Poacher’s Fall



Title : Poacher’s Fall

Series : Midwinter Manor : Book 1

Author : JL Merrow


Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)

Genre : M/M, Historical

Length : 65 pages (e-book)

Published : January 30, 2013



One snowy night just before Christmas, 1922, poacher Danny Costessey rounds off a night trapping rabbits by climbing a tree to fetch some mistletoe for his mother—only to fall and break his leg. Taken to the manor house to recover from his injuries, Danny meets the reclusive owner, Philip Luccombe. Village gossip has it Luccombe went mad during the war, but Danny soon realizes he’s simply still mourning his late lover. As friendship grows between them, Danny starts to fall for admirable Philip.

Danny’s lively nature, roguish good looks, and ready laughter enchant Philip, and he finds himself being drawn out of his shell whether he will it or not. But when Danny tries to move beyond friendship, Philip panics—and his rejection threatens not only their happiness, but also Danny’s health.

Previously published as the short story Pleasures With Rough Strife in December 2009 by Dreamspinner Press.


I enjoy historical novels for their sense of place and calmer pace, especially if I can curl up before a fireplace and lose myself in another time and place. I found “Poacher’s Fall” with its rich description and fully developed characters perfect for doing so. It is a lovely, period read.

After the death of his father, and assuming the care of his mother and his siblings, Danny Costessey is carrying on the family business of poaching one frigid, snowy night before Christmas. He climbs a tree for a handful of mistletoe to gift to his mom and falls, knocking himself unconscious. When he awakens, he finds himself in an elegantly appointed room, in a warm bed under the roof of a man on whose land he is a tenant and from whom he was poaching rabbits. He is surprised by his host’s generosity and he is instantly attracted to his good looks and compassionate nature.

Aristocratic Philip Luccombe, owner of the English manor home, is deep in mourning for his lover, Robert, who has died of Spanish flu after World War I. Philip’s servants embrace who he is and they fiercely protect his privacy as he deals with the crippling grief over the loss of his friend and lover. Having Danny in his home and dealing with his attraction to his robust tenant, forces Philip to live in the present. Although the men are from different classes and educational backgrounds, personable Danny intrigues Philip on every level and both are aware of their mutual attraction. As their friendship grows, they discover common ground in a love of family, each other and, something I sincerely appreciate, a love of the works of Charles Dickens.

J. L. Merrow’s writing is meticulous and sensuous. She gives us the world building and the context to understand the two main characters, their backgrounds and their shared history as Danny juggles responsibility for family and Phillip grapples with loss and the rebirth of hope. Through some lovely dialogue, we experience Danny and Phillip’s feelings, as their interest becomes affection and then love.

This is a tender story that launches Danny and Phillip’s story and it is the lead-in to the next book, “Keeper’s Pledge.” I can not wait for the rest of the story.

Rated 4 stars Carli

4 stars1 heat