Sometimes it's necessary to let go of one thing in order to make room for another. Percival Endicott Whyborne has been holding on to guilt created when he survived a boating accident which claimed the life of his best friend. Since that time, Whyborne has cut himself off from his own feelings and those of everyone else as well, maintaining a very stoic life. Whyborne considers it a small price to pay to maintain his anonymity. He's perfectly satisfied with others thinking he's a bumbling misfit. When he's enlisted to join the handsome detective, Griffin Flaherty, in solving a murder case, emotions surface that he's tried to obliterate for years, particularly his attraction to other men. When he is around Detective Flaherty, Whyborne can feel his well-cultivated identity of emotionless recluse begin to unravel.
At best, Whyborne is an odd duck. He seems wishy-washy, incapable of making a decision. People think of him as weak and passionless; only his friend, Dr. Christine Putnam, has a clue as to the depth of Whyborne's character. He's been belittled for so many years, that his self-esteem is practically nil. He doubts himself so much, that it's often self-defeating. This is especially true in his relationship with Griffin. Whyborne can't understand why Griffin would want to be with someone as boring and plain as he sees himself. I felt quite sorry for him and wanted to point out all the great things he does that he discounts. As he became more and more confident, I was there cheering for him, urging him on. Underneath it all, Whyborne proves that he has an iron will and the heart of a lion and puts those who persecute him to shame.
Griffin is an enigma. He's an ex-Pinkerton detective who gave up his career under less than desirable circumstances, to start his own business. Under his confident façade lies a man who is constantly fighting his own demons, while valiantly trying to live a normal life. When Griffin meets Whyborne, he instantly senses that there's a lot more to Whyborne than he is showing him, and sets off to discover the man underneath all of his formality. Griffin is a bold, but kind and gentle man under his detective hat and showers Whyborne with all the love, affection and patience he so richly deserves, but previously had never had. In his quest to peel back the layers of onion that is Whyborne, he's often totally surprised, amused, and confused by Whyborne, yet he's also fascinated by him and is more enamored with him each day. The constraints of the times are trying for both of them, but they finally succumb to a passion that they can't control even though they know their relationship must be kept secret as the laws in the early 1900s forbid men to love each other.
As if the passionate love story weren't enough, there is still more to come. Interwoven with Griffin and Whyborne's burgeoning love affair is a mystery involving the horrors of the occult, monsters, sacrificial rituals, spells, re-animation, and necromancy. It involves a fight between good and evil including all the nuances and moral issues surrounding such a confrontation. It's action-packed, endearing, and frightening. The well-written lyrical style is quite appropriate for the time period and adds interest and a sense of authenticity. Griffin and Whyborne are such real characters and are so good together that they made my heart ache with joy. I adore them both. Christine is an absolute delight, such a strong female character, full of fire and vinegar; daring any man to tell her she doesn't belong.
Even if horror stories are not your thing; I challenge you to give 'Widdershins' a try. It's an absolutely superb dark tale. I'm looking forward to 'Threshold', the next installment of the 'Whyborne and Griffin' series, for more romance and hair-raising adventures. Thank you so much, Jordan, for this excellent story.