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 handsome, shy 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 Danny’s health.
This is a revised and expanded version of the story previously published under the title of Pleasures with Rough Strife.
This is a sweet historical that touches the heart. Danny and Phillip come from different worlds…Both characters are wonderfully written…a charm to read. 4 hearts, Pixie, MM Good Book Reviews
I loved this book, devoured it, JL Merrow made both men so real, made me feel invested in them, care for them…I finished the book needing to go straight into book two, Keeper’s Pledge – 5 Sweet Peas, Josie Goodreads, Mrs Condit & Friends
I loved this book! There is so much pain and loss that these two men share, it just broke my heart…I can’t wait to read the next book in the series! Highly Recommended – 4.5 kisses, Jerry, Top2Bottom Reviews
Merrow does a nice job here of introducing us to Danny and Philip and providing enough context to understand the men and their backgrounds, the relationship between them as manor owner and tenant, and their intertwined history…I am definitely looking forward to the sequel – 4.25 stars, JayHJay, Joyfully Jay
I know that in the hands of this author, I’ll enjoy the story. And I really did… there was a seamless integration of historical detail that didn’t detract from the story for a modern reader – Cole, The Armchair Reader
Poacher’s Fall is a lovely, gentle read with two sympathetic heroes. Danny is especially charming, and the scenes told in his voice really bounce along and demonstrate his youth and exuberance…I also liked the use of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and one of Andrew Marvell’s poems to emphasise certain themes within the book, especially the Dickens, which brings the two men closer together across the social divide – 4 stars, Leslie, Reviews at Jessewave
I liked the pragmatic Danny who seemed very laid back about his sexuality, even as he is mindful of the consequences of being too open. This contrasted nicely with the nervy Philip who worries a lot about what others think of him and the consequences of his actions…I was glad to know that I would be moving straight onto the sequel – Grade: Very Good, Jenre, Well Read
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 – 4 stars, Carli, Live Your Life, Buy the Book
a gentle, soft look at coming back from heartbreak. Recommended – Lucy, Hearts on Fire Reviews
a tender tale of love lost and love found; a tale of healing and growing. It will touch your emotions as you hope for a happy ending for these two even as your heart goes out to a secondary character. Poacher’s Fall is a perfect read for curling up in your reading chair – 4 stars, Elise, SensualReads.com
A sequel to Poacher’s Fall, set four years later, in 1926.
Landowner Philip Luccombe has been enjoying a passionate relationship with young poacher turned gamekeeper Danny Costessey for four years now. Danny’s love has brought him out of the shell he retreated into when his first lover died after the Great War. But this Christmas, visitors to the manor threaten their happiness. Philip’s young cousin Matthew is artistic, vivacious, and flirtatious: just the sort to remind him of his long-dead first love—and to emphasise the social gulf between Philip and Danny.
But the worst danger comes from much nearer home. An old flame of Danny’s is discovered in incriminating circumstances, forcing the lovers to keep their distance for fear of being tarred with the same brush. Meanwhile, Danny’s younger brother, Toby, has grown to resent the connection between his brother and the lord of the manor. Danny wants to do the right thing—but that could divide the lovers forever.
J.L. Merrow has written another wonderful historical that continues the love story of Danny and Philip… they might have crossed wires, but their love holds strong even when they think their hearts are being ripped out. The settings in this book are good with rich descriptions and the storyline fits brilliantly with the timeline…This is a wonderful story where you can feel the fears, hopes and dreams of two men in love in a time when just being male wasn’t their only obstacle. – 4 hearts, Pixie, MM Good Book Reviews
JL Merrows writing is superb, it sets the tone perfectly, making you think you are in 1926, experiencing the roaring twenties just as the people living it did…I loved this book, even more than Poacher’s Fall, which I didn’t think was possible – 5 Sweet Peas and a Recommended Book from Josie Goodreads, Mrs Condit & Friends
Keeper’s Pledge is where this story really shines…This story is sweet and clever and really, really well done in the amount of space… It only further shows the talent this author has. Make sure you pick these up! – Cole, The Armchair Reader
J.L. Merrow’s books are always engaging reads, and Keeper’s Pledge is no different…As with the first book, Merrow plays with the freedoms and restrictions placed upon the different strata of social class…Danny’s voice is again superb. Recommended! 4.5 stars, Leslie S, Reviews at Jessewave
The addition of Philip’s family was a definite plus point in this story. I liked the very modern 1920’s lady, Lucy, who reminded me a little of one of Evelyn Waugh’s Bright Young Things…Overall, this was a well written historical which felt authentic – Grade: Very Good, Jenre, Well Read
Keepers Pledge is a really great story, and wonderful addition to the first book,Poacher’s Fall…I highly enjoyed every minute I spent reading this book and recommend it to anyone who loves a well written romance – Jerry, Top 2 Bottom Reviews
Philip’s pain upon their “short while apart” is palpable. Even worse when Danny steps up to take the place of his brother, oh just breaks the heart. They are a lovely couple and this is a great addition to the historical genre – 4 stars, Lucy, Hearts on Fire Reviews
[A] sumptuous tale of manners, cultures and classes. It also deals with the true-to-the-times consequences to each man should their love affair become common knowledge… J.L. Merrow is a wonderful writer. That’s all there is to that – 4.5 Stars, Carli, Live Your Life, Buy the Book