Read The Lord Won't Mind by Gordon Merrick Online

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In this first volume of the classic trilogy, Charlie and Peter forge a love that will survive World War II and Charlie's marriage to a conniving heiress. Their story is continued in One for the Gods and Forth Into Light....

Title : The Lord Won't Mind
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781555832902
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Lord Won't Mind Reviews

  • Dave1962uk
    2019-05-01 16:51

    I gave this book 5 stars as it was the first gay novel I had read that did not have the main character killed at the end. As a horny pent up 19yr old I used to love reading about the man to man sex, but this book also gave me something else, that relationships between gay men could be positive. Something that was not obvious to me in London in the early 80's.

  • Nikki
    2019-05-06 14:31

    This is a really quick read, though I confess I ended up skimming a bit. There's a lot of sex scenes and a lot of drama: if it weren't a popular early gay story it wouldn't mean very much, I think. But it was one of the earliest novels to feature gay characters who struggle with their identity and have a happy ending, and I was surprised at how quickly it got to that, too. Our sympathies are unequivocally with Peter and his desire for commitment, his passionate love for Charlie; while Charlie's struggles are treated with some understanding, it's not as though the narrative treats him as "in the right" for wanting to hide the relationship. In that sense, it's a celebration of queerness, of love (and yeah, sex) between two men, from a time when that was hard to find. No wonder it was popular.On the other hand, there's plenty of unpleasantness here -- domestic violence, Charlie wanting to hurt various women and sometimes Peter, racism, homophobia from a few characters, internalised homophobia on Charlie's part, etc. No matter how good it was for gay people to read a passionate love story for them at the time, there's a lot that's problematic and off-putting.And, frankly, for me the writing wasn't that good. Situations were contrived, there was a lot of repetition, and I didn't really believe in the sudden intensity of feeling from Peter -- Charlie's more grudging love was a little easier to believe in, but even so, they went into it at an amazing pace.Still, it's kind of fun in a trashy way, and it is nice to have that happy end.

  • Ted
    2019-05-19 12:38

    “The Lord Won’t Mind” is a peculiar but entertaining novel. Gordon Merrick writes of the all-consuming pre-War love between two young men from respectable families both of whom put Adonis to shame. God’s gift to beauty, they even look alike. A possessive, overbearing grandmother introduces the younger Peter to her beloved 23yo grandson Charlie. She has mentoring in mind, but the two men fall instantly in love. But this is the early 1940s, right before World War II, an era in which being openly gay is taboo – unless you’re in the big city and into theater or something. Despite their ever-present hardons, Charlie is in denial about his true sexuality. He doesn’t consider his love for Peter to be “queer.” 19yo Peter, on the other hand, embraces this his first-ever love with complete openness and ardor. That’s about the first 100 pages -- one steamy sex scene after another. Pulp fiction gay romance? That’s what I was thinking at this point. But after Charlie and Peter’s relationship is indelibly established, the plot thickens. I got hooked. This novel is not only about forbidden love in the 1940s but about ideal beauty, self-awareness, the role of power in a relationship, and who you can trust. It also says a lot about the place of African Americans at the time, peripherally.As far as his writing, Merrick’s use of ellipsis can be a little off-putting at times, i.e. jumping ahead too quickly. He’s perfectly comfortable with the usual slang terms relating to sex, like the “f” word. Yet he consistently uses the word “sex” to refer to the penis. I found this somewhat annoying, I’m not sure why. And his writing can be rather stilted and mawkish: “He felt consumed, absorbed, penetrated, possessed beyond the possibility of his own identity’s survival. It was an oblivion he had sought and dreamed of.” “Peter stepped forward and his sex rose to complete its erection.”“His sex reared up and grew under his knowledgeable touch and locked into rigidity.”“Hattie had one reading that made everybody stir slightly with sounds of amusement.”

  • Suzanne Stroh
    2019-05-13 20:35

    Launching the Peter and Charlie trilogy, this incredibly entertaining and seriously sexy novel about cousins falling in love was too hot to handle for publishers for years after they were written from 1959-1961, and they're first rate. The series is a genre-bender that crosses over from literary-quality erotica to romance. It's never cheesy. Nor is it precious. And when the scene calls for (a) hot sex or (b) character/plot development, you can pretty much guarantee it'll be hot sex. Even so, these are much better written than the gay "potboilers" that Merrick churned out for pulp readers. Warning, readers: Merrick's other books don't compare to these three.And then there's the ick factor. No, I don't mean that ick factor. I mean bigotry. Expect all the prejudices of the era in this coming-of-age story set in upper class America (mostly New York) before World War II. The offensiveness level is on par with Herman Wouk's Don't Stop the Carnival, which might be why the two books live together on my bookshelf. Bottom line: the highest enjoyment here is the sex writing. If you don't think you'll like reading great scenes of off-the-charts gay male sex, then you might give this a miss. If you're on the fence, go for it. I think Merrick may be the best erotic writer that ever was. You're in for a wild lusty ride punctuated by a juicy, compelling tale of WASPS in love during a repressive era.

  • Kim
    2019-05-25 19:34

    This book was a mess in so many ways. Smutty, racist, sexist. I understand it was groundbreaking for its time and the racism was surely realistic given the time period of the novel. However, the misogyny was really hard to take and, in my opinion, unecessary to the story of the two main characters.

  • Kassa
    2019-04-26 13:42

    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.

  • Gerhard
    2019-05-20 15:23

    The writing is purpler than an enflamed sunset, but one can see why Gordon Merrick’s lurid, sex-and-histrionic soaked gay potboiler spent months on The New York Times bestseller list when unleashed on an unsuspecting world in 1970.I read this reissue from Open Road Media with guilty pleasure, furtively in instalments over an extended period, as it is such a heady concoction of heightened lust and drama that the book threatens to overwhelm one’s sensibilities. (How different this is compared to contemporary, post-AIDS, gender and socio-politically-correct gay lit).Some Goodreads readers have commented on the illicit joy of discovering Merrick in their schooldays. Well, if I had got my grimy paws on this book while in my teens, I would have bolted out of the closet as if attached to a springboard.Tucked away among the melodramatic excesses of the plot is a careful account of a young gay man’s sexual edification. There is even straight sex, interestingly told from the (rather squeamish) point of a gay man. And cock-biting. But let’s not dwell on that too much.While Merrick’s racial and gender politics leave a lot to be desired, Peter does has a fling with a black man (“ooee white boy”) he meets in a den of inquity in Harlem. It is especially interesting that even in this pre-gay rights era, Merrick almost instinctively links gay equality to universal equality in terms of both race and gender.Such lofty ambitions aside, this is probably the closest we will ever get to a gay version of a Jackie Collins novel. I think a lot of readers will share in poor Peter’s cock-struck introduction to the vicissitudes of gay life.What also struck me is that, despite the novel’s innocence, a lot of the relationship problems that Charlie and Peter bump into are as relevant today as they were in the 1970s. In particular, the character of Walter is beautifully evoked, lurking behind his paintings and his wealth, living vicariously through the twinks and tricks he surrounds himself with.Some critics have argued that Merrick (perhaps unwittingly) instigated the cult of narcissism that continues to plague gay identity to this very day. While it is perhaps true that Charlie and Peter are too much of a perfect poster couple, it is so refreshing to read about such a couple, and to root for them through all their, er, ups and downs. And to have a happy ending! Golly, as Peter would say.

  • Susan
    2019-04-27 20:33

    Warning: Spoilers throughout.If I could give this book zero stars I would. I understand that this was a shocking bestseller in 1970 and that it was hailed by many for showing a homosexual relationship that didn't end in tragedy. Maybe 45 years ago it was the Fear of Flying for the gay community. And now M/M romance is a hot commodity, so why not re-release it? Well, how about misogyny, racism, sexual violence and completely contemptible characters as a good reason for this book to stay buried? Maybe Peter isn't too bad (although he is a complete doormat who throws over a perfectly decent guy) but Charlie Mills is just about the most odious man I have encountered in years. He seduces Peter, promises to love him forever, dumps him unceremoniously when his horrible grandmother threatens to disinherit him, rapes and beats his wife, then come crying back to Peter when he's in trouble. Even at the very end, he's ready to lie to his grandmother about his true feelings towards Peter until she forces him to confess all. At the novel's conclusion he has learned nothing, accepted absolutely no responsibility for his actions, and yet somehow the reader is supposed to be glad that he gets a happy ending. And there are two more books in this series? No thanks. I'm sorry that readers who were interested in M/M novels back in the 1970s had few other choices besides this book, but thank goodness there is an embarrassment of riches of well-written M/M romance in the 21st century. I don't mind flawed MCs, but reprehensible ones beyond redemption like Charlie and ugly wall-bangers like this book should never again have seen the light of day.

  • Gary Cantara
    2019-04-26 19:44

    I really don't remember this book very well, so I give it a neutral, smack in the middle rating. I read this novel as a horny teenager in high school. I do remember that it was quite sexy. But it did cause problems in the family. My mother was a very religious woman, though not much of a reader. None of my books had ever been in danger of her perusal; my mother had zero interest in the written word, unless it came from the Bible. But then she stumbled about this Merrick novel. The title made her think it was religious. Boy was she ever in for a shock. LOL, she burned the book. From that moment on, I had to be careful about what texts I brought into the house.

  • S.A.
    2019-04-28 19:30

    Wow, there I was scribbling tales of gay romance, thinking I was a freak. Imagine, this was 1978, I was 18 and female.Then I discovered Gordon Merrick and suddenly I felt much more grounded, happy, thrilled, pick a happy adjective and that was me. Granted I still felt a little freaky but not so alone.

  • Carlos Mock
    2019-04-29 15:44

    The Lord Won't Mind by Gordon Merrick - First book in the trilogyPeter Martin is coming to visit Charlie Mills in the family's country house in New Jersey. Charlie's grandmother, Armira Barton Collinge - C. B. - has arranged it. Soon they are in love. Charlie is older: he has just finished college (Princeton) and is about to start a job in New York City the next fall. Peter is nineteen, just graduated from high school and was supposed to start West Point in the fall. C. B. wants Peter to go to Princeton, so she's counting on Charlie to dissuade him from entering the armed forces. "Friendship is much more important to a man than marriage. A man can never be friends with his wife." So she's very happy to hear that Peter wants to go to Columbia instead. The boys have decided since they are going to be together forever, Peter will move to New York and attend Columbia while Charlie works for the publishing company C. B. has arranged. C. B. suggest that they move in together in Charlie's apartment in Manhattan. As summer ends and they move to New York City, the idyllic relationship runs into trouble. Charlie has problems dealing with his sexuality and starts dating Harriet (Hattie) Donaldson. Peter is too busy with school and too tired to be with Charlie. As Peter comes out to C. B. Charlie kicks him out of their apartment and decides to marry Hattie. All of Charlie's actions are done to please C. B. and to make sure he doesn't lose her allowance. Peter survives the streets by having sex with men who give him presents, which he sells for money. Until he meets the millionaire eccentric Walter Pitney, who sets him up with a large sun of money and an apartment. Peter falls in love with a successful lawyer, Timothy (Tim) Thornton. But Hattie figures out Charlie's true nature and they fight. In a night of rage, Hattie bites off Charlie's dick and Charlie in turn beats up Hattie. Charlie runs up to Peter who has to save him from his demons. A reconciliation that has been long overdue happens. The book is a fun read, addictive, sexy - the closest thing to erotica that the 70's allowed. During most of Merrick's life, homosexuality was still viewed in the American culture as a moral outrage. Editors and film censors demanded that gay men be depicted objectionably, and that gay relationships end tragically in literature and on film. Merrick, however, wrote stories which depicted well-adjusted gay men engaged in romantic relationships. He even made them have a happy ending....The book is told from the third person point of view; however, Merrick uses the first person point of view both at the beginning and at the end as to make the book "autobiographical." His point of view is interchanged many times between Peter and Charlie to the point that sometimes it is hard to know who is doing the narrating. The book deals with race in the forties. C. B. wants to keep Charlie celibate because the family has black blood and she doesn't want the world to know about it. C. B. thinks that African Americans are: "...like children or very nice animals. It's a scientific fact that their craniums are smaller than ours." When Charlie walks up to a party in Harlem, his blood raises because white men and "Negroes" are sharing the same space, even touching each other. Misogynistic episodes also abound the book. When Charlie exposes himself to Betty Pringle, the male club members fault her for doing so because Charlie had a reputation of being well endowed. Hattie, who uses a diaphragm, wants a career, will sleep with men to get it, and says she'll marry several times does not have a good ending. When Charlie beats up Hattie, her family forces her to keep quiet because it would ruin her reputation if it were to become public. For that matter, none of the women do. C. B., for all her independence, ends up alone and miserable. Exposed for what she is: a manipulative bigot.Love is treated like a commodity that you can trade as easily as stocks. After one sexual encounter, Peter and Charlie are declaring their love for each other and promising eternal faithfulness - not to mention that they are willing to move in together. After one sexual encounter, Charlie trades Hattie for Peter and marries her. Peter falls for Tim, but as soon as Charlie comes back, it's back with Charlie. Homosexuality is dealt through the characters. it is through Charlie's anguish that the reader catches a glimpse of Merrick's interest in the problems the gay male experiences establishing an identity. Charlie's socially imposed resistance is in contrast to Peter's childlike innocence. When Charlie eventually throws Peter out and marries a Hattie to protect his reputation, every reader, straight or gay, can detest his duplicity and weakness, but must also empathize with the situation that Charlie has had forced upon him by the intolerant society of the times. As Charlie works through the aftermath of the violence with Hattie, he slowly comes to realize that honesty and self-acceptance are the only way out. Merrick presents this self-isolation as a necessary first step on the road to self-realization. Then there is Walter Pitney. Here Merrick presents one side of "older" gay: the one who's very rich but is unable to "love," one who's unable to have physical intimacy. A wonderful study of society in the late forties: especially on its views on race, love, homosexuality, and women. A good read!

  • Love Bytes Reviews
    2019-04-30 18:44

    4 Heart Review by DanI want to start by saying there are words and situations in this book which some might find highly offensive. I’ve included some of them in my review below for examples. They are by no means words I would ever utter.How do you do a review on a book that spent 16 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list when it was published in 1970? I remember the first time I saw this book in a book store in Manhattan in 1980. I had to have it, lurid cover and all. If any of you remember the original paperbacks, they were obviously about gay men, as you can see from the original paperback cover that I put in below. Only problem, I was in the Navy, stationed at Brooklyn Navy Yard and read the book in my open bay barracks hiding that damn cover! As a 19 year old gay kid, this book was a huge eye opener for me. It was a romance, but with gay guys!The Lord Won't MindSo, those sayings about how you can’t go back are really true in this case. I remember being enraptured the entire time I read this book and the other two in the trilogy 35 years ago (boy do I feel old now). I definitely would have rated it 5 stars if I’d been reviewing back then.The Lord Won’t Mind was written sometime in the 1960’s and published in 1970. It was a very important work for its time. America was in the middle of a social and sexual revolution. Remember that in late June 1969, the Stonewall Riot occurred. Police in 1969 were still arresting gay men and lesbians in the US. Along comes Gordon Merrick, who not only writes a smutty book about gay men, but sets it 30 years before then in 1940. And even worse, he had the bad taste to be one of the first, if not the first, author to give the queers a happy ending. Prior to this, queers were allowed in books and movies, but they always had to be miserable, die alone, and always die before the end of the book or movie. Sad pathetic little men were what homosexuals were portrayed as prior to this.Charlie Mills is a spoiled rich kid. He has always been his grandmother C.B.’s favorite and has never wanted for anything. He spends summers with her in her coastal summer home, hangs out at the country club, etc., etc. All that changes one year when C.B. introduces him to Peter Martin, some sort of distant relative. The two young men fall in love instantly, and forbidden sexual activities soon abound on the third floor of C.B.’s home. The insta-love that many people don’t like in today’s m/m fiction has it base somewhat in historical fact. Many men fell in love with the first man they slept with. To actually find someone who shared your desires was wonderful. So it isn’t really a surprise that it was portrayed that way in this book.I had remembered the books with the proverbial rose tinted glasses. I had forgotten how much angst there was in the story. Charlie’s denial of his homosexuality. The bitter split between the men. The violent relationship between Charlie and his wife of convenience, particularly that one scene that had guys cringing in sympathy. I had also forgotten that this book was written as a historical drama set in 1940, when homosexuality was an offense you could be dragged off the street and sent to jail for. Finally, most importantly, I’d forgotten how people spoke, and the words that were commonplace then that wouldn’t be in a book today. Queer, Faggot, Queen and Fairy you still hear in 2015 from the unenlightened, and some younger LGBT individuals actually prefer the word Queer although us older gay guys shudder. But words like Darkie, Nigger, Nigra, and Monkey, being used by white people to describe black people, as well as the “commonly known fact” that black people had smaller brains and were more “simple”, have thankfully for the most part fallen to history in most parts of the US. C.B.’s huge scandalous family secret that she finally reveals to Charlie near the end of the book, today would be a “so?”.Now…how do I sum up this rambling? I recommend this book, but recommend it more as a view into where we’ve been. I think the book is important for its place in gay history, so I’m rating it 4 love bytes because of what it is. Don’t read it as you would a modern m/m romance novel. It is a romance of sorts, but filled with denial, angst and dark times. I had originally intended to re-read all three of the books in the trilogy, but after finishing this one I’ve decided that one trip down memory lane is enough for me at this point. As I said above, in 1980 I would have given the book a 5.0. In 2015, it doesn’t come close to some of the great books I’ve read over the last few months. Sorry if I’ve tarnished anyone else’s memory of the book! :-)This book was provided free in exchange for a fair and honest review for Love Bytes. Go there to check out other reviews, author interviews, and all those awesome giveaways. Click below.

  • BookLuva28
    2019-05-11 14:45

    The novel is definitely erotically charged, without it being overtly done. For it's time, it was obviously very contraversial, not only because of the guy on guy coupling and the steamy sex scenes but also the hard to ignore prevalent racism. I'll admit, I winced a couple of times with the racial slurs. But given the time it was written let alone published, it's very honest in it's blatant view of what it was like in that time. With that being said, I'm glad I read the book the way it was supposed to be read, without the glory of PC editing.

  • Taylor Snyder
    2019-05-15 12:52

    This book can be summed up in one word, PHENOMENAL. It is a simple story with undertones similar to the well known film, "Brokeback Mountain." Yet the story is a period piece told from the view of the wealthy elite of our society. The description is so passionately charged it will move you to laugh, cry and turn away from the book (as you would a movie) when it gets too violent. A great read.

  • Dave Ballance
    2019-05-27 14:26

    Read this book when I was a high school kid in a small southern town. I had to hide it in my room so my mom wouldn't see it. It was a blessing at the time to be able to read about feelings I had and didn't understand. Just to know that someone had actually written a novel about two men in love was so great to see at that time in my life.

  • Kathy Orr
    2019-05-16 19:25

    There were so very few "gay" novels that you could walk in and buy from you local chain bookstore. It was not the bet writing, but it was good compared to what was out there at the time. A lot of stereotypes, but it did venture forth a few newer sentiments.

  • Michael
    2019-05-19 14:44

    What nonsense. Sort of a gay-lit Gone With the Wind: a "classic" that's morally objectionable by contemporary standards and has really never been anything but good period-piece trash. I was riveted.

  • Mia
    2019-05-10 18:25

    Rarely do I encounter a book in which I loathe and/or roll my eyes at literally every character, but this one managed it. As I was reading, the title "the insidious, the loathsome and the stupid" often came to mind (other adjectives like frustrating, naive, ridiculous also came to mind from time to time).If I wasn't aware of the context of the book and its history, I would probably have rated it a two and double-checked if I wasn't reading a fanfic or something of the sort (though, to be fair to fics, a lot of them are better written). So, I begrudgingly forgave it for the period-typical racism and homophobia, and the misogyny - and that's a lot to forgive at the start. What I simply couldn't digest in its entirety was the domestic violence which seemed to have been dismissed with the wave of the hand, the baffling speed with which the romance "progressed", the lack of any real character development throughout and the lousy writing. As for the first point, apart from all the sex (which - kudos - for the time it was written wasverygraphic and gutsy) and them both looking alike (gorgeous, of course), I saw no reason for the connection between Charlie and Peter. Why were they in love? Why was it such a live-or-die situation? None of this was shown to the reader, it was merely stated by the characters and it was difficult to suspend one's disbelief throughout. Peter was the only character who might have had a semblance of psychological realism - he was young, it was his first time, you can chalk a lot of his zeal and melodramatics down to inexperience, and he was also the one whose arc had some sort of growth, if that's what you'd call it. As for Charlie, I'd maintain that - apart from his decisions being completely random and irrational - he remained a selfish prick throughout. I'm not without a heart - I did try to take the mores of the time into consideration when judging the way he was written (auto-homophobia, misogyny, alcoholism, racism et al.), but it seemed like such a cartoonish depiction that nope, I didn't manage. This makes me sad, as I think it was a wasted opportunity: since he was the "3rd person" narrator, Merrick had the chance to delve deeper into his motivations and psyche and show us what ultimately led to his change of heart. No. Such. Luck. This makes the happy ending - for which the book became popular - turn sour for me, as I suspect Charlie would not have come to the realization he did had his "vanity" not been "damaged". Circling back to the start of this mini-rant, he remained a selfish prick.And then the last, but not the least (or perhaps yes, certainly the least) - the writing. My Golly, as Peter would say. It was so over-the-top in places I almost reached the point of seeing through my ears, my eyes rolled as much inwardly. Especially, the lovey-dovey stuff between the two protagonists - starting from an hour after they met - was extremely difficult to believe. There weren't many flourishes to the prose, not one sentence where I went - "This is a great turn of phrase. I'd like to remember it." That's what it boils down to, all in all. It was simply utterly forgettable. That said, Ididfinish it and found myself even beginning to enjoy some parts before it inevitably quickly reverted to the ridiculous. Peter's arc was mildly interesting. Though there wasn't much of an atmosphere of pre-War US, my mind filled in the gaps and I liked thinking about the New York of that time and pondering the burgeoning gay and jazz subcultures. The sex scenes were adequately racy, and there were moments of sweetness dispersed throughout the book that made me go "Aww." I've given many a book three stars for less, so there.

  • Mark
    2019-04-26 20:32

    OK, so finally I get round to writing up a review of this book. I normally like to have the book available, to check references, quotations, etc. but following remodelling building work on my home, the book is packed away somewhere, along with all my others, in the depths of my garage, under 14 years of possessions. The place is decorated throughout in authentic 1970s style - the stage is set but so far, with pressure of work, etc. I haven't had the chance to start to dress it!Anyway, on to the book...I came across one of Gordon Merrick's books on ebay and have to admit to being seduced by the cover; a hyper-real, homoerotic masterpiece. A little internet research came up with the observation that, "If Barbara Cartland and Jacqueline Susann had a gay love child, it would be Gordon Merrick." Well that was good enough for me! Without waiting to actually see what the books were like, I quickly set about finding and buying the whole collection, just for the covers. But, in the words of the well-known song, "Let's start at the very beginning..." so The Lord Won't Mind was my starting point.It certainly sounded like a right old romp. The blurb goes, "...the completely honest and sensitive story of a young Princeton man named Charlie, and his beautiful friend Peter - their first meeting, their discovery of each other, and their turbulent and happy love affair in the dazzling, sophisticated worlds of theatre and publishing in new York. Charlie eventually throws Peter out and marries a woman to protect his reputation. Charlie’s wife later suspects his homosexuality, and perpetrates a horrific act of revenge on her husband..." Gripping stuff! And what could this horrific act of revenge be? In I dived.I wasn't expecting much, to be honest. Written in the 1970s, I assumed it would be dated and irrelevant, (so many books, read decades ago are remembered with affection but on re-reading with the benefit of maturity, turn out to be disappointingly dull - Robert A. Heinlein's The Puppet Masters being a case in point,) but it promised to be lurid and melodramatic. I wasn't prepared for what I found.Sure, it had idiosyncrasies, such as a vaguely annoying habit of referring to the penis as "his sex", (which on the other hand was quite endearingly innocent, juxtaposed with the no holds barred descriptions of sex acts.) Other reviewers have picked up on themes of racism and misogyny, which I have to say eluded me. Perhaps I simply accepted the world in which the book was set, a kind of up-market American South atmosphere of old money, where "negroes" were treated as if they were unfeeling functionaries and should be neither seen nor heard, unless they were doling out good old Uncle Tom wisdom, with a "Lordy it's a wonder!" (In this case, the quote, which provides the title, “I say, if it’s love, the Lord won’t mind. There’s enough hate in the world.”) Perhaps I'm just too attuned to this portrayal, through films of the '40s and '50s, (Imitation of Life anyone?) for it to register as shocking.As for the misogyny, hey! a nasty piece of work is a nasty piece of work and Charlie's pretty much of a b*stard himself! And it has to be said that it does exist to a certain degree in the Gay milieu - and it works both ways. I remember going to gay Pride one year, (many moons ago,) setting off from my flat to walk to the coach pick-up, I hooked up with a guy I recognised from the clubs and a couple of lesbians, likewise. We walked together, laughing and joking in the early morning sunshine and chatted together while we waited for the coaches to turn up. When they did, naïve little me assumed we'd pile on a coach together, but no, the two girls headed straight for the "Wimmin only" coach. I have rarely felt so insulted.Anyway, the book... Far from being the dusty, quaint period piece that I expected, it had me engrossed and I found the themes that it dealt with as pertinent today as then. Charlie is crazy about Peter, but once his sexuality is awakened, Peter's wings unfurl and he turns into a proper, camp Mary. Charlie is uncomfortable with this and with Peter's determination to be openly intimate with him. Think that's a dated concept? Just take a look at the gay dating sites and notice the number of "straight-acting", (whatever the hell that means - I've known Gay men who you wouldn't in a million years suspect and straight men who were among the campest I've known,) together with the instruction, "If you're camp don't bother - no offence but it just doesn't do it for me!" It's still an issue that's very much alive. And despite having equal marriage now, I don't see a stampede of gay couples moving into Suburbia or walking along the canal tow path, hand in hand. It is still an issue to be considered, just who you tell, or how openly you live.You see, Charlie passes for straight and when his grandmother manipulates Peter into exposing their relationship and threatens to disinherit him, Charlie rejects Peter and takes up with a woman, whom he assumes will be satisfied with a superficial marriage of "convenience". Admittedly he treats her abominably, as she realises how far his relationship with Peter went, going so far as to rape her, (but come on, who watched the TV adaptation of The Forsyte Saga starring Damian Lewis and didn't think that Irene got what she deserved, and I'm talking my female work colleagues here!) It is then that she enacts her horrific revenge. Well it would be horrific, if you could stop laughing! Melodramatic doesn't cover it, (and practically neither do the bandages that Peter applies, so prodigious is Charlie's "sex").True love wins out in the end, however, although you get the impression that it is more of an uneasy truce than a complete rapprochement. And with two further books in the series, you can bet there's plenty more explicit sex and much more drama to come.All in all, I reckon Barbara Cartland crossed with Jacqueline Susann is just about right - from Barbara Cartland, the physical beauty and perfection of the hero and, er, hero and the sudden and profound love, ("...that comes from God and is part of God and was theirs for Eternity for this life and for their many lives together that were yet to come,") and from Ms Susann, the lurid melodrama, plumbing the depths of the human psyche. A ruddy good read and surprisingly fresh and relevant, allowing for its age and idiosyncrasies. Seductive as the cover was, it's captured the book bob on!

  • Reader
    2019-04-30 12:44

    Very sweet that books like this existed in the 70s. That said, even sweeter to discover Charlie's 'family secret'. I was laughing my head off. Gosh, but Mr. Merrick wrote a very wonderful story.Two youths fell in love. One innocent enough to not realize men should not proclaim their love for each other in 'good company'. The other knew it is best to hide such love -better yet- deny all together he's even a homosexual. What follows is just the kind of stuff that makes one wants to strangle society.

  • Walford
    2019-05-04 16:43

    Read this At Least 45 years ago and it meant so much to me because it was My First (m/m romance that is). Back in the late sixties there was so little to help a gay teenager imagine adult life. Most of the gay fiction around then made me feel like I was Doomed. But This gave me hope for a Really Hot Grand Passion. Thank you Gordon Merrick! And how did you get this published as a Mass Market Paperback and distributed everywhere so I could find it? Miraculous.

  • Adam King
    2019-05-16 18:41

    There's a beautiful, if painful story here, of a love forged against some odds. And there's a ton of racism, particularly seen through the eyes of millennials. I understand this was first published in 1970, but darn it, it is tastelessly racist in places, like the '70s I believe, funny.

  • Michael
    2019-05-22 13:23

    Reading Challenge 2017: book about an interesting woman. This is also a reread from yesteryear as I read it when it came out in 1982. My perspective now makes gives me the feeling of reading a Fitzgerald novel with erotic scenes. Charlie meets Peter through his grandmother C.B. who almost forces them to be together, even though she does not approve of it. It is a boy meets boy, boy leaves boy and gets married to a psychopathic theater girl, boy becomes rent boy, and then they end up together. There is a surprising twist involving C.B.'s real father (it has to do with a plantation) that makes the lovable woman almost as much as a lunatic as Charlie's wife Hattie. I guess this is a book about two interesting women, from a psychological viewpoint. One thing that bothered me was where did all the money come from that everyone seemed to manifest out of thin air. C.B. was rich. Hattie's parents were rich. Even Walter, an art collector who literally wanted to own Peter simply tossed $50K away like it was nothing. All this pre-World War II. This is book one of a trilogy that I plan to read this year. Three decades after the initial reading, I found it quaint but out of place today.

  • Jon
    2019-05-12 20:27

    Excellent -- thought-provoking and entertaining.

  • Alysa H.
    2019-05-08 14:24

    Anthropologically, this is one of those books -- like James Barr's Quatrefoil -- that is important to an understanding of the psychology of a certain generation of gay men. That's not to say that characters in one book by one author should be taken to represent of a large number of real people -- they should not! -- but only to say that many elements in this book do represent well-known erotic tropes from its time (as well as more timeless and universal tropes, in some cases), and there are plenty of societal obstacles for the ostensible heroes to overcome. In the hands of the right readers at the right time, I can see why this book gave hope to many a closeted gay teen who needed assurance that A) a happy romantic ending was possible for them someday, and B) there was a secret demimonde out there somewhere, where they could be accepted (and also find plenty of cock).That being said, reading this ultimately provoked in me a sentiment similar to that of another reviewer, Michael: "A 'classic' that's morally objectionable by contemporary standards and has really never been anything but good period-piece trash. I was riveted."Many of the sexual scenes in the first half read like total wank fantasy with little basis in realistic sexual response or human anatomy. Fair enough. There's a lot of random Filthy Rich People Bestowing Unearned Wealth Upon Beautiful Blond Boys. Fair enough. The main problem is that Charlie is basically an irredeemable asshole. I spent most of the book trying to figure out if the main narrative voice (an older Charlie thinking back on his youth) is judgmental of this assholery, but in the end it proves that it is not, because its ultimately more important for Charlie and Peter to have their happy ending than it is for Charlie to be punished for things like rape, wife-beating, racism, snobbishness, narcissism, etc. Poor Peter should have chosen Tim when he had the chance. They could have had their own happy ending. I also really liked Hattie, once I got past the way that Charlie saw her and read between the lines to see a strong and confident woman.If only Peter had been the true main POV and not Charlie. ANYONE but reprehensible Charlie!But yeah: "Trash. I was riveted."I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley.(2014 Open Road Media edition)

  • Aleardo Zanghellini
    2019-04-29 17:24

    Not a great literary achievement, but, despite some reservations, I found it very enjoyable. The copy I have has a delightfully trashy cover, which set the tone for the beginning of the book, which is choke-filled with sex, oversized penises and male narcissism. It all seemed rather silly to begin with, but I found the quality of the story and dialogue to improve as I went on (even seemingly gratuitous details - such as Charlie’s XXXL penis - have their raison d’etre, it turns out). Indeed, as I read on I felt there were moments when the insight into the main characters’ psychology momentarily lifted the book to the level of literary fiction. There are a number of unpalatable things happening in the story. The main character, Charlie, is no role model, and remains deeply flawed until the very last pages of the novel. He is ridden with prejudice, all too inclined to violence (and that includes a couple of horrid episodes of sexual violence against women), weak and inconstant. Similarly, his grandmother is racist, homophobic, patronising, and manipulative. That the author somehow manages to build up such characters and still make you care for them (sometimes despite yourself) provides evidence of decent literary talent, at least on that score.I read some reviews that argue that the book shows the prejudices of its era. I think that remark misses the point. For starters, those prejudices are still with us, even if their expression today is (thankfully) less widely acceptable. Besides, it’s not quite clear to me that the author condoned Charlie’s behaviour or prejuduces. Indeed, at the very beginning of the novel an aged (we must assume) Charlie, as he prepares to recount his story, deliberately chooses to speak in the third person to distance himself from his former (somewhat despicable) self. My main reason for enjoying the novel is that I found the love story relatable. Personally, if I were Peter, I would have stayed with Tim rather than go back to Charles, but that is beside the point. The point is that here you have men liable to fall head over heels for each other (at first sight, too), and serious about making it last. Not too bad, for a change.

  • Jarrod Scarbrough
    2019-05-01 17:49

    This story and I have quite the history. After coming out during my high school years in the 90's, I visited a lovely LGBT bookstore in Albuquerque, NM by the name of Sisters and Brothers (years later, I cried rivers the day that store went out of business), and purchased this, my first ever gay book! It sounded like an exciting romance novel, plus the historical aspect of the story and its publishing history got the geek in me super psyched! I had the book hiding at home with some magazines and newsletters, and they were found by my father who shredded them to bits and put them back in place. I had only managed to get a few chapters in to the book, and was devastated! Years later, this copy came my way via a Bookcrossing member, and well, it took me a while to get around to reading it. Boy, am I glad I finally did so! The racist and misogynist aspects of the story were hard to take in, even though it takes place in the early stages of WWII. Once I was able to look at those ills in context to the characters and time period, I was really able to enjoy the story! What a lovely glimpse into gay life in New York City in the 1940's, and the kinds of things gay men had to go through to try and be true to themselves. Amazing how some things have changed so very much, yet others have not changed a bit. Aside from the fantastic historical aspect, this is a very moving love story. Peter and Charlie have what, on the surface, is a very passionate yet highly dysfunctional relationship. Given the circumstances of society and time, one has to wonder how "normal" the relationship would have been for gays. This story had me cheering, laughing, angry, crying, happy, and turned on, all at different times! If you like a good historical love story that will stick with you for life, and can handle some quite graphic sex, this book is a MUST READ!

  • Michelle
    2019-04-29 13:29

    This book is not what I was expecting at all. First off... It started off kind of slow for me. It obviously picked up when Charlie and Peter started measuring themselves.Ok... I thought it was kind of quick... But hey... I went with it. The sex was incredibly hot. I loved how Peter was exploring Charlie.But when Peter said he was in love with Charlie...Ughhhh... Really! Why go there so damn quick! They just met that day!!!! And they are already exchanging I love you's between each other!I have a thing about instant love. It's just so unrealistic to me.Peter was super clingy right after he slept with Charlie. Talking about moving to New York with Charlie and just live with him.It was all just too crazy and unrealistic! It's only been a day!!I'm sorry.. I'm only 17% in....and I think this book is one big hot mess! I do not like Charlie at all. He hit Peter for no reason! He's all over the place! Omg! I can't believe the stuff that comes out of his mouth!I was shocked how fast Peter just took Charlie back. After everything he put Peter though. Nothing really changed for me towards the end of the book. I still couldn't stand Charlie and Peter was a doormat. It was all to shocking. I just couldn't believe what I was reading!!The only person I felt bad for in this book was Tim!...lolThen... At the end of this book.. You are able to read on to the next book.Boy oh boy! It was still a hot mess!!! They mess around on each other.... Peter... Is totally different person. Even though he was a doormat... I was still on his side. He was just so passionate about Charlie. I felt he would never do anything to rock the boat. Because he truly was happy to be with him. But...Nope... didn't happen.Yeah... This book was not for me. I read ALOT of m/m books. But I've never read one like this.*Book provided via Netgalley for an honest review*

  • James
    2019-05-18 18:50

    Merrick's best-known book, The Lord Won't Mind, is a gay romance starring Charlie Mills and Peter Martin as handsome and well-endowed young men. They meet and fall madly in love. While the emphasis is on physical beauty it also speaks to the way persons define themselves. The response to beauty is certainly an aspect of the complexity of relationships. The book follows Charlie's path from a closeted gay man to a person who accepts himself. Charlie is terrified of rejection, especially that of his rigid, moralistic grandmother whom he loves but who expects him to marry and have children. Charlie at first attempts to live a double-life, expressing his homosexuality through acting and painting. But his life is incomplete without Peter.It is through Charlie's anguish that the reader catches a glimpse of Merrick's interest in the problems the gay male experiences establishing an identity. Charlie's socially-imposed resistance is in contrast to Peter's childlike innocence. The novel chronicles changes in their lives as they grow older. In spite of some melodramatic moments, I enjoyed the book. It is light romantic gay fiction -- an entertainment for winding down by the fire on a cold winter night, or for reading on the beach on a summer's day.

  • Pewterbreath
    2019-05-16 17:34

    Short review: This book is bad, outdated, overwritten, racist, and incredibly fun to read. Longer review: This book was written with one goal in mind--to titillate. It has all the elements of the supermarket trashy novel: wealthy people, forbidden love, manipulation, and a plot that goes up and down like a yo-yo. It's full of flat characters in a world that never existed saying things that people don't say. Especially with the out-of-date romance lingo--a lot of "manhoods" and "dangling sexes" and people gazing into each other's eyes longingly. I'd complain about the racism and sexism here, except for the fact that none of these people are real. It's a peculiar sort of fantasy world, filled with rich people aching to give good looking young men money.But read it as an unintentional comedy--some of the lines made me cackle out loud. Everything is so melodramatic that it classifies as camp. Now I found the book best when Peter and Charlie were away from each other. Together they spend way too much time admiring each other and talking about how great their relationship is together, but apart--hoo-boy, it will make you cry from laughter.