** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK FOR MY READING PLEASURE **
I'm a big fan of T.J. Nichols, ever since starting the Studies in Demonology series, and this short was no different. It was amazing.
From the world building of an urban fantasy style – historically accurate about life in the 1800's, detailing the life of a child thief, a trans FTM person and all they endured during those days, as well as the realities of penal colonies, mixed with a fae world – to the historical detail, the characterisation, and the chemistry between the couple, there wasn't anything I didn't love.
Gentleman John was a great character. As a trans man, locked in a world that didn't understand or accept him, he tried everything he could to be himself. His journey was long, sad, beautiful, and heartbreaking all at once. The way Banyn helped him endure it was beautiful. Their chemistry with each other was lovely, real, palpable and sweet.
I really appreciated the very clear timeline, with each section marked by the date and location. This is a story that jumps about in time, quite a bit, mostly past then present, and it was great to be able to follow along without feeling out of time or place.
The Legend of Gentleman John is a short story with heart, and meaning. It deals with some tough stuff (implied assault, beatings, “correcting” trans people) but it does so with sensitivity and an honesty that doesn't sugar-coat a terrible historical period or what it might have been like to be a trans-person in that era. Through characterisation, and John's relationship with Banyn, I got sucked into a beautiful story from page one, that didn't let up on the emotional heart-tugging until the very end. I cared, I hoped, I cried, and I ended this beautiful story with a heartwarming feeling that *finally*, in the end, everything had turned out as it was meant to.
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