“Foxglove Copse” by Alex Beecroft is an intriguing story that combines very pertinent current issues with a touch of mysticism. Sam Atkins is a vulnerable traveler whose introduction to the small town of Porthkennack is guaranteed to exacerbate his anxiety issues, but his gradual integration into the insular society is matched by the progress of his relationship with the persistent Ruan Gwynn. The distressing and heartbreaking occurrences that serve as the heart of the mystery may be objectionable to some readers, especially given the permanent nature of the damage that results from one person’s evil machinations.
I enjoyed the way this story shows power shifts from those who are meek and at first glance, powerless, to forces of change…first because of a inspired idea and second, because the desire to defend someone else overpowers paralyzing fear. I like the reminder that belief and faith is such an important element and can be used for evil OR good.
This was an interesting example of the slippery slope of entitlement that conflicts with the delicate balance of tolerance and acceptance of certain strictures that form the underpinning of a society because of past history. The irony of a crime network that is reminiscent of the smugglers’ societies and the powerlessness that is the hallmark of dealings with such a structure is thought-provoking as one has to consider expediency versus long-term survival. It’s a chilling concept, existing so firmly under the thumb of one particular faction that a blind eye must be turned to many things, yet this is something that plays out on many levels of society.
The relationship that forms between the main characters is a delicate dance of attraction and wariness and the way Ruan and Sam complement each other and become stronger because of their relationship is heartwarming to watch. There are delightful twists—who knew a Washcloth could be so important?—and dismaying outcomes, but one is definitely made aware of the different rules that apply to this society. Although this is part of a series, there is no problem reading it as a stand-alone story, but my interest is definitely piqued and I am interested in reading more about this corner of the world.
This contemporary m/m romantic suspense story is part of the 'Porthkennack' series and centers around Sam Atkins, who has chosen to live an itinerant and spare life while he copes with his emotional issues. His inauspicious introduction to Ruan Gwynn and his aunt lands him in trouble and it will take a combination of technical and mystical skills to combat the evil that is attacking the small town’s inhabitants. He and his allies must survive long enough to combat the dangerous secrets that someone may be willing to kill to protect.
After a massive anxiety attack, Sam Atkins left his high-powered job in the City and committed himself to life on the road in a small van. Six months in, he's running out of savings and coming to the conclusion that he might have to go home to his emotionally abusive family.
Needing time to think, he takes a walk through a copse by the Cornish roadside, only to stumble upon the body of a ritualistically killed sheep. As he's trying to work out what the symbols around the animal mean, the sheep's owner, Jennifer, and her nephew, Ruan Gwynn, come upon him.
Ruan is a kind-hearted young man with a large supportive clan, and since he and Sam feel almost instant attraction, he doesn't want to believe Sam is a sheep-killing cultist. In fact, the moment he lays eyes on Sam's miserable solitary life, he wants to rescue the man. But as the killings escalate, he and Sam need to stop whoever is actually to blame before they can concentrate on saving each other.