Baker, John Roman. “Foreign Passions”, The Nick and Greg Books, Wilkinson House, 2019.
Greg and Nick and Bart Are Back
Nick and Greg have been friends since they first met as gay teens. They were created by John Roman Baker and are the lead characters in the Nick and Greg series. It is through them that we cover British gay history. The guys want to experience all that there is in life and as they do, they build new relationships while remaining the best of friends. They have been through some hostile times as young men in Brighton in the 50s but they have also had wonderful adventures as they navigate gay England.
I see them as two of my friends and I always look forward to spending time with them even though I can only do so through Baker’s books.
Most of you are aware that I read a lot and not everything I read is classical literature nor will it be. I love to take time off to read something that does not make it think and probably will not stay with me long after I close the covers and that is fine. Not everyone is a great author (not everyone is an author at all just because they have written a book) but that is okay. The fact that I still look forward to reading about Nick and Greg shows they do the job of entertaining the reader.
Now we leave England for Paris and it is 1969. Greg and Bart have travelled from Brighton in search of Karel, but what begins as a search for their lover becomes a way for Greg to live in Paris just as he has wanted. In book three, Greg returned to Brighton not long after another friend, Bart arrived. It did not take long for Greg and Nick to rekindle how they once felt but this time, Nick brought a new boyfriend, Karel, with him.
Now in Paris, Greg explores physical, emotional and philosophical territory and these bring him to question his faith in humanity and his relationships with Bart and Nick. Here is also where you will find a few surprises. Nick and Greg might be young and lusty, yet they also have shown us the Swinging Sixties London and post-’68 Paris. They discover gay literature and other cultural reference points in music, film and theatre making them more than just characters in pulp fiction but characters who have a purpose to share with us. In a review of one of the other books in the series, I once wrote, “Baker has such a way with words and descriptions that you actually feel a character becomes a friend. I promise you will love Baker’s writings both in this series and other books.” That still holds true.