A Night with the Knight of the Burning Pestle: Full of Mirth and Delight Book Cover A Night with the Knight of the Burning Pestle: Full of Mirth and Delight
Julie Bozza
LGBT, Gay Fictions, Mashup Fiction
2nd Edition, LIBRAtiger
June 15, 2019

Dale is proud of how his acting career is progressing. Tonight, for instance, is the last night (at the beautiful Sam Wanamaker Playhouse) of a well-received run of Beaumont’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle, in which he plays Rafe. But his colleague Topher, who plays Jasper, seems to think something is missing in Dale’s life. They’re not really friends, and Dale sees little point in reprising the one night on which they were not-really-friends with benefits.

However! Despite the distractions of performing this chaotic two-plays-within-a-play, Dale is plagued by the niggling doubts prompted by Topher. Dale might be better off paying attention, though – because maybe Francis Beaumont, writing over 400 years ago, already provided the answers to Dale’s dilemma.

Available at Amazon.

Reviewed by Kel Johnson

Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team

This is a very interesting and confusing story. I understand that the author wanted to pay homage to Francis Beaumont’s play of the same name and I do applaud the creativity of it all. The only problem with it is that it seems to be 90% play and 10% story. Plays are fun, especially if you’re in the audience and get to enjoy them. This one seems like it would be especially fun to watch. The problem is, this is a written story and I’m not sure where the focus is supposed to be.

We get to meet Dale and Topher, who are actors in the play, and are somewhat romantically involved. Topher more than Dale perhaps. We get glimpses of their interactions behind the scenes of the play. We don’t get to know a lot about them, other than Dale has some long-term life plans for his career and Topher isn’t necessarily a part of that. Over the course of the final performance of the play, we watch Dale learn that maybe his plans aren’t the best ideas and that he’s losing out on something great by trying to shut Topher out. By the end of the night, he talks with Topher and tells him that he’s changed his mind about a lot of things and wants him in his life. I loved those interactions between them and wanted more of it.

Unfortunately, we spend most of the story listening to the play and the actors, both on stage and in the audience, going through their parts. While this was fun, it got to a point where the story seemed to drag on and made it harder to get through. I did enjoy reading about the play within a play, as I’d never heard of it before, but I wanted to get to know the characters, the actors, more and would have preferred the play pay a secondary or background part of the story, rather than seemingly to be the main focus. This style of writing may appeal to some people, but it wasn’t something I necessarily enjoyed.

This isn’t a bad story at all. It’s very well written and I did enjoy most of it. I felt sorry for the put-upon stage actors, having to deal with the unreasonable requests of the “audience” (the actors playing the part of specific audience members) and I did enjoy how they forced the stage actors to do their bidding and there were some good humorous parts. The parts with Dale and Topher added some nuance to the overall story and I was very happy at the end that Dale realized he was missing out by not having Topher, and love, in his life. I just would’ve liked to have seen more about them and Dale’s realizations.

Overall, this is a decent read and if you don’t mind reading about a play with a bit of romance added on, then you might enjoy this one.