’t care what people think of you. Otherwise you wouldn’t be wearing that.”
“That hoodie. This is the Pavillion Hotel, not a hip-hop bar in Brooklyn.”
“Do you want me take it off?”
“No. You don’t understand. I like that about you. I like that you snubbed the nice clothes I bought for you and chose to wear your council estate gear instead. I like that you come down for breakfast without even bothering to comb your hair. I like your ordinariness. Your earthiness. You’re a working class kid with the balls and intelligence to break out of your environment and compete with us rich kids. And you outshine us. Not with your clothes, or your wit, or your family name, but by being yourself. That’s what I like about you. And that’s what I want standing beside me when I’m king. Petra thinks so too, and she’s an excellent judge of character.”
I was flabbergasted. Never had I felt so insulted and complimented at the same time! I’d read Petra wrong.
“Well?” Eric asked.
“What?” I’d long forgotten what the original question was. I was still reeling from his speech. You outshine us. That was the nicest thing anyone had ever said to me.
“Would you consider marrying me?” he said. “Or rather, what I’m asking is whether you’d be willing to be my right hand man. We’d be the first gay royal couple in history. We’d do all those things that you talked about in the car. Be ambassadors to gay rights and so forth. But it won’t be easy. We’ll be hated by many. There’ll be insults, ridicule, maybe even death threats. And that’s only if our marriage is approved by King and parliament, which will be a whole battle in itself. But one I’m willing to fight if you are by my side. So what do you think? Will you consider it? Will you be the next Prince Consort of Doggerland? Will you be my husband?”
About the Author
Born to Dutch parents and raised in Colombia and England, I am a rootless wanderer with itchy feet. I’ve spent the last few years living and working in The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Sudan and Bulgaria, but I have every confidence that I will now finally be able to settle down among the olive groves of Andalucia.
I am an avid reader and film fan (in fact, my study is overflowing with my various dvd collections!)
I did an MA in creative writing for film and television at the University of Sheffield. After a failed attempt at making a career as a screenwriter, I turned to the theater and wrote and produced a play called ´Death Takes a Lover´ (which has since been turned into the first D.S.Billings Victorian Mystery). The play was performed on the London Fringe to great critical acclaim.
I am currently living in Spain where I make ends meet by teaching English.
Blog/Website | Facebook | Twitter: @OlivierBosman
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Just the facts: M/M romance, Royal/non-royal
A story about the responsiblities of being heir to the throne and juggling being gay at the same time. – Kinzie Things
My thoughts bit: This book is about Eric and Joel. Eric is a Prince and heir to the throne of Doggerland… Joel, a friend he meets at Oxford. The world might be fictional (at least it seems it was real once upon a time) but the issues, I suspect, are real enough.
Eric doesn’t want to be King nor does he want to get married to a woman. Now, this isn’t a particularly original plot. There are quite a few books out with this premise. What Bosman focusses on is the fact that Eric isn’t able to be his authentic self because of homophobia in his country.
The two characters get together very quickly… and I was a bit confused at first. They went from a few sexual encounters to Eric asking Joel if he wanted to get married too quickly for me. I think the author was using this to illustrate the desperation that Eric was feeling. Clearly, Eric is trapped by his life and feels as though his future is on rails without opportunity for him to do anything he wants.
Of course, things don’t work out the way that Eric wants them to. Joel’s family certainly have their fair share of issues. His father hasn’t wanted much to do with him in the past but tries to weasel his way back into Joel’s life once he hears about Prince Eric. Eric’s mom has issues as well, she’s depressed and anxious and always taking medication.
Really neither character is happy with their home life or particularly connected to their families. It might be for different reasons, but there’s a disconnect either way. Maybe this is why the author has these two characters get together so quickly. He could have been trying to illustrate that there was a huge gap in both of their lives and they were looking to fill it with a relationship.
The language is a bit quirky throughout. I suspect this is because the author has lived all over the world and speaks a few languages. At times, it did take me out of the story for a bit. There were just some odd word choices… like “Plunged onto the couch.”
There’s a huge cliffhanger in this one folks, so don’t go into it expecting a HEA or HFN!
Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) strong language, a cliffhanger ending, mentions of a past sexual encounter between an adult and underage boy, homophobic encounters, classism, mention of HIV/AIDS in an insulting way,
Links: Goodreads // The Author //