The Phoenix

The Phoenix Like Tess Of The D Urbervilles Or The Woman In White, This Victorian Novel Is Replete With Plot Twists, Years Long Detours, Providential Meetings, Villainy, And A Great Deal Of Drama It Differs From Most Other Victorian Novels In That The Main Characters Who Meet And Fall In Love Are Both Men, One An Adopted Son With A Dark Secret And Dickensian Background Who Has Taken On A New Identity, And The Other An Uptight Doctor With A Strong Religious Background

Librarian Note There is than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

☉ [PDF / Epub] ☆ The Phoenix By Ruth Sims ❤ –
  • Paperback
  • 343 pages
  • The Phoenix
  • Ruth Sims
  • English
  • 22 April 2019
  • 9781932133400

10 thoughts on “The Phoenix

  1. says:

    I bought this book after seeing all the positive reviews and hoping to read an entertaining historical novel I was sorely disappointed This book was uninspired and flat just like most pulp romance novels out there The supposedly victorian setting could be just any old timey idea of such a place, it makes little difference Drop a few names Bernard Shaw, Aubrey Beardsley, Florence Nightingale and you are in business The descriptions are insipid, the plot lines simplistic and the anachronisms abound just like they do in any romance novel that invokes such backgrounds Crowds going on holidays were rare events before WWI for example.The two characters Nick, a country doctor with deep seated christian guilt, and Kit b Jack Rourke , a ruffian transformed into a a world famous and wealthy actor in no time at all by the way , are just made of cardboard Their ascent form poverty and repression is as meteoric and as their fall into lust The lack of inner life in these two characters, the cliched plots and the tinsel of the environment are too much of a drag for me to care about the story.Central to the plot are nightmares Kit has regarding his difficult childhood Only if he sleeps with a man, do this nightmares relent The implausibility of such extended post traumatic disorder makes the thickly laid twists of the plot very starchy and contrived This novel is meant to be a soap opera with characters driven by single fixations Caricatures in short.The book is readable and it has its place I even has its moments but I felt it was a waste of time in book form May be a script would have been better The author presents herself as some sort of liberal cookie baking grandma surrounded by conservative folks somewhere in the MidWest In her spare time she writes these torrid homosexual romance novels How quaint Good for her I wish her much success but I won t be following her career.

  2. says:

    This is one story you don t want to miss It had me crying before I got past chapter two and laughing halfway through chapter eight The book is a marvel of passionate difficulties without ever feeling like an emotional rollercoaster.There were a few point of view problems with description of what the POV character did not see but they were not severe enough to interrupt the flow Altogether, the writing is superb, evocative I found some details a bit jarring, not because they were out of place, but because I was surprised to discover that such things existed so long ago.The author s research is flawless, her writing tight and uncluttered This is not a book for skip readers Every word and comma is essential to the story, which, to this reviewer is exactly as it should be.The love between St Denys and Dr Stuart is subtle, sultry and real their emotion deep, rugged and lasting I paused many time to sit back and let the intricacies of the story flow quietly through my mind.One could not help but laugh at the thought of The Mrs Aster with diamonds on her knickers.The Phoenix thoroughly involves the reader The specifics of both theater and surgery pull the reader into diverse scenes with ease, and hold them there in the past with Kit when his worthless excuse for a father comes after him Tom Roarke is an excellently drawn villain This reader could not wait to see him meet his end.By chapter twenty two, the urge to steal a glimpse at the end is strong and difficult to resist but you must resist it or you ll miss the fun As with any good drama, just as near unbearable the move toward the finale begins complete with comedy, unexpected misunderstandings and false hints.Overall, I can t remember when I ve ever enjoyed a book so much Get it Read it then pass it along This one is definitely worth sharing if you can bring yourself to part with it at all Peggy Ullman Bell author Fixin Things Sappho sings.

  3. says:

    I never wrote a book review before but after reading some of the others on here I guess I couldn t do much worse because they don t even sound like the same story I won t rehash the plot because it s complicated, just the way I like them Life is complicated I don t like books that are too easy and wrap everything up with a little pink bow at the end People get hurt in real life People get hurt in The Phoenix, too physically and emotionally Both Dr Nick and Kit St Denys grow and change during the course of the story Their lives and reactions and decisions are changed by forces beyond their control as well as some bad choices that were in their control gosh, that s like life too They re different men than they were when they met Nick has had to give up something, than one, really, in order to save Kit.There s a review by someone named Peggy Bill on here that s written by somebody better than I am at reviewing This is harder than I thought Read her review if you want a well written one But she doesn t like it one bit better than I do.Dann

  4. says:

    This is pretty good, but the ending Not so much I felt like the story was wrapped up in a paragraph and I just didn t like the resolution at all But that could just be me I m still giving it high stars, because for all that the ending annoyed me, the rest of the story was enjoyable Very well developed, with nice depth without being too much.

  5. says:

    This is a beautifully written, intense love story set in late 1880 s spanning decades and continents Clearly well researched and intricately plotted, the book hardly makes a misstep as the love affair between two men is besieged by numerous obstacles and outside influences The complex characters and engrossing plot combine to create a wonderfully lyrical and moving story which will easily stand the test of time Fans of literature and historical fiction particularly should be sure to pick this up if you haven t already and anyone hoping to read a fabulous story with complicated situations and flawed characters will want to lose themselves in this book.The story follows the life of Kit St Denys, born Jack Rourke, as he struggles during his abusive childhood to being adopted by the wealthy and cultured St Denys family As he adapts to a new life in the upper echelons of society and wealth, Kit never forgets his past and is haunted by memories of his father Those memories are only offset when Kit meets the puritanical Nicholas and begins a love affair that would span years and continents as the two struggles against violence, religion, abuse, jealousy, work, marriage, insanity, and the constant intensity of their emotions The lovers are apart than they are together but their need and desire never abate The two must overcome incredible obstacles for the hope of a future The story itself is complex and intricate as the action never stops from start to finish The main character of Jack, later Kit, centralizes the story and all other characters revolve in his orbit Even though the story alternates between different perspectives, each action relates to Kit The beginning could have been extended as it describes Jack s life in the gutter and his relationships to various other people His early love affair with the theatre is important and beautifully described against the stark contrast to the squalor and violence of his home life His escape to another life is essential to his survival but his mental health suffers from his experiences and abuse The incredible reality the writing produces from the gritty slums of London to the lush mansion of St Denys Hill, the texture and depth to the setting is never sacrificed for the story or characters This added level of detail adds another layer to the rich narrative The characters themselves are wonderfully flawed, complex, and absorbing characters Kit is a huge personality that leaps off the page in all his over the top, outrageous glory Yet for all his outgoing personality, his insecurities run deep and his obsession with Nicholas causes him a great deal of pain His need to be accepted and loved is evident but few touch his carefully guarded heart He loves his close friends and mixtures comfort and friendship with casual sex, much to Nicholas anger Kit is often depicted as rash and selfish but his actions have purpose, even if it s to chase the love of his life or ruin a competitor The author has delivered a wonderfully complex and complicated character that dominates scenes and demands to be heard even as his story evokes intense emotion and heart ache Kit s emotional journey and development drives the story just as Nicholas path to finding happiness and acceptance hallmarks the beautifully crafted tale Nicholas is a classic opposite to Kit s debauched and extravagant lifestyle as the puritan who believes deeply in god and religion Nicholas is often dour and restrained, experiencing no joy or happiness in the endless theatre world of beauty and flirting He is often jealous and angry at Kit s casual affection for strangers and acquaintances and feels out of place when not working at the surgery Nicholas often jumps to conclusions and takes the length of the novel to see the depth and complexity of Kit s character Nicholas journey is arguably difficult and complicated as he must come to terms with his relationship with God versus his relationship with Kit This internal, emotional battle colors a majority of Nicholas actions and thoughts only the overwhelming continuous love, need, and desire for Kit break through the strong barrier of Nicholas guilt and shame As brilliant and well written as this story is, there are a few minor problems I ll stress these were minor as the elements that bothered me may or may not bother other readers The first was that towards the end of the book, Jack Kit s past is resurrected and this turns the narrative in a completely different direction involving a lengthy aside about mental health care at its inception This particular inclusion caused the pace and story to start to drag and although emotional, lacked the deep intensity the story had up until then This is partly because the resolution is weak and indecisive The problem gradually is dismissed without a solid conclusion, leaving the characters and story dangling slightly even as the action continues At this point, yet another obstacle is thrown up and the sheer number of miscommunications and poor decisions by the characters starts to overwhelm the story Although the emotional development of Kit is epitomized by his final decisions and sacrifice he wasn t capable of earlier in the novel, the intensity of the story and deeply moving elements deserved an equally satisfying ending The narrative draws to a close soon after but the final resolution is wrapped up so quickly, it lacks the fierce passion the story has built Since the story is unabashedly a romance and complicated love affair between two flawed men, the final two paragraphs are not enough to deliver the satisfaction I was hoping for That s not to say the ending is a disappointment just that after 375 pages even, I was hoping for emotional payoff Overall this is a lovely piece of historical fiction that is well written with nuanced prose, complex flaws, bold emotion, and intense passion Although nothing I ve said will be new to those who have read and loved the story, I hope new readers are convinced to give this epic love affair a try You truly won t be disappointed.

  6. says:

    This book is a captivating I could not let go of the characters The love between the two men is violent, total, intoxicating, demanding but also nurturing, tender, caring, pure It is simply amazing Secondary characters are great as well And I can t forget the words written by Kit for Nico Without the sanction of societyWithout the sanction of the churchWithout the sanction of GodI love youKit tried so hard to stop loving Nico who was so different from him, but he failed Nico tried so hard to forget Kit, but a wife and a child later, he still couldn t The connection between them is incredibly strong However, no matter how good the story was, I felt like it missed something transition Between an important even and the characters response to that event, there was nothing to prepare the reader. I would have liked the book to go into the head of the character and see what he thinks of the event, how it affects him, before his response to the event This missing step messed up the flow of the book But in spite of that, I was able to enjoy the book very much.

  7. says:

    The Phoenix begins in London, 1882, with the main character, Jack Rourke, a beautiful young Artful Dodger, straight out of Oliver Twist a delightful coincidence that Artful Dodger s name was Jack as well, which solidified young Rourke s boyish rogue image in my mind from the first scene.Jack and his twin, Michael, whose health is frail, are the sons of the demon in the flesh, Tom Rourke The boys, along with their mother, suffer brutality at the hands of the monster, which eventually leads to tragedy on a wide scale and sends the mother fleeing without her sons.As usual, no plot will I divulge but I will tell you that, early in the book, young Jack finally breaks under the strain of fear and hatred when his despicable, heartless father commits the inevitable crime that you WILL see coming And this even sets the boy s future into motion, not only propelling him to his life s ultimate course, but implanting the seeds of torment that follow Jack relentlessly throughout the novel And, as horrible as he is, this sadistic creature, Tom Rourke, is a corrupt thread that weaves deliciously in and out of the story, keeping me on edge with pure, palpable tension I, like Jack, wondered through the entire story is he a bad dream, or is he real One thing I DO have to reveal is that Jack is taken under the wings of a wealthy family, the St Denys, where he is pampered, educated, introduced to a life on the stage, and most importantly and most heart warming loved His name is changed to Christopher Kit St Denys, and he becomes a famous stage presence Beautiful, talented, cocky, confident, graceful, sexy.As a result of his nightmarish past, Kit enlists many lovers Partly for pleasure as he is quite the sexual aficionado and loves the sensuality of it all but mostly because he needs strong arms about him to ward off the taunting, merciless nightmares that trail him at night Desperation to escape these awful visions drive him into his relationships, not love.At this point, let me say I have, from the beginning of the novel, fallen in love with Jack Kit hopelessly in love Not only with his beauty, but his spirit of survival, the agonizingly wonderful goodness at his core that is so necessarily and carefully camouflaged by a jaunty nature.Having said that, I was ecstatic when my beloved Kit met and fell for Nicholas Stuart, the handsome, dark haired, blue eyed son of a God fearing Baptist family.Nicholas, Nick , is very devout, very sexually inhibited His first encounter with a man was a beautifully depicted, highly sensual, a very sexy portrayal of a young man s first brush with fornication Nick was struck motionless by the sight of Hugh with his trousers down around his ankles Other than babies he had never seen another human male naked Hugh was a wonder to behold When he did not move, Hugh fell to his knees, yanked Nick s trousers down, and fell upon him, gasping and rubbing hard against him, hard hot flesh against hard hot flesh Nick shut his eyes tight as the fiery pressure in his groin built up until he thought he would explode And he did He let out a raw moan just as Hugh yelled, Oh, St Peter in the pocket Thick wetness that was not his spewed over Nick s belly Hugh collapsed on top of him.I ll pause here to quickly say that I adore Sims presentation of sex scenes I can t put my finger on what makes them so arousing to me, as they certainly are not explicit, but quite controlled But the fervency that seems to break through the stitches of their very deliberate restraint makes them all the sensual Perhaps the tease, like the proverbial preacher s daughter flashing a thigh from beneath petticoats, or the peek of a man s taut belly when his shirt slips up you know, the titillation of the sensual hint which is sometimes a thousand times powerful than full frontal It works so well with Sims prose She IS that preacher s daughter with her wordage She DOES know the score, but has just the precise talent to deliver the whole show in a very abridged, very sexy version by a careful choice of words.Back to Nicholas.Here s where I will stray from my path of gushing to scratch my head and try to explain what my beautiful Kit saw in Nick, what made him so mad to have him, to keep him Polar opposite unadventurous Nick, adventurous Kit I could not, even by the time I d finished the book, answer that for myself.But Ah That, my friend, IS the answer The chilling, beautiful, makes my heart scream I know I know answer Do you see I don t have to know Kit has to know, not me.That very NOT knowing, to me, was the most powerful force in the book One of the reasons I beg for you to read it, one of the reasons I ll read it again and again.Because Sims proved, so eloquently, that love is just love Period It has no explanation, it doesn t have to, it never has, never will And, damn, that makes me walk on clouds.That is the key to any good book, any good character that we can love this character so much, that if he loves something, we re so invested in him that we will love it, too.We will gladly scour the world with Kit to connect with Nick every time they re separated We might not see what he sees, but he wants it so damn bad, we want him to have it It is THE thing that makes Kit whole, that makes him safe, makes him happy What is there Who are we to take that from him Me I love him so much at this point, I ll just throw myself off a bridge if Kit cannot have what makes him most content.Sims is this going to tell too much did throw one element into this story that made me tense Nick got married During this era, relations with the same sex were dangerous, but sex with the same sex who also happened to be married was simply impossible.And Nick s wife was a meek, cheerful, lovely young woman when she fell for him and married him They even had a child.Nick s unfaltering devotion to his Kit proved to be the knife that slowly turned in his wife s soul, turning her into a bitter, almost unrecognizable creature As I sympathized with her, at the same time I loved how Sims allowed her to transform into such hatred that it did not cause me to resent Kit as the dividing force in the marriage Sims presented the situation in such a way that I could not help but understand how helpless Nick was in trying to do the right thing Love, so deep in the heart, cannot die You can smother it with the pillow of wishful thinking, but it cannot be extinguished.The reference to the phoenix in the story is to a painting that Kit buys of a phoenix in flames The phoenix destroys itself in fire of its own making, then gives birth to itself again, endlessly He saw the painting, and immediately bought it, exclaiming, He s painted my soul, he whispered My very soul And, yes, by the time you ve parted with Kit, when you ve closed the book, you will know exactly what he means.One last thought Between Ruth Sims and me Listen, you brilliant author you I am on to you You have a pattern, and I have discovered it, blown your cover You have this unique talent for creating these characters who I should hate They are so damn cocky, so NOT perfect, I should thrash them about just to knock them down a notch or two I begin the book, I see so many things about them that I should loathe and, indeed, I DO try to not like them But those pesky little characters taunt me from the pages, smirking, hollering, Na na na na boo boo You do SO like me You LOVE me And go figure They re right I DO end up loving them In fact, I love them the moment I meet them, despite their annoyances, their bristling pride I picture myself like in the vintage Mark Twain movie where ol Mark walks off into the sunset with Huck and Tom.Me I m walking off into the sunset with MY new buddies, Kit and Nick Love you guys.Thanks for letting me meet them, Ruth.

  8. says:

    The Phoenix is a rather cute little book, albeit a little bit pretentious I will explain So essentially it s gay romanc fiction set in the 1880 spreading over decades, Kit is a former convict whom, like Pip in The Great Expectations, inherited a large fortune and a theatre business in which he is both the owner and the lead actor Nick on the other hand grew up in a small village and became a doctor to help the poor in urban ghetto Kit is a libertine who is looking for something different while Nick struggles with his Christian faith.Throughout the novel the characters come across various historical figures like Oscar Wilde for instance which some may say added to realism but I would say it made me cringe a little But as for the writing, it was rather good for a genre like this.

  9. says:

    Jack Sue Pretentious Maybe one day when I m running out of books in this genre.

  10. says:

    Traditionally, historical love stories are set against a backdrop of war or political intrigue think Gone With the Wind or any of Mary Renault s many epic novels As I m interested in culture than politics, I ve never been much of a fan of this literary genre That s why it was with surprise and delight that I discovered Ruth Sims s The Phoenix. This is a sweeping historical romance that plays out against the theatrical goings on of nineteenth century London and New York A veritable feast for the true culture maven The book s main story concerns the love affair between Kit St Denys n Jack O Rourke , a bright light on London s theatre scene, and Nick Stuart, a goodhearted doctor running a small clinic on the wrong side of town The reader watches each man painfully wrestle with the demons of his tormented past, Kit as the son of an abusive, alcoholic father and Nick the son of a fanatically religious small town doctor Acknowledging their forbidden love for one another is only one of the many complications that threaten their happiness They must also contend with the law, professional triumphs, financial setbacks, long separations, tumultuous relationships, personal loss, even a bout of insanity The novel, told in a compulsively readable, straightforward narrative style, is generously populated with engaging, believable characters some clever inventions, others real life denizens of the nineteenth century theatre scene I found Sims s detailed depiction of the Theatre Trust, a group that had a stranglehold on the fin de siecle New York theatre world, as particularly fascinating, in light of the parallels one can certainly find between it and the twenty first century s media conglomerates that all but control our modern airwaves As they say, the things change This is a book that s difficult to put down It s informative, romantic, tastefully sexy and just rollicking great fun Plus it has enough twists, traumas and surprises to keep even the most jaded reader on the edge of his seat The only fault I can find is that some of the book s many characters were not given enough face time nor were several of the secondary relationships fleshed out to my satisfaction For example, after the death of Nick s fanatical father, he is reunited with his mother from whom he was forcibly estranged We are only given a brief glimpse into her new life as a widow in London and her renewed relationship with her son before the story s focus shifts back to the uncertain fate of the romance between Kit and Nick But this complaint is only a testament to my interest in everyone and everything in the story All the characters and their lives held me in complete thrall Summer s coming, folks Definitely make room for The Phoenix in your beach tote this year.

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