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The Gentleman's Madness

Narrated by: Mark James
Length: 6 hrs and 16 mins
Categories: Fiction, Gay & Lesbian
4 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Summary

Two men imprisoned. One in body, the other in mind. 

Caught in the throes of passion with another man, scholar John Gilliam agrees to asylum treatment for perversion at the request of his worried parents. He intends to fake a cure then return to his normal life, but an attack on his person leads him down a darker path. 

Transferred to another facility, he is denied any devices by which he might harm himself - even books and writing materials. Half crazed by isolation John finds an unexpected friend in his caretaker, Sam Tully. 

Tully feels sorry for the patient everyone calls “the professor”, but he must keep his head down and perform his duties. His family relies on his earnings. He refuses to acknowledge the stirring of excitement inside him every time he is in Gilliam’s presence. Thirst for the knowledge the scholar offers wars with the carnal hunger he must deny. 

In John’s small cell, learning and mental freedom blossom as the two forge a friendship. Forbidden attraction evolves into physical action. But in the asylum there is more than curative treatment taking place. The pair uncover a terrible secret and must fight not only for their freedom but their very lives. 

A Rainbow Award winner.

©2017 Duet Publishing (P)2019 Duet Publishing

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The Gentleman's Madness

John Gilliam has been sent to an insane asylum after being discovered by his father in a compromising position with another man, a taboo in 1880's England. John's treatment he receives at the facility, and his mental and physical suffering are somewhat glossed over, but when the reader is given insight to John's musings, a clear picture emerges.

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John and Tully a Historical love story

John a Professor caught in a compromided position is admitted to an Asylum to please his father who caught him with a man, is abused by a worker and moved to another facility where he meets a worker, a gentle giant named Sam Tully who also has urges, but tries to hide it. John and Sam become Teacher and student and then lovers, in this wonderful historical novel. I really enjoyed this book

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Profile Image for Stephanie VO
  • Stephanie VO
  • 13-04-19

Amazing listen!!

I don't listen or read many historical books but this one I love. I just love how Sam and John's relationship does develop even in the last 1800's. Then Mark James just pulls me even more into the story and pulls so much emotions out of me. I couldn't stop listening.

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  • Vania
  • 12-04-19

Great society portrait.

The setting of this book is extremely interesting, an asylum near London at the end of the 19th century.
John Gilliam is an inmate in the asylum and forms an unlikely friendship with one of the attendants, Samuel Tully, which then develops into something more. Through their stolen times together they will discover that the asylum has secrets, and they will work together to uncover them.
Though it can be considered in the category of M/M romance, the book is a great commentary of the society’s situation at the time: it has great insight in the life of the asylum, it doesn’t fully condemn the institutions but it exposes its weaknesses, as well as highlighting its strengths.

Mark James narration is lovely, and makes this historical romance a thing of beauty to listen too.

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  • susana
  • 11-04-19

A despairing story with a very happy end

<b>audiobook version</b>
When despair seems to be gaining the battle, a bit of kindness becomes a beacon of light to keep you alive….
Scholar John Gillian never thought he would find himself deprived of even paper and pencil for his own good… When he accepted to be send to an institution to be treated of his unnatural proclivities, after being caught by his father in such acts, he had no idea what he was signing for. After the demeaning treatments, the humiliation, and even an assault, John feel himself sliding into the madness he is being treated for. Until a kind touch from a rough man brings him back from despair, and helps him regain his balance…
Sam Tully sees the men behind the inmates, and he treats them with kindness and care. Despite being an uncultivated man, he knows every single one of them deserves respect. Specially John Gillian, a man who does not belong in Fairpark Asylum, the institution he’s been confined to by his loving family. When Tully starts looking after the distraught professor, a friendship begins to form between them. But as their bond deepens and changes, they realise there is something dark going on at Fairpark, something that can end up killing John if Tully does not manage to set him free…
This is a deeply moving story, the main romance following the lines of an opposites attract trope, with likeable characters and a slow burn relationship. But leaving the romance aside, I was deeply impressed by the scenes about the treatments and the humiliations that the inmates at the asylum were submitted to. John’s anguish is heartbreaking. I cannot stop thinking about how many men and women suffered torture and humiliation by the so called men of science who were trying to cure them from things which were never meant to be cured… So sad
Mark James’ performance in this audiobook is great, he easily conveys the social differences between Tully and John with masterful changes of intonation. His narration flows easily, and listening to it becomes a really enjoyable experience.
A very recommendable story for those who don’t mind quite a bit of anguish with their romance.

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  • Trio
  • 10-04-19

Wonderful! Mark James' Performance is Stunning

I had no idea what to expect from Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon’s historical novel The Gentleman’s Madness. What sounded like a dark, emotional story of a gay man submitting to treatment for his so-called perversion in London in the late 1800s, turns out to be a moving social commentary, a fabulous mystery, and an erotic and passionate romance all wrapped up in one gorgeous book.

Yes, the look inside the facility is disturbing. The variety of treatments provided to those suffering from mental illness are horrific, and the lack of control patients have over their fate is the stuff of nightmares. While these descriptions do set the stage for the story, thankfully the authors move quickly into the mystery and romance portion of the novel.

When we meet John Gilliam, he’s reached his lowest point. The victim of a sexual assault at his first institution, John is transferred to Fairpark Asylum where he is stripped of his personal effects, his rights, and his dignity. An educated man, he can see that none of the treatments are going to “cure him of his desires”, and furthermore he recognizes his attraction to men is a natural part of who he is. Submitting to a turn in the sanatorium was intended to appease his father and relieve some of the social stigma to his family, but now he wants OUT!

When attendant Sam Tully offers John a bit of kindness, the men form a friendship which blooms into a deep and passionate connection. Unfortunately, their relationship draws the attention of a boorish and violent attendant who tries to blackmail them…. Puzzled by the man’s behavior, and a few strange events, they uncover proof of some heinous activities at Fairpark Asylum.

The mystery portion of the story is clever and unfolds perfectly. I enjoyed watching John and Tully work together as they uncover clues and figure out what’s been going on. It’s easy to see their initial attraction turn to mutual admiration, and finally evolve into a loving relationship as they find their happily-ever-after.

Adding even more power to the story is Mark James’ stunning narration of The Gentleman’s Madness, whether he is expressing the choked back emotion of John, trying to hide his passionate reactions from the staff, or the sheer joy and laughter of Tully as he discovers the pleasures of freely interacting with his lover. From the words of love they share, whispered furtively in the dark cell of the sanatorium, to the madness of some of the residents confined within, Mr. James gives his all and infuses every emotional scene with the highs and lows intended by the authors.

As well received as this book was after its original release in 2013, I can only exclaim over the added power of Mark James’ narration. A truly meaningful, heartfelt love story, and a look back at a sad and unfortunate time in history, The Gentleman’s Madness is a novel not to be missed.

an audiobook copy of The Gentleman’s Madness was provided to me by the authors for the purpose of my review

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  • ButtonsMom2003
  • 07-04-19

Another great audio performance by Mark James.

I absolutely love Mark James voice. This is the third audiobook I've listened to by him and he just keeps getting better and better. Of course it doesn't hurt that he's had really great stories to narrate. 😊

In some ways The Gentleman's Madness is a bit of a sad story but it has a great HEA. The sad part is that the two MC's meet in an asylum where John Gilliam has agreed to go to get treated for his "unnatural attraction to men." Sam Tully is an attendant at the asylum and he befriends John. As the two grow closer they are no longer able to hide their feelings from each other.

It's hard for me to describe how soothing I find Mark James' voice. He really does perform, not just read, the stories he narrates. The inflections in his voice are always just right and he makes the story flow like melting butter.

The story by Summer Devon and Bonnie Dee was one that really touched me. I hate to think that the things that happened to John are representative of how things were (maybe still are what with conversion camps, etc.). These two authors have taken a depressing subject and turned it into a wonderful love story with an ultimately uplifting and happy ending.

A complimentary copy of this audiobook was provided to me but my review was voluntary and not influenced by the author.

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  • B.McGrath
  • 06-04-19

overdue triumphs

This story is a glimpse of how being gay in the early ages was dealt with in conversion asylums. I loved the disparity of the relationship that developed and grew between Tully (a caretaker) and John (a patient). Their interactions and banter were endearing and heartwarming. I empathized with the inpatients and their plight. It was good to see the lengths Tully and John went to to gain a fresh start together. The ending was oh so sweet. The narrator's voices added to my enjoyment of the book.

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  • Georgiana
  • 02-04-19

What a trio!

Bonnie Dee, Summer Devon, and Mark James did an amazing job.

Poor John voluntarily puts himself into an insane asylum in 1887 because he is caught with another man by his father. Sam is an attendant working on John’s floor. He too is gay but keeps it a secret as he knows the consequences of coming out.

The two men long for each other not knowing the other feels the same.

I loved the slow burn and angst the two men endured. They are both in a place where people watch each other and it’s hard to get alone time giving me a roller-coaster of emotions. I wanted the two to be together, but I didn’t want them to get caught. At times they weren’t so secretive with their feelings or with being physical. There was another attendant, Jenkins, who was a mean drunk and always kept a close eye on John and Sam.

I enjoyed the mystery as well. Another time my emotions were on high alert and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Mark James does another wonderful job and I can’t wait to hear him again. His voice is clear, smooth and the emotions just come alive when he speaks.

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  • Erryn Barratt
  • 28-08-19

Who defines madness?

I’m always reticent of tackling books that deal with mental illness. A little too close to home sometimes. As I embarked on the journey of reading this book, though, it quickly became apparent that the ‘madness’ was not anything that would qualify as a mental illness today. That reassured me. And left me wondering how does one cope being in a mental institution when one is not mentally ill?

John Gilliam has such a quandary. His family has sent him to a facility for his ‘illness’ to be treated. Perversions are all in the eye of the beholder and thank God we no longer ‘treat’ people who are gay. John understands he has no control over who he is attracted to and since his goal is to get out of the institution, all he has to do is stay away from other men. Or, more precisely, being attracted to other men.

Sam Tully believes himself a simple man. He used to work on the docks until an injury sidelined him. He’s managed to become an attendant at an asylum and, with his gentle nature, he is a favorite amongst the patients. He is a quiet man who keeps to himself until he meets John, known as The Professor. There is an interesting dynamic going on between the two men – Tully understands John is considered a deviant, but also sees a learned man. John sees a kind man who yearns to know more, despite believing himself simple. Their shared exploration of learning leads to an increased bond. Slowly, they let down their guard and begin to care for each other.

The path to love isn’t simple and every interaction is scrutinized. Yet still, they find ways of expressing their affection. Everything comes to a head and just when things could go very wrong, things take an unexpected turn. The ending gave me great hope.

I don’t listen to many historical novels and the premise of this one definitely had me intrigued. I mean, how are two men supposed to find a happy ending? But they did back then and they did in this story.

Mark James is a delightful narrator and he does a wonderful job with this story. This was a treasure of a book that I really enjoyed.

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  • Dana Piazzi
  • 23-08-19

A great story that made me think

Even though we could be further in the fight for equality for LGBT people in the present day, we have made big strides in how gay and lesbian people are treated by society. Homosexuality was once a offence worthy of jail or the sanitarium. The fear of getting caught in that day in age has always added an element of nervousness to reading or listening to historical mm romance. Sometimes it seemed like there could only be HFN (Happy For Now) endings because there was always something hanging over the couple and the inability to have a public romance.

In The Gentleman’s Madness, the worst has already happened. John has been committed after being caught with another man. His first stint in a mental health facility was going well until he was attacked by a guard and was transferred to another hospital/prison. The “treatments” for his “affliction” obviously aren’t effective but John tries to pretend. The doctor in charge might have started off with good intentions but his need to learn and his greed for the patient’s money leads to keeping patients locked up for longer periods of time than necessary. John can’t even talk to his father without supervision to prevent him from contradicting the doctors orders for more time inside. It does seem rather hopeless, but thank goodness for Tully.

Tully is an amazing character who works at the hospital in order to support his father. Tully is rather large and used to work a more strenuous job on the docks until injury made him seek work elsewhere. He still has the strength to help take care of the patients in the mental hospital. It wouldn’t seem likely at first glance, but Tully is a caregiver at heart. He is able to calm those who really do have mental illness and he has empathy for the scholarly man who isn’t allowed to write or learn while being kept locked up. He has an amazing capacity for caring and even though he isn’t the most educated man, he knows what is right and wrong and he helps John feel just a little bit more human while he is in his care.

I found the first sentence in the blurb interesting. It is a fitting thought, but as I considered it when I sat down to write my review, I wondered which was which and thought I should mention it. At first, it seems clear that John is the one imprisoned bodily and therefore Tully must be imprisoned in his mind. With more consideration I think it might be opposite. Yes, John is physically captive, and yes, he has quite a bit of knowledge in his head. His upbringing afforded him the best education. However, his thirst for knowledge has kept him from finding someone he not only is attracted to, but who he can share thoughts with and meld minds with. There is a part of him that I consider trapped by his own mind. I don’t know if I consider Tully trapped by his mind. He hasn’t had the opportunity to learn as much or the kind of things John has, but that doesn’t necessarily makes him imprisoned. But he has held himself back bodily from being with someone he can care about. I don’t know if I am making sense, but it was a thought I needed to get out.

I do love a book that makes me think the way this book did. I loved the romance and the character development as the two learned different things from each other, making them equal even though there was an imbalance in power between them as patient and free man, and in social class as well. There is also a bit of action as the characters find out some secrets about the doctor and the facility. And with all the complications that tried to stop these two guys from having a relationship, there is still a really good ending and I was so happy I had the chance to listen to and review this book. On that note let me mention that the narration on this book was excellent. This is the first time I have listened to this narrator but it won’t be my last.

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  • VHB
  • 25-05-19

lovely

Great narration excellent story,
sweet love storie.
I really enjoy this audio book it was so interesting. Well written and well narrated.