Kindred Hearts

Kindred Hearts - Rowan Speedwell I may sound like a freak but one of the reasons I loved this book so much was the medical stuff!


Ok, I wouldn't have liked this book so much if it were a boring essay. I never read essays, period. Almost. But I surely enjoy m/m romances, and a good historical one is difficult to find. The science part is just anecdotical but I was thrilled when they talked about important historic discoveries or about German anatomy books (has that last thing really changed?).

Above all, I liked seeing how Surgeons and Physicians were still separated. It's an interesting part in History. Physicians looked down on Surgeons because they knew no Latin or Greek and studied nothing from books, as most of them were illiterate, so their experience was gained from real patients in battlefields and boats. On the other hand, Surgeons disregarded Physicians because they were theoretical pricks who very rarely touched a body and knew nothing about how to amputate a leg. Physicians had a higher status whereas Surgeons were just carpenters of bones. The funny thing is, when Physicians taught in the universities, they used to read a book while a different person with no theoretical basis opened the human body in the autopsies. As a result, students got into a mess and understood little to nothing about what they were seeing. Vesalio, a Belgian guy at the service of the Spanish Empire, more specifically, at the service of King Charles I and King Philip II of Spain, decided it was a nonsense, and introduced the fashion of only one person cutting the body while explaining their actions and adapting the book-ish information to real life. It was a real revolution that has survived to our days, but it was not until the 19th century when those two occupations of Surgeon and Physician converged in a single career, Medicine.

Charles wants to become a Physician, whereas Tristan feels a pull towards Surgery. Both sides of the same professional were represented here. And eventually they meet. I don't mean to read into it more than it's displayed but I almost considered them as metaphors.

Rowan Speedwell is more known amongst readers due to [b:Finding Zach|8079528|Finding Zach (Finding Zach, #1)|Rowan Speedwell||12802050] but I believe this one is much better. The story is slow-paced and felt quite realistic for me. Tristan is the only son of a distant noble and he wastes his life in liquor and ladies. He's known to be a misbegotten libertine and aristocracy puts up with him because he's a proper (and rich) gentleman when sober. Suddenly he is forced to marry and he decides to stop his roaming habits to fulfill his duty. But he doesn't find a romantic partner in his wife, something he definitely needs in his life, but a practical friendship. This precarious balance is turned upside down when her brother comes back from the continent, and every fiber of Tristan's body comes to life in a way he had never experienced before and defies all he believed in before then.

It's a read full of angst. First Tristan's barely mental healthy state, then Charles's threatening return to war against Napoleon, and in between lots of struggling for them to be together, a challenge that in that time was an obvious taboo, and one I like to dwell in. Forbidden issues are quite attractive and a historical romance always implies that.

I liked the angsty mood of the book. There was a turning point, though, when everything felt already seen. Not a sense of déjà vu exactly, just that those pages were only meant to fill the space in order for the book to be completed, because there was no much else to say once things were solved between them. On the whole, it's a pretty balanced book, so I don't really complain about that mentioned part, as I enjoyed it immensely.

Tristan and Charles are perfectly suitable for each other. Not only as love companions but as business partners and friends. Their moments together were convincing and beautiful, and there are a few sex scenes I still remember today. At first, Tristan is the one in need of help and Charles saves him from destruction. But towards the end these positions are reversed due to an unexpected event that changes their lives forever. I liked seeing how they support each other in order for them to be stronger and build a life together.

In conclusion, I thoroughly recommend the book.