The Harvest Moon

A Darkly Enchanted Romance

by Joshua Ian

Ther Harvest Moon - Joshua Ian
Part of the Darkly Enchanted Romance series:
Editions:Kindle: $ 0.99 USD
ISBN: 9781733480307
Pages: 57

England, 1834.

On the night of a harvest moon, in the shadows of late autumn, Malcolm comes across a quaint village tucked away in the forest. It seems the perfect spot for a weary traveller to lay his head, and maybe find a little company. But there is dark magic afoot, and lots of local gossip swirls around the seductive titian-haired weaver, Daniel. All Malcolm seeks is a night's pleasure. He never suspected he would have to worry about losing his life. Or his heart.

This novelette is about 14,000 words in length and the first entry in the Darkly Enchanted Romance Series.

This book is on:
  • 1 To Be Read list
Excerpt:

“Because he is a witch,” she answered with a small downward jerk of her cane so that it struck the wooden floor like a judge’s gavel. “There are those who visit our hamlet. They come on the night of a harvest moon in the shadows of late autumn, stopping here, for respite or relief.” She waved her hand, fanning out her fingers. “And then they disappear like morning dew from the grass. Gone. Leaving behind all they carried—their coin, their clothing, their horses, their carriages, everything a man needs. Abandoned.”

She cast her rheumy eyes on Malcolm.

“And they are all last seen in the company of a young man with flame-colored hair.”

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Malcolm froze, feeling as if his body was suddenly made of stone. He wanted to admonish the old woman, tell her that she was a fabulist and full of superstition. He wanted to laugh in the faces of them all. Yet he could not shake the queer feeling that had overtaken him—that he had somehow managed to escape the very fate of which she spoke.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Will Knauss on Big Gay Fiction Podcast wrote:

The Harvest Moon by Joshua Ian is a historical romance with an intriguing touch of magic. The beginning of this novella opens with our hero Malcolm, who has stopped to rest in a small village. That night, outside the tavern, he meets a handsome and intriguing young man, a weaver named Daniel. They make polite small talk, the conversation eventually going deeper.

Malcolm is drawn to him, convinced that his new acquaintance shares his same “interests”. Daniel invites him to his cottage in the forest. It might be 1834, but Malcolm recognizes a booty-call when the opportunity presents itself.

They make their way through the woods which are alive with a special kind of magic, the bright harvest moon showing the way. At the cottage, Daniel is a perfect host, they chat, share a drink… and a bed.

Malcolm has never experienced anything like what he feels when he’s with Daniel. He wakes in the middle of the night, but the bed is empty. There’s a menacing knife on the table, and Daniel is on the floor in front of the fire, seemingly in pain. He tells Malcolm to leave before his grandfather returns home.

Daniel seems angry, but remorseful, in need of care, but coldly antagonistic. Malcolm wants to help, but eventually agrees to leave.

The next morning, at the inn, Malcolm hears several locals talking of the elderly weaver in the woods. He mentions that he knows Daniel but is warned away with long told tales of evil and witchcraft.

Malcolm is worried and decides, before continuing on his journey, to go see Daniel and offer any help he can. When he arrives at the cottage, he finds the old man, who tells him that Daniel isn’t there and won’t ever be coming back. Malcolm pressed him further and realizes that the old man is Daniel.

He tells Malcolm the sad tale of how he, long ago, met and fell in love with a man named Thomas, a weaver and practitioner of magic. They were inseparable until villagers, whipped into a witch-hunting frenzy, killed Thomas – cursing Daniel to a life of endlessly searching for his long-ago love.

The night before, Malcolm was to be sacrificed to the harvest moon for another year of Daniel’s life. But, sharing the same strong feelings as Malcolm, Daniel couldn’t go through with it. Malcolm kisses Daniel, their love finally freeing him from the curse.

Malcolm takes Daniel back home to his ancestral estate where they can love and live happily ever after.

I really enjoyed this story from a new to me author. While the narrative is firmly rooted in the historical aspects of the story, the magical elements give it an intriguing fairy tale vibe – not in a cutesy Disney way, more of a sinister and sexy Grimms fairy tale way.

Something else that I found interesting was the use of language, which is very rich and evocative, but not dense and confusing like the literature of the time in which the story is set. The dialog especially has a certain ring of authenticity. It comes across as period appropriate without being burdened with “thee’s” and “thou arts”.

If you’re looking for something a little bit different, but still very romantic and satisfying from a genre perspective, I’d definitely say give Joshua Ian’s The Harvest Moon a try.

Sharonica on Sharonica Logic wrote:

This Lil Novie was completely unexpected, and I must confess, I totally got this one for that gorgeous cover. Even without the hunk (man I completely just told my age with that word didn’t I) on the cover, it is beautiful with all the colors…it just drew me in. The “pretty as a picture” guy on the front was just icing.

I also grab books off lists because of keywords. It is very VERY rare for me to read a blurb. Because this one ticked a few of my favorite keyword boxes: gay, paranormal, historical, I had to read it. I also liked that it was a “New to Me” author. So all those things add up to one awesome book reading recipe in the making.

This was a little mystery wrapped in legend, superstition, and fear. However, behind every one of those things is a spark of truth that gives them life. The same holds in this story, where the villagers stay in their cups and close to their hearths each time the Harvest Moon hangs low in the sky.

For Malcolm, a gentleman passing through, it all means nothing. Malcolm and other men like him know what it means to hide certain sides of themselves in the shadows, lest be named a monster himself. In the shadows outside the tavern is where Malcolm meets the beautiful young weaver, who lives in the forest near the village, Daniel. Malcolm has no idea just how much his life is about to change…neither does the young weaver.

I loved reading this story as it was almost lyrical in its wording and pacing. The author took his time in setting the world around the tale, then he released the characters to drive the story forward. I was taken back to 1830’s England in Fall, and I saw the colors, smelled the spices and herbs in the air, and felt chilled as the story whirled around me.

I will be saving this to read again when Autumn returns to us and brings with her the spooky loveliness of all things wickedly legendary.


About This Series

Historical romance with a paranormal edge! The Darkly Enchanted Romance series takes its inspiration from mythology, fairytales, folklore, and legend to give you sweet and sultry romances with just a touch of spookiness. Witches, ghosts, and mythical creatures - you know never what you might fall in love with in these enchanted stories.

Each entry is a standalone story and they can be read in any order of preference.

About the Author

Joshua Ian can easily be captured by a witty turn of phrase or a low-bottomed electronic bassline. If you manage to combine the two, then you have his heart forever. He lives in New York City and writes mostly historical, speculative, and sci-fi/fantasy fiction but he does love a good mystery. He watches too many movies, eats too much dark chocolate, and falls into way too many Wikipedia rabbit holes– but it’s all in the name of research (or so he tells himself). One day he plans to travel the world - to see what each country has to offer in the way of movie theatres and dark chocolate, naturally.


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