Review: The Rules by Jamie Fessenden
WHEN HANS BAUER, a college student in New Hampshire, accepts a job as a housekeeper for an older gay couple, he soon learns the reason they’ve hired someone with no experience is that professional agencies won’t work there. Thomas is a successful businessman whose biggest goal in life appears to be giving his husband anything he wants. Boris is a writer who immigrated to this country from Russia, and suffers from depression and PTSD because of the things he endured in his native country.
He also refuses to wear clothes—ever.
While Hans is working alone in the house with Naked Boris all day, things start getting a little weird. Boris gets flirtatious and Hans backs away, not wanting to come between him and his husband. So Boris calls Thomas at work and asks permission.
At that moment, The Rules are born—rules about touching and kissing and pet names that the three men use to keep jealousies at bay, as they explore the possibilities in a new type of relationship….
WARNING: This story deals with themes of sexual assault and past abuse.
Dear Jamie Fessenden,
I read several of your books in the past and liked them all to some degrees if I remember correctly. I rarely choose to read about poly relationships, but I did read and enjoyed some books about triads in the past. I have not tried one in quite some though and this one looked interesting enough. Mostly due to the Russian character in the blurb, I have to be honest. I did not realize right away that the book was first published in 2017, which is not a big deal to me, just letting you know that this is not a new book.
First of all, big props to the author for correct use of Russian expressions in the book, I always appreciate it, correct spelling of the names, the nicknames used properly – well done, but not overused. This is a book written in English after all and I would not have appreciated the overuse of Russian in it, but I thought it was done just right.
Of course people who don’t speak Russian won’t care about that small issue, but I did and wanted to note my pleasure :).
I really liked all three characters. Thomas and Boris are an established couple who are deeply in love and the blurb basically describes the set up very nicely . Boris is eccentric and has some mental health issues due to what he endured when he was growing up (although honestly I did not expect his trauma turning out to be what it was – not the trauma itself, that was sadly to be expected to an extent, but how he got hurt). Thomas’ life mission is to take care of his husband and to make sure he gets anything he wants. Boris is not leeching off Thomas though. He is a talented writer and his books are extremely popular and clearly he is able to make a living with his writing.
But Boris finds clothing deeply restrictive and does not wear it in the house. Most cleaning people seem to have an issue with naked man walking around while they are cleaning the house. Even if such a naked man rarely leaves his study. Thomas decides that they should try their luck with hiring a student to clean their house and that’s how they find Hans. He does not have a problem with naked Boris, or clothed Boris.
Hans finds Boris attractive and apparently the attraction is mutual, but Boris has no desire to cheat on his husband so he calls Thomas to tell him the issue and yes, indeed The Rules are born.
Of course that’s not a spoiler to say that all three characters are ending up together, right? They do and I really liked how they got there. They talked, they shared their issues, insecurities, whatever. Of course Hans is a new person in their relationship so pitfalls did come up, but I liked that they dealt with it mostly as adults.
Why B-? It is me, not a book! I can see this can be a higher grade story for another reader easily, but no matter how exquisite the characters were, I did get a bit bored eventually. Talk and sex is not enough, for me, to make a book that would knock my socks off and in a way that’s what it boiled down to.