Born into poverty and violence in late
nineteenth century London, Jack Rourke and his twin brother
barely eke out an existence. Abused by their father and
neglected by their mother, Jack dreams of escaping with his
softer brother. When the teenager finally breaks free, it is
not without the tragic death of his twin, a lethal encounter
with his father, and ultimately the loss of his identity.
With the help of friend and theater owner, Lizbet, Jack finds
a wealthy patron willing to take him in and raise him.
Adopted by Xavier St. Denys, Jack is reborn as Kit St. Denys.
With a new world open to him, Kit develops his acting talents
and eventually becomes a renowned actor with his own repertory
Raised in the country, there was never
any doubt that Nick Stuart would take over his strict
religious father's medical practice. Assisting his father
from a very young age, he learns medicine without a formal
education. As Nick gets older, he is eager for proper
schooling and freedom from his father's dominate rule. He
flees to London and a university education. Once he becomes a
doctor, he can't leave his good heart and Christian upbringing
behind. Nick devotes himself to providing healthcare to those
A chance meeting at the theater throw
these two unlikely men together. Their attraction is
instantaneous, and love is not long to follow. Falling in
love might be easy, but making their relationship work is a
whole other story. Kit is not open and honest about his past,
while Nick is conflicted over the morality of their
overpowering attraction. Can these two find their way in a
society where their love is forbidden?
A sweeping tale overflowing with rich
detail and emotion, The Phoenix is a grand
historical romance. Ruth Sims crafts a lush world full of
well developed characters. Introduced to Kit and Nick in
their youth, I truly came to know them both. Neither is
perfect, but each are engaging men that had me rooting for a
happy ending. Ms. Sims's vivid storytelling left me
breathless at both the horrors and triumphs of these two men.
Deftly handling the realities of a gay relationship at that
point in history, she gives Kit and Nick's romance a true
authenticity. After beginning with dramatic flare, the
melodrama does become almost too much toward the ending.
However, it's hard to find fault as the mesmerizing drama kept
me reading late into the night. Ms. Sims has penned a
powerful epic romance. Lovers of historical romances, gay or
straight, will want to pick up The Phoenix.