By Leroy Douresseaux
May 25, 2007 - 18:28
Whereas in Gerard & Jacques, the aristocrat is the older man that initiates the relationship with a younger commoner, Lovers in the Night features a butler, Claude Gilbert, who spends his life taking care of his deceased master’s spoiled son, Antoine. Although Antoine is younger, he is the master and eventually convinces Claude (who doesn’t need much convincing) to be his lover. Claude cooks and cares for his young charge, but he must also keep Antoine in line and teach him to be a proper gentleman. Antoine has the self-conceit and arrogance of youth, but at night he succumbs to the skilled lovemaking of his butler.
In Lovers in the Night, historical fiction (a staple of American publishers of romance novels) meets yaoi, a genre of manga that features the love between two men and graphic depictions of sex. Readers of yaoi know Fumi Yoshinaga’s name, and the prolific creator has delivered numerous stories that focus on the romantic love between two men. She hits the right note in creating costumes and sets to suggest the era in which her stories are set, but she doesn’t necessarily emphasize the setting or the plot, for that matter. Everything takes a backseat to the love between two people, and she generously adds hot love scenes for readers who want that in their yaoi. Ultimately, Lovers in the Night is a good (but not great) story that breezily carries the reader from the beginning to the happy-ever-after of love.