Review: To Love a Traitor, by JL Merrow (Rating: 3.5/5)

merrow-to-love-a-traitorTo Love a Traitor, by JL Merrow
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (Sept. 15, 2015)
Page Count: 202 pages
Genre: Gay (M/M) Historical Romance

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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* I was given an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. *

Summary: When solicitor’s clerk George Johnson moves into a rented London room in the winter of 1920, it’s with a secret goal: to find out if his fellow lodger, Matthew Connaught, is the wartime traitor who cost George’s adored older brother his life.

Yet as he gets to know Matthew—an irrepressibly cheerful ad man whose missing arm hasn’t dimmed his smile—George begins to lose sight of his mission.


My Thoughts: I’ve read a few other novels by JL Merrow, so I was thrilled to see a new one by an author that I really enjoy! To Love a Traitor is a historical romance-slash-mystery, and I think Merrow did a great job of revealing the clues in George’s mystery in a way that was organic and realistic.

I think where the novel fell apart a bit was in the actual relationship between George (aka Roger) and Matthew. In a time period where being gay was illegal and outright forbidden, there seemed to be very little consequence in two men beginning a relationship together. I also found the progress of the relationship to be unrealistic; the novel is told from George’s point of view, and I struggled to see George’s evolving emotions as he learned more about Matthew; he went from suspicion to friendship to romance in a short period, with no real transition between them.

George felt horribly torn and confused. It was such an intimate situation– he in his dressing gown, and Matthew in bed not six inches away from him. George knew he should be thinking of a way to use the situation to his advantage, to find out more about Matthew’s time in the trenches, but all he felt was a fierce yearning to close the gap between them, to hold his friend tight– and did he only imagine that Matthew’s lips had parted, his eyes half-closed, ready to welcome his embrace…? (Kindle Loc. 939)

But the novel was otherwise very enjoyable! I suspect that Merrow did a lot of research to help make the historical setting feel real, and the imagery was spot-on. I loved the mystery of who killed Roger’s brother, and the slow revealing of each step on George’s path. I also really liked George himself, a man who refused to go to war for his country and is still paying the price for that decision.


Overall, a really enjoyable read. Merrow has a lot of talent as a writer, and she did an amazing job with this historical mystery.

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