The Lord Won’t Mind is the first book in a trilogy about Charlie and Peter. The story is meant as a juicy gay romance for “housewives.” I suppose in many ways it succeeds since the story is first and foremost extremely entertaining. There is lots of sex, instant love, a ton of drama and tears, and very stereotypical situations and attitudes befitting the time. The story offers a very superficial romance without the complexity and depth of its contemporaries. I wouldn’t necessarily call this gay literature, it’s a little too light and breezy, but depending on your expectations this classic may satisfy.
Although the blurb states that the two men are in an affair at their Ivy League college in the 60’s, this isn’t accurate. As much as I can tell the story takes place in the early 1930’s and not at an Ivy League college at all. The affair begins at Charlie’s grandmother’s wealthy summer estate and continues in the heart of New York City. For a very brief time Peter attends night classes at Columbia but this is very immaterial and nearly unimportant. The focus instead is on the two men as they navigate a relationship together when neither one really understands what to do or how to act.
Charlie is the main third person narrator, although the POV tends to shift from Charlie to Peter somewhat randomly at times. Supposedly Charlie is the telling the story as he states in the first person but due to his discomfort, he’s going to tell it in third person. Charlie meets Peter and the two fall instantly in lust and love. They spend a summer together playing, laughing, having sex, and enjoying their relationship while making plans to live together in New York. The attitudes in both the summer estate and in New York are very wealthy, very privaledged and often use what is now taboo language in referencing people.
The story treads heavily on Charlie and Peter’s relationship as they have sex and often fight. Peter wants a monogamous relationship and often seems naïve and innocent of repercussions. Both he and Charlie are rather flat one-dimensional characters that never grow or change very much. Peter almost comes close to changing but is drawn back into Charlie’s web too easily at the end to really affect any significant growth. Their relationship is based on companionship and sex and thus the story is an easy, breezy life of the wealthy whose main drama is in what family and friends think of them and their choices.
The writing tends to reflect this rather superficial tension and never delves into any appreciable depth to the characters or the story. There is plenty of conflict and drama, make ups and break ups, declarations of love and hate, and plenty of juicy sex. In many ways the story achieves its soap opera goal with all the expected entertainment and ridiculous antics. None of the characters are particularly likable and tend to wallow in delusion or self importance but they are all interesting and carry the story quickly from beginning to end. This isn’t necessarily a story to sink your teeth into and the setting details remain frustratingly vague (and likely inaccurate).
However, The Lord Won’t Mind is exactly as advertised “Outrageous, addictive, perversely sexy…the closet thing gay people have to the fat, juicy romance novels that housewives have been devouring for years.” The subsequent books, 2 and 3, turn into a ménage when Charlie takes a wife for the second time for those interested in more.