I didn’t read very much beyond nonfiction in progress in September.

Fanfiction: London Orbital by merripestin (Sherlock) features Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, Sally Donovan, and Greg Lestrade trapped together in a car all night, for a case. Snappy dialogue ensues.

Fiction: The Duke of Snow and Apples by Elizabeth Vail is set in an alternate England that has magic, and felt roughly Regency to me in its social mores. It engages with a lot of things people complain about when they read romance, and attempts to do them in a way that’s entertaining (I feel the book was a success at this). The repressed hero is repressed because he thinks his emotionally-linked magic did terrible things to other people; the heroine thinks she is a failure for realistic reasons. The Duke of the title ran away from home (for very good reasons) and has been a footman since the age of 15. He’s assigned to the heroine at a house party, and is intrigued by her because he can tell she’s emotionally hiding. Both of them make mistakes in their relationship, but I felt the problems and their solutions were more sensible than in many romances, so I didn’t mind Obvious Villain Is Obvious. I especially liked that the servants were portrayed thoughtfully, both in worldbuilding details and behavior. There were some inventive uses of magic in the story as well. I’d recommend this if you like to see tropes done well.

Think of England by K. J. Charles – I started reading it while on the elliptical, stayed there for an hour, then continued while waiting for the bus, on the bus, and before I went to bed. I think it’s probably novella length, but I was still satisfied to have finished something. It’s a historical male/male romance with some historical opinions about homosexuality and religion.

Nonfiction: Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth by John Garth – I started reading this for a panel at World Fantasy, not knowing that a scheduling conflict would mean I would end up not being on the panel after all. Regardless, I enjoyed this quite a bit. I had read one biography of Tolkien, but this one focuses on a period of his life that’s usually ignored, and includes his closest friends from his school days. All but one of them were killed in World War One.

Fanfiction: I really enjoyed the characterization in Collected Bones of All Kinds by hansbekhart – it’s two linked Captain America: Winter Soldier stories, one about Bucky and Steve, the other about Sam and Steve. The same author wrote When I Put Away Childish Things featuring Bucky and Steve before WWII was declared, and after Pearl Harbor, which has some nice historical detail.