Book Reviews

The Captain and the Theatrical (Captivating Captains 3) by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead at Pride Publishing

Genre Gay / Historical / 19th Century / Actors/Entertainers / Warriors/Soldiers / Erotic Romance / Humor/Comedy
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 20-November-2019

Book Blurb

Captain Ambrose “Pen” Pendleton might have distinguished himself on the battlefield at Waterloo but since he’s come home to civvy street, he’s struggled to make his mark.


Pen dreams of becoming a playwright but his ambitious father has other ideas, including a trophy wife and a new job in America. If he’s to stand a hope of staying in England and pursuing his dream, Pen needs to find a fiancée fast.


Amadeo Orsini never made it as a leading man, but as a leading lady he’s the toast of the continental stage. Now Cosima is about to face her most challenging role yet, that of Captain Pendleton’s secret amour.


With the help of a talking theatrical parrot who never forgets his lines, Orsini throws on his best frock, slaps on the rouge and sets out to save Pen from the clutches of Miss Harriet Tarbottom and her scheming parents.


As friendship turns into love, will the captain be able to write a happy ending for himself and Orsini before the curtain falls?


Book Review

“Acting is not about being someone different. It's finding the similarity in what is apparently different, then finding myself in there.” ~ Meryl Streep

Captain Ambrose “Pen” Pendleton, of ‘The Captain and the Theatrical’ by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead, is intent upon seeing his dear friend and actor, Amadeo Orsin. Pen is to meet Orsini at the Pavilion, to see a play Orsini has been raving about, starring a young actress named Cosima. Pen looks for Orsini but can’t spot him.

After the play, he meets Cosima who tells him that Orsini has been detained and he is to have dinner with her instead. Pen is confused, but, since he is charmed by Cosima, it’s not a burden to be with her and her parrot, Pagolo - her “costar” who accompanies her everywhere. They tour the Pavilion and view the marvels within. When they see others dancing, Cosima decides that she wants to dance as well. As they whirl around the dance floor, Pen gets a chance to really study her. He is aware that he hasn’t met her before but there is something very familiar about her. Finally, Cosima makes a reference to something that only he and Orsini could know about, and it dawns on him that this is not Cosima at all, but Orsini dressed as a woman! As the night goes on, they walk arm in arm, as any couple are able to do, relishing in the fact that no one would think it unnatural. They reminisce about their time together in Italy and catch up on each other’s lives since they last parted. Orsini explains about his lack of success playing male acting parts and how he came up with the notion to adopt a female persona and how much success he has had since doing so. Pen tells Orsini about his latest predicament. His father has arranged an engagement with a young woman whose father wants to go into business with Pen’s father. Knowing Pen’s inclinations do not sway towards women, he offers his sympathy and tries to figure out how to get Pen out of his obligation. They discuss the possibility of Cosima acting like they are lovers and that Pen promised to marry her. It seems like a good plan if it will work. Fen and “Cosima” go back to Pen’s rooms and pick up where they left off in Italy, taking their intimacy to another level and hoping for more.

The next morning, Fen rises before Orsini. In the light of day the plan that they cooked up the night before seems disrespectful and improbable; without speaking to Orsini Pen decides to dismiss it. With a sad heart, he leaves Orsini a note telling him about cancelling their plans and goes home to accept his fate. Facing his family and the woman he is to marry is a daunting task. Fen puts on a pleasant face and tries not to look as miserable as he feels. Matters are proceeding as well as can be expected, when their peaceful scene is disturbed by an unexpected visitor - Cosima! Pen isn’t sure how to feel! Did Orsini not see the note, or did he decide to ignore it and come anyway? For better or worse, he is there, about to play the most dramatic and, hopefully, the most convincing part of his life.

This historical is full of surprises, including, but not limited to, a ‘cross-dressing’ actor to an unanticipated jewel thief. There’s lots of intrigue, secrecy, deceit, and a very lively parrot who, for me, steals the show. Besides all that, the tongue-in-cheek humor adds a lot of enjoyment to the tale. Thanks, Catherine and Eleanor, for another delightful ‘Captain’ story.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Pride Publishing for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 267 pages/70107 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 03-September-2019
Price $4.99 ebook, TBD paperback
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