Read The First Act by Vanessa Mulberry Online


April 1594. William Moodie thinks he’s in love with celebrated actor, Richard Brasyer. When Brasyer’s playing company, Goldfox’s Men, comes to town, William is only too willing to leave his country life for the opportunities of the theater and a life in London. Determined to become Richard’s apprentice, William seeks to impress his mentor with his acting—and please him inApril 1594. William Moodie thinks he’s in love with celebrated actor, Richard Brasyer. When Brasyer’s playing company, Goldfox’s Men, comes to town, William is only too willing to leave his country life for the opportunities of the theater and a life in London. Determined to become Richard’s apprentice, William seeks to impress his mentor with his acting—and please him in bed.Meanwhile, Richard struggles to escape his past as a spy and disentangle himself from the manipulations of his former master and ex-lover, Bennett Goldfox. Swearing off a relationship with his new apprentice proves difficult for Richard, as William uses all his youthful charms to seduce him. When Bennett’s life is threatened, Richard is lured back into the game for one final mission, and he and William travel to Cambridge to hunt down a list of traitors to the Crown.In the midst of danger and deception, Richard and William come to truly see each other, faults and all, and realize their feelings run deeper than either expected....

Title : The First Act
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781634777810
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 380 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The First Act Reviews

  • ~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
    2018-11-18 15:10

    I wanted to love this book. After all, it's a historical set in Shakespeare's time about an experienced "player" and his new apprentice, a farm boy who fancies himself in love with the acclaimed actor.This is a new author, and I can only praise the quality of the writing. The prose felt authentic, and the setting (the taverns, manners, and political intrigue of Elizabethan England) came alive. I can't fault the author's research or skill.Richard tries to resist William's advances. William is only 20, and his cousin is Richard's dear friend and partner in the acting company the men carry. But William is struck with lust and wants to prove himself to Richard in any way he can. Had the plot focused on Richard and William's budding relationship, I would have been a satisfied reader. But I felt like the relationship simmered on the back burner, with the spotlight going to Richard's love/hate relationship with his old master and former lover, Bennett. Bennett is a fascinating character, finely sketched and nuanced. I loathed him as much as I adored him, and I could understand the hold he had on Richard. Nearly halfway through the story, Richard returns to Bennett and finds pleasure in his body, even as he pushes William away. Richard doesn't trust Bennett, but he becomes embroiled in Bennett's games and manipulations. Nothing between the MCs feels settled until the last chapter, and even then the HEA is new and fragile. I expected more romance, more steam, more passion, and I didn't find it here.

  • Pianka *call me PIU*
    2018-10-21 10:08

    3.5 Stars“The First Act” is a historical m/m romance with a little bit of action and danger thrown in. I loved the writing and the depiction of the Shakespearean time but the romance lacked the passion or focus which I was kind of looking forward to. The MCs kind of get an HEA at the end but it happens quite late without any actual development of feelings. I found the romance as too immature without any solid/profound feelings to base on.William Moodie is besotted with Richard Brayser, a handsome and charming actor in the playing company, Goldfox’s men. William persuades his cousin, a co-share holder of the company to hire him as Richard’s apprentice. Richard has a reputation of corrupting his apprentices and William is all in to getting himself thoroughly debauched. But Richard is not the man William has thought him to be. Richard has secrets, which can get William killed. Also Richard is not free to give off his heart to his naïve apprentice when his old lover is still tormenting him by taking advantage of his feelings. William gets entangled into Richard’s one last mission and he has to do his absolute best to keep his man/master alive at all costs.The romance between Richard and William is a lot stunted as Richard is shown hung up on his previous lover, Bennett Goldfox. That man has always used Richard and even after he knows it, Richard can’t help but go back to him again and again. William’s feelings for Richard at the start is mostly lust which he thinks as love and the conversion from lust to love takes place within a matter of two day and I was not convinced at all.The plot of the story is nice and intriguing. It features sixteenth century espionage and the entire espionage part was very interesting and fast paced. Bennett Goldfox was at the center of it all. He is a very complicated character shrouded in mystery and deceit. Even at the end I could not determine if he had any real feelings for Richard at all. He manipulates Richard to carry out a task for him one last time. The mission was well detailed and nicely executed and was exciting to read.The romance is not developed enough in this story with the espionage taking up the entire focus. A more detailed relationship development for William and Richard would have been great. The conclusion/HEA felt rushed. I would not have minded if there were a few extra chapters to conclude the romance more smoothly. I felt that the dynamics of Richard and Bennett’s relationship was given more priority than the relationship between the actual MCs.The romance part is not that satisfying but I liked the sixteenth century setting and the detailed depiction of espionage at those times. I am not a very satisfied reader but I would look forward to this author’s future works.*This review has been cross posted at GayBookReviews*

  • CrabbyPatty
    2018-11-16 10:17

    Young William leaves his country life in Oxford to become an apprentice to actor Richard Brayser in London, the London of Queen Bess and Shakespeare, circa 1594. William had fancied Richard from the moment he saw him on the stage and is determined he can make Richard love him. But soon William finds himself involved in plotting and scheming much more dangerous than a simple matter of seduction.When reading the blurb, I was very intrigued by the premise. I'm a history nut (especially English history) and liked the setting of the story and the "bones" of its plot. However, for me the book did not live up to it potential. There is little chemistry between Richard and William, while the relationship between Bennett Goldfox (Richard's former lover and Master) and Richard seems much more interesting and believable. William in his callow youth does not measure up to Richard and Bennett's long relationship of love, loathing, spying and intrigue and there is a certain indefinable something about the two that begs further investigation. The pace of this story seemed very slow as William and Richard make plans that sound interesting, but (view spoiler)[ most of the intrigue can be summed up as William and Richard go to Cambridge to get a list and return to London to give it to Bennett. That's it. Bennett isn't sure if it's even the list he is looking for and there is a lot of talk about spies but nothing really happens.(hide spoiler)]. There is a hurried HEA ending that felt unsatisfying. If you like the time period, give the book a try, but I cannot recommend it.I received an ARC of this book from Dreamspinner Press in exchange for an honest review.Review also posted at Gay Book Reviews - check it out!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Lelyana
    2018-10-28 09:35

    I wish I can give this one more credit, more star. But.While the story is quite good. The main characters, especially Richard is shallow. Richard is too weak when it comes to Bennett, his ex lover that he, at the very moment after he met William, still craving for Bennett's 'attention'. And like William said, whoring himself to Bennett for five pounds.Richard keep coming back to Bennett, let Bennett manipulated him for his pleasures he called 'love'.I didn't see what's William saw in him except his handsome persona and his acting (?), not that he can make much money from that.William is definitely got a star struck in Richard. And Bennett didn't like it, and wanted him for himself.And Richard, he followed Bennett's game. Way too disappointed for a hero.There's so little romance and romantic time between William and Richard, lacking of romance irritated me big time.They've got their happy ending, but (yeah)...I'm still not sure that's love, especially on William's side.This is not what I expected from the blurb, love triangles is definitely not my forte.If it's yours, go for it.*I received the ARC from Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest and fair review. No high rating required.*

  • C.B. Archer
    2018-10-24 14:20

    Hey, look! Fan Art!!!This was a touching read that wasn't like other books in the genre. There was a lot of tenderness to the main characters in this book, and it reminded me of the starting book of some really fantastic series I have read with m/m elements. I don't like to brag, but I am a bit of a master of foreshadowing, it is like my mutant power, and it really felt like this was the start of a new series. It didn't say so in the book, but personally I think there will be more of Richard and William to come! It really felt like this to me, so I will be watching for... The Second Act, which is my guess at the name of book two which features more of the new relationship, and some more spy times!I thought the dynamics were good, even with a bit of a triangle going, it wasn't ham fisted and what would probably happen to real people. Also, Sam was my favourite. Yes, he wasn't in it that much, but I want more Sam please.And speaking of to come, thank you for not fading to black! Let's see more of that please!

  • Lena Grey
    2018-11-08 09:24

    “For me, life is like an act within itself. Everything I do is an act. Where I'm going is an act.” ~ Keith StanfieldWilliam Moodie of 'First Act' by Vanessa Mulberry loves to perform on stage. He also fancies himself in love with Richard Brayser, a famous actor, and will do almost anything to get to know him. William begs his cousin, Geoffrey, who works with Richard, to help him secure a place in their theater group. Geoffrey reluctantly agrees. When Richard throws out his apprentice for stealing, he replaces him with William. Out of respect for his cousin, Richard doesn't treat William like he did his former apprentice who was also his lover. Richard is determined to keep him out of his bed but William wants a chance to prove how much he loves Richard and how indispensable he can be and, hopefully, get Richard to love him back.Richard tries to cool William's ardor by telling him that he's not the person William thinks he is alluding to a tarnished past; but it doesn't work. William tells Richard that he loves him and is going to keep at it until his feelings are returned. At every turn, William keeps throwing himself at Richard to get, if not love, at least mutual sexual pleasure. After being treated so badly by his former master, Bennet Goldfox, Richard has sworn never to let anyone have that kind of power over him again but, in his heart, he still loves and despises Bennet at the same time. When Richard is called back to spy for Bennet once again, he goes. Although he intends to leave William at home, Bennet's underhanded scheming makes it impossible to do so.Even though from the country, William is not a bumpkin. He is smart, observant, and quite inventive when need be. He's young and naive, but knows how to improvise when he has has no experience to draw from, often impressing Richard with his ingenuity. William is also cheeky and stubborn and often will not take no for an answer without an explanation. He's impulsive, as twenty-year-olds often are, but, at times, he can be pragmatic. William has never done any spying, but he's up for it, actually intrigued and vaguely excited to be put in a situation involving subterfuge. William sees this as another opportunity to prove his worth and impress Richard. Honestly, he does not realize the intrinsic peril of the situation, but is very good at thinking on his feet and reacting immediately when he needs to do so.This is the introduction to a new series and, as such, has a lot of background information to impart, leaving less time for the actual romance. I love William and all his spunk and determination but am somewhat conflicted about Richard and can't feel their chemistry the way I expected. I'm hoping, as Richard opens up more to William, I will gain more insight into their relationship in the future and also hope for more romance. I enjoyed the portrayal of 16th century life particularly as it related to the stage productions. The descriptions were vivid and easy to picture in my mind. Thanks, Vanessa. I am looking forward to seeing what these two get up to next.NOTE: This book was provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review on Rainbow Book Reviews.

  • Martha H.
    2018-11-13 11:16

    I liked this book much more than Becoming Lord Drake's Lover (short story). Here I could really enjoy the author's style of writing and get into the story, which kept my attention the whole time. I did not have any qualms with the instalove aspect because William was starstruck and impatient, and Richard understood this. I also did not mind Bennett's sticking himself in the middle of things, because what else do exes do better than this?! The only thing that bugged me was the plot thickened and then flopped. Put me in mind of a Yorkshire pudding deflating. What was the list for?? What was the point of that Hobbes guy and his alchemy? Why was Darbye's name on the list? If it turns out there is a Second Act in the making and all this becomes clear, I will gladly return and change my rating to five stars. Would be nice to see Richard and William become regular Elizabethan spies ;-) PS poor Sam the costermonger, can someone throw a sympathetic dick his way?

  • Karen
    2018-11-02 07:32

    Originally posted at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue WordsSet in Elizabethan England, this is the story of how William, a young innocent country boy, schemes to win the love of the actor Richard Brasyer. Richard is older, worldly, somewhat jaded, and they come into contact when Richard's troupe is performing in Oxford while the plague rages in London. William is enraptured, intensely attracted to Richard, and convinces himself he is in love. Through a combination of whining and appealing to his vanity, William bulldozes his cousin (who happens to be co-owner of the troupe) into letting him join as an apprentice, and travels to London where he hopes to end up in Richard's bed. Twenty-four hours after arriving in London, that's exactly where William is. After Richard's previous apprentice is conveniently dismissed. Now William just has to seduce the older man, who vacillates between being irritated with how naïve William is, and lusting after his body. Their relationship is summed up in this quote:William had been in Richard's employ for several hours now, and already he was growing frustrated with the slow progress of their relationship.I mean, there's insta-love, and there's this. And of course, the attraction is purely physical on both sides, and the next two days find William throwing himself at Richard and being repulsed for various reasons, or deciding he's fed up with the whole thing and will go back to Oxford, but can't because he's just so in love, but really, Richard is not as good as William thought he was, but he still really wants to have sex with Richard, except when he doesn't. Oh my God, make up your frickin' mind! Richard of course does the same thing, alternating between admiring William and feeling that resisting him is futile, or wanting him to go home to Oxford because he's an irritating prat, or feeling that he is not worthy of William's devotion and must shelter his innocence from the big bad world, or some other repetitive hot and cold waffling.And then there's the spy aspect. Which basically just amounts to a little sneaking around. Finding whatever information they need usually takes about 30 minutes. The mastermind uber-spy, Bennett, is a silver fox who is an old lover of Richard's, who still exerts a fascination that Richard can't seem to walk away from, though there is some reason why he should. I never figured out what that reason was, other than lying to Richard, or having him followed for no particular reason. But what the hell, he's sexy, and is able to give it to Richard like no other man ever has, so Richard says yes, then no, then yes, then walks out, then can't make it past the bedroom door and goes back in, remembers he used to love Bennett, remembers that he actually loathes him now, remains conflicted but can see in Bennett's eyes that he's telling the truth this time, but actually he's lying again.... Just get it over with already!! I got the feeling that the author really wanted to write about some big cryptic conspiracy that would draw the MCs together via intrigue and danger, but what she actually did was pose some random vague mission about getting some list that was life or death to Bennett and the other spy masters for no particular reason. It was pretty boring. And the MCs are so inconsistent, so wishy-washy, and I felt absolutely no chemistry and frankly, didn't care if they got together or not. And the purple prose was a little too much, like these examples as William and Richard travel to Cambridge to track down the mysterious list:Take me tonight, I don't want to face danger without knowing what it felt like to have a man inside me.[My cock] will be hard all night and all day tomorrow, and it will distract me. Do you want me to die with this throbbing between my legs?I had to laugh, remembering how my husband used to describe trashy romances as “creamy thigh and throbbing member” books. Yep, this is one of those, just with two throbbing members. And admittedly I don't know a lot about Elizabethan England, but I don't think all these gay men were so open, and I just can't see two Shakespearean era actors rimming each other.

  • Natosha Wilson
    2018-11-17 12:14

    I have to admit that when I realized this book was written about historical times, I was honestly dreading reading it because there have been so very few historical books that I have been able to enjoy. Regardless I was not going to let that sway me from reading it because I am a firm believer in giving each book is fair chance. I am glad I do because this book turned out to be very interesting. It actually kept my attention once I started reading it and the further into it got the more I was held captive wondering what the ending would be.William in my opinion is a very smart individual even though when people look at him they think he is wide eyed and innocent because of his young age. I found that through reading about him that if he did not know something or how to best approach an issue, he became inventive with his approach to the lack of knowledge or he asked questions until he was able to come up with his own solution. William may be a farm boy by heart but he has skills that no one would expect from him and he is good with coming up with things off the top of his head at a moments notice. Even when he finds himself in a situation he has never been in, he has a way about him that helps others to find him relatable so therefore they put their trust in is being only an innocent, which is good for him in sticky situations that he finds himself in.Richard in my opinion is very jaded in views of others but with good reason. He put his love as a young man in the wrong hands and for years that has been used against him to do Bennett's biding. Even after all these years I think that Richard still seeks Bennett's love even though he will never get it and Richard is fully aware of that but still cannot resist Bennett. Bennett knows how to manipulate Richard to do the jobs that he wants Richard to do and he knows what to say in order to get Richard back into his bed.Those things start to change slowly after Richard meets William. Richard I bekeieve is intrigued with him from the moment he first meets him but keeps him at arms length, which is not a Richard like thing to do. Normally he will have a new apprentice in his bed as quickly as possible but there was something different in the way that Richard was towards William. Reality is that should have been an eye opener for Richard but like with most, it took a lot more time for Richard to realize his true feelings for William. It took Richard being in a dangerous situation and by association bringing danger to William also for Richard to evaluate who he would protect at all costs. Would it be Bennett or would it be William? This book had a lot of intrigue and suspense through out it. It was hard to figure out how Richard was going react to a situation and who his loyalty lies with. I found myself throughout this book wondering who Richard was going to chose and if he was going to keep pushing William to the background and keep choosing Bennett over him. The only thing I can say that I did not like about the book is the list. There was never any real explanation as to what the list was truly about and I felt there should have been more answers about this because that list played a huge part in this book. I felt like a key factor to this story was left out and that left me questioning why it was even in the book if there was not going to be more to the list and the questions surrounding it. I felt like Vanessa left out a major part of the story by not bringing the reason for the list to light for the reader. Too many questions left in my opinion about the importance of the list.Regardless this was a very interesting and intriguing read and I did enjoy it regardless of my first worries about it being a historical book. I enjoyed reading it and watching both William and Richard finding their way.Was given this galley copy for free for an open and honest review

  • Theodora IK
    2018-11-10 12:09

    3.5 starsAnother one that took me quite a long time to finish. Maybe it was caused by my lack of familiarity with the historical background and culture of the period (I stupidly misread the year in blurb when purchasing this book, it was 1594, not 1954, smh).Not a bad writing per se, but I had difficulty connecting with the story and the main characters.

  • Heloise West
    2018-11-18 12:22

    Well done, but I would have liked a little more setting and background.