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When the Music Stops

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When a handsome young mute man is admitted to Link Hill Insane Asylum, Dr Daniel Archer's world is turned upside down. Whilst Dr Archer battles his inner demons, his superiors begin to suspect that the doctor's interest in his patient may be a little more than merely professional. But who is the mysterious Mr White, is he really as unknowing as he first appears to be and c When a handsome young mute man is admitted to Link Hill Insane Asylum, Dr Daniel Archer's world is turned upside down. Whilst Dr Archer battles his inner demons, his superiors begin to suspect that the doctor's interest in his patient may be a little more than merely professional. But who is the mysterious Mr White, is he really as unknowing as he first appears to be and can love possibly triumph even against such stacked odds?


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When a handsome young mute man is admitted to Link Hill Insane Asylum, Dr Daniel Archer's world is turned upside down. Whilst Dr Archer battles his inner demons, his superiors begin to suspect that the doctor's interest in his patient may be a little more than merely professional. But who is the mysterious Mr White, is he really as unknowing as he first appears to be and c When a handsome young mute man is admitted to Link Hill Insane Asylum, Dr Daniel Archer's world is turned upside down. Whilst Dr Archer battles his inner demons, his superiors begin to suspect that the doctor's interest in his patient may be a little more than merely professional. But who is the mysterious Mr White, is he really as unknowing as he first appears to be and can love possibly triumph even against such stacked odds?

30 review for When the Music Stops

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shile

    4.5 Daniel.... stars “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been fourteen days since my last confession. I have had... I have had impure thoughts about a man in my care.” The priest’s voice registers a mixture of distaste and boredom. “And what impure thoughts are these, my son?” - It is a unique, beautifully written book. -Short but packed. - Mr.White is a mystery that i would really like to solve. - It is intense - I need more. Finally my book hangover is starting to fade. Thank you Moony f 4.5 Daniel.... stars “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been fourteen days since my last confession. I have had... I have had impure thoughts about a man in my care.” The priest’s voice registers a mixture of distaste and boredom. “And what impure thoughts are these, my son?” - It is a unique, beautifully written book. -Short but packed. - Mr.White is a mystery that i would really like to solve. - It is intense - I need more. Finally my book hangover is starting to fade. Thank you Moony for this little gem. Hugs.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    There were moments that I wanted to cry for the sheer beauty of this story. Then there were moments when everything that had gotten so important to me over the course of a few dozen pages, threatened to shatter. And my heart pounded in my throat as my eyes feverishly followed the MC, a haunted Dr. Archer. And ungh! That very much unwanted workday that forced itself in-between my feelings of awe, dread and silent hope. So around 4 PM during that workday (you know the time), I felt so dull and numb t There were moments that I wanted to cry for the sheer beauty of this story. Then there were moments when everything that had gotten so important to me over the course of a few dozen pages, threatened to shatter. And my heart pounded in my throat as my eyes feverishly followed the MC, a haunted Dr. Archer. And ungh! That very much unwanted workday that forced itself in-between my feelings of awe, dread and silent hope. So around 4 PM during that workday (you know the time), I felt so dull and numb that I decided it would be a good idea to research lobotomies. I thought I knew what they entailed. I also assumed that they were nothing more than a black page in the history of medical science, quickly fixed and shoveled underneath the carpet. I was wrong. God, was I wrong. I will spare you the details, so let me give you some details here.:p The first lobotomies were performed in 1935, by drilling holes in the skull and doing all sorts of nasty stuff that resulted in many complications. After lots and lots of practice on poor sods, about 10(!) years later US neurologists and psychiatrists (especially a Dr. Freeman) found a less obtrusive way to perform a lobotomy, by pricking straight through the thin skull of the eye sockets, a procedure that took only a nice ‘n easy 10 minutes. Dr. freeman’s most famous patient, and also his most obvious failure, was Rosemary Kennedy, sister of the one and only John F. Kennedy. He lobotomized her in 1941 when she was 23. The most probable reason? Rosemary became a bit rebellious and moody in her teenage years. It was suggested that a lobotomy could make her more manageable. The operation sure was a success, because the young woman was basically left with the mental capacity of an infant. She couldn’t speak intelligibly anymore or control some bodily functions, and she stared into space for hours. She spent the rest of her life in an institution. Anyway, now you know what’s at stake in When The Music Stops. Not that this is a horrifying tale! Oh no, not at all! But there’s certainly an undercurrent of looming doom to enjoy. That delicious Goth atmosphere that accompanies our images of Victorian asylums for the dangerously insane, lunatics and those guilty of being.. different? It’s striking really, the way the author manages to catch and preserve this ambiance throughout the story. It’s impressive too, how he allows you to crawl into the head of the respectable Dr. Archer. A man who is not only delightfully British in his behavior, but also a product of his God fearing era and thus firmly strapped into a mental straitjacket of Christian dogmas. As a reader, you are watching from a first row seat how the distinguished doctor attempts to repress, repel and confess his ‘condemnable’ dark desires. Will he be able to resist a beautifully innocent and intriguing young man then? One who ever so subtly and seemingly completely unknowingly nestles himself underneath his skin? A man who also happens to be one of his lunatic patients… Mind you, this is a little literary piece involving homo-eroticism rather than your typical M/M romance. Also, note that if you have difficulty handling characters who do not exactly behave morally appropriate in your eyes or in an otherwise fluffy and friendly manner, this book will not be for you. Personally, I found being in Dr. Archer’s mind a pleasure. His inner battle with instincts and intense emotions versus ethically correct behavior was realistically portrayed and more than anything intriguing. This made the last line of When The Music Stops and the epilogue all the more disappointing for me. I’ve been joking to friends about how “someone got himself a lobotomy in-between the main story and that epilogue”, but really, it’s not funny. If I could unread the epilogue, I wouldn’t hesitate to do so. I regret this so much; that yet another author who at first allowed his readers to form their own opinion, who offered pieces of a puzzle, but without that final piece, decided it necessary to harshly strip away all the mystery of the story that would’ve ignited your imagination for days to come. It’s only a testament to this precious novella that I’m willing to swallow down my disappointment and go with a rare 5 stars after all.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    You know when you finish a book and you just stare at the kindle and keep clicking the doo-dad hoping for something more, just one more sentence, one more word even, just more ... please? Then there is no more but you are still staring at the freaking page! Just breathing and staring, and thinking about everything you read swallowing back the lump in your throat, all the while knowing that it was one of the most beautiful stories you have ever read. Well, that just happened to me! John T Fuller ha You know when you finish a book and you just stare at the kindle and keep clicking the doo-dad hoping for something more, just one more sentence, one more word even, just more ... please? Then there is no more but you are still staring at the freaking page! Just breathing and staring, and thinking about everything you read swallowing back the lump in your throat, all the while knowing that it was one of the most beautiful stories you have ever read. Well, that just happened to me! John T Fuller has created an outstanding novella here. Set in the early 20th Century. Dr Daniel Archer is our narrator; he is a physician at Link Hill mental institution who battles with his pious conscience and professional ethic when he develops a dubious affection for one of his young patients. When Archer looks at his patient: ” Archer feels his heart clench, an exquisite ache of such magnitude it scares him, as witness to this rapture such as one touched by the Lord.” As Archer goes about his job at the mental institute, battling his growing feelings and searching for justification in his methods just to be near the silent Mr White, he also unconsciously describes the day to day treatment of the patients. This in itself is an appalling look at an era of terrible treatments and abuses against the mentally handicapped. When Mr White begins to respond to the Doctors treatment, through music and attention we discover his talent for mimicry; to draw, dance and play any instrument. This spurs Archer. Could Mr White feel the same way? Does he want the same thing? “ Looking up into White’s face, the doctor feels like his heart might burst; he is recognised (special, beloved…)” Fuller creates an effortless Victorian Gothic mood for this book. The writing is faultless and enthralling. This novella encapsulates everything you could want in a story, and then some. Whatever moral issues I questioned about what the Doctor was doing, I knew it was right. The kindness and compassion he shows and the fierce protection over Mr White is a testament to the man he really is. "It's not always a very pleasant read, but it's compelling and beautiful and sickening and erotic and exciting and dramatic in just the right mix to make it unforgettable. It manages to portray a really surprisingly tender love story without ever dulling down the terror of what doctors used to do to their fellow human beings in those asylums." - Richard Rider's review John T. Fuller is a genius story teller. A must buy author for me. Thanks for the recommendation Richard;)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Anna (Bananas)

    Madness is fascinating, the idea of a mind turning on itself or giving up, losing all sense of purpose and identity and desire. Humans are appallingly fragile. I believe very little separates us (the sane)from them (the broken). The first thing I love about this story is this ^ theme, and how Dr. Archer coaxes his mute, fragile mental patient, dubbed Mr. White, (view spoiler)[out of his perceived madness. (hide spoiler)] Archer closely oversees White's treatment, and White responds to him increa Madness is fascinating, the idea of a mind turning on itself or giving up, losing all sense of purpose and identity and desire. Humans are appallingly fragile. I believe very little separates us (the sane)from them (the broken). The first thing I love about this story is this ^ theme, and how Dr. Archer coaxes his mute, fragile mental patient, dubbed Mr. White, (view spoiler)[out of his perceived madness. (hide spoiler)] Archer closely oversees White's treatment, and White responds to him increasingly as the story progresses. The desire between them is uncertain at first, possibly one-sided, to the point where I wondered if Archer wasn't taking advantage of White, something Archer himself worries about. The second thing I love is the writing (really, honestly this is #1). It's romantic, poetic, entrancing. From the first page to the last it kept me riveted. Some examples: To keep him cooped up here is like trapping a butterfly in a green glass bottle - surrounded by darkness he is iridescent. (for K) They've taken to playing him music. The doctor won't say how he found out (head cradled passively in his lap, singing softly enough to him not to wake the man next door) but as long as the phonograph plays on repeat White is still and silent...It's only when the music stops that he begins to howl. With one hand he gently cups the young man's jaw, strokes his thumb softly across the swell of White's lower lip in a gesture he knows is a little too like begging. "Has he been beaten?" Dr Archer's voice is quiet, measured and dangerous, a sprung trap. Looking up into White's face, the doctor feels like his heart might burst; he is recognized (special, beloved) My third love is the characters. Archer's inner struggle, his intense compassion for White, his gentleness - all make him exceedingly sympathetic. White could be a passive character but, no, his every response, or lack of response, is what drives Archer and the story. Even in his silence, he expresses plenty-a love of sweets and music, a fear of spiders, talents for mimicry in dancing and drawing. (view spoiler)[And when he finally makes a move on Archer, pressing kisses into his neck, revealing that he wants exactly what Archer wants, I *might have cheered out loud.:D (hide spoiler)] The fourth thing I love is the story length. It's a novella, and it provides just the right amount of character and plot. I'm not saying it couldn't be expanded. I'm saying it doesn't need to be. Even the epilogue could have been left out; the story would have more impact imo if it ended (view spoiler)[with White saying Archer's name for the first time - "Why am I doing this? I must be mad." And White says very softly, "Daniel..." Isn't that the perfect response to his question? I must say though, I did tear up at the characters' deaths in the epilogue, especially when White died shortly after Archer. I couldn't imagine either of them living on without the other. (hide spoiler)] I really, really enjoyed this story. Loved it madly even.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Blacky *Romance Addict*

    DNF. Sorry, I just have problems reading books written in PRESENT tense. They always seem so detached to me, and this one especially. Maybe it works great with the story and everything, but I really don't care, I don't like reading present tense POV and that's that. Thanks for the recs guys, I'm sure I would have liked it if it was normally written :D DNF. Sorry, I just have problems reading books written in PRESENT tense. They always seem so detached to me, and this one especially. Maybe it works great with the story and everything, but I really don't care, I don't like reading present tense POV and that's that. Thanks for the recs guys, I'm sure I would have liked it if it was normally written :D

  6. 5 out of 5

    JaHy☝Hold the Fairy Dust

    *** 3.5" Play it again, Sam" Stars*** Book Synopsis: " When a handsome young mute man is admitted to Link Hill Insane Asylum-- " . .. SOLD! .. Yeah, I didn't need to read any further. The author had me at mute & asylum.... you should though, because there's a lot more to the story and this chick's lazy. Toodle-oo! **mwah** *** 3.5" Play it again, Sam" Stars*** Book Synopsis: " When a handsome young mute man is admitted to Link Hill Insane Asylum-- " . .. SOLD! .. Yeah, I didn't need to read any further. The author had me at mute & asylum.... you should though, because there's a lot more to the story and this chick's lazy. Toodle-oo! **mwah**

  7. 5 out of 5

    Moony Eliver

    4.5 stars, with a rare round up. Damn y'all, this was amazing. Beautiful, evocative storytelling. Where did this author go?? I don't have it in me today for much of a review, but if you can stand some moral ambiguity in your stories, I highly recommend this one. Maybe after I re-read it, which is definitely going to happen, I'll write more. 4.5 stars, with a rare round up. Damn y'all, this was amazing. Beautiful, evocative storytelling. Where did this author go?? I don't have it in me today for much of a review, but if you can stand some moral ambiguity in your stories, I highly recommend this one. Maybe after I re-read it, which is definitely going to happen, I'll write more.

  8. 4 out of 5

    LenaRibka

    All we need is love... Gosh!...It was pretty INTENSE!.. ...And in a perverse way BRILLIANT. ...Utterly TWISTED! ..And sooooo GOOD WRITTEN! It grabbed me from the first page and didn't let me go until the last word... "Daniel..." It is not a typical candy romance. Link Hill is an Insane Asylum. Doctor Archer and his errant patient Mr White don't fit in a predefined love couple scheme. (view spoiler)[ I was afraid it wouldn't have a HEA. The title. The cover. Can you imagine to be happy after readi All we need is love... Gosh!...It was pretty INTENSE!.. ...And in a perverse way BRILLIANT. ...Utterly TWISTED! ..And sooooo GOOD WRITTEN! It grabbed me from the first page and didn't let me go until the last word... "Daniel..." It is not a typical candy romance. Link Hill is an Insane Asylum. Doctor Archer and his errant patient Mr White don't fit in a predefined love couple scheme. (view spoiler)[ I was afraid it wouldn't have a HEA. The title. The cover. Can you imagine to be happy after reading a book with THIS title and THIS cover?! BUT I SWEAR, I WAS!!! "Daniel..." (hide spoiler)] Do you remember the last scene in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? This final act of liberation? And the music? And your emotions? And the intensity of this last scene? It was like.... "Daniel..." John T.Fuller. Remember this name! I do! Thank you, Shelley, for your recommendation! Read Shelley review, she made it perfectly.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Karla

    **3.5 stars!**

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sheziss

    Wow, that was pretty intense. Gaudí managed to design a marvelous crypt in Colonia Güell, a town close to Barcelona, Spain. It was build mostly from scoria and brick. How can something with that beauty be made from the ugliest of materials? Isn’t it glorious? It is said energy cannot be created or destroyed. The same with material. You have to be a real genius to manage to make that preciosity from such poor components: a doctor, a madman, an asylum. What good can result from that? We don’t even kn Wow, that was pretty intense. Gaudí managed to design a marvelous crypt in Colonia Güell, a town close to Barcelona, Spain. It was build mostly from scoria and brick. How can something with that beauty be made from the ugliest of materials? Isn’t it glorious? It is said energy cannot be created or destroyed. The same with material. You have to be a real genius to manage to make that preciosity from such poor components: a doctor, a madman, an asylum. What good can result from that? We don’t even know the madman’s name in the whole story. He doesn’t even talk. But he communicates. He is not even aware of his situation. But he understands. The madman was so lovely and cute there is no way the doctor can resist, above all when the doctor is lonely and isolated. His thoughts are sick. Not only professionally speaking, but personally. But this childish madman stirs something within him that he really misses in his life. The Gothic atmosphere is almost physical. I could feel the dark stones under my fingers, the shadows moving on heavy (or non-existent) furniture, and even the unmentioned ghosts. The claustrophobic environment wraps this rising love as pure as a newborn in dense dust and flickering oil lamps light that dims more than illuminates. It is astonishing the sensuality of the carnal scenes. I could almost feel it like a knife opening my insides in a way that meet the outside. It turned my skin inside-out as easily as cutting warm butter. The ending is a bit rushed. In fact, I would have finished the book in the “Daniel” part. That last sentence would have been the icing on the cake and maintaining the mystery and intrigue and the promise would have leave you wanting more, but without letting the feeling fall from the zenith. This book is shamelessly sweet in all its “twistedness”. Pure beauty. There is no ugly detail here, only the ugly reality. Every word and feeling is calculated and measured like poetry. Bravo!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Richard Rider

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. THIS BOOK. *GRABBY HANDS* John is a really good friend of mine, I'm so pleased he's decided to publish this novella because it jumps up and down on all my buttons so hard that I'm not even ashamed, even though I sort of feel like I should be. I recommend this to EVERYONE who's into erotic historial m/m fiction, even if you think you find the subject matter a bit repulsive and inappropriate. That's kind of the point, I think? When the Music Stops is a story set in a Victorian lunatic asylum, follo THIS BOOK. *GRABBY HANDS* John is a really good friend of mine, I'm so pleased he's decided to publish this novella because it jumps up and down on all my buttons so hard that I'm not even ashamed, even though I sort of feel like I should be. I recommend this to EVERYONE who's into erotic historial m/m fiction, even if you think you find the subject matter a bit repulsive and inappropriate. That's kind of the point, I think? When the Music Stops is a story set in a Victorian lunatic asylum, following the actions of Dr Archer who becomes infatuated with a patient. I know loads of people might think OH WAIT, STOP RIGHT THERE... don't think that. Wuthering Heights is full of repellent characters and actions as well, but the reason that works is that they're never portrayed as sweet fluffy nice people, we're not supposed to sympathise with them in the same way as we do with decent people in nice romantic comedies. The whole reason stories like that work is because the characters are so fascinatingly horrible, and it's sort of the same here to a lesser extent. We see what Archer is up to, and we know how staggeringly inappropriate it is for doctors to behave that way towards patients - but Archer knows it as well, and that makes the story. I can't remember the last time I read a character who's this full of juicy Victorian repression and self-loathing. IT IS DELICIOUS. It's all so English and stiff, I love things like this. It's like erotic Merchant Ivory, with straitjackets instead of corsets. GOD HELP ME I'M GONE. It's honestly not just a straightforward story turning the institutional rape of a man who can't consent into something sweet and romantic, which I really would have a massive problem with. We start to see fairly early on that Mr White, the patient, might be more in control of himself than he seems to be, and it's a really interesting layer to the story and their relationship. This is what makes Archer so easy to sympathise with - we can see exactly why he forms this attachment with White, and how he struggles against it then struggles to come to terms with how it's not going away. It's a sort of horror as well, which I somehow wasn't expecting the first time I read it... stupid, really, considering how obsessed I am with British history. I know what went on in Victorian asylums. The story is so clever in holding up these two things that we can all pretty much agree are horrific - doctors getting off with patients, and the "treatments" and conditions of asylums of the time - and making us re-evaluate our opinions. It's not always a very pleasant read, but it's compelling and beautiful and sickening and erotic and exciting and dramatic in just the right mix to make it unforgettable. It manages to portray a really surprisingly tender love story without ever dulling down the terror of what doctors used to do to their fellow human beings in those asylums. And the scene with the chocolate and the finger-sucking in Chapter 5 made me need a wipe down. Just saying. Inappropriate erotic historical romance with a happy ending? GIVE ME MORE OF THIS GLORY. If you're even slightly intrigued by any part of this review, please please give the story a go. It's fantastic. :)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kazza

    Note for fellow readers: This book can't be obtained via Amazon. There is a link on Goodreads for Lulu but whatever you do DON'T try to buy it through them. I paid for this yesterday from them and I still don't have it. **I did eventually receive it.** Also of note, I was only offered epub or PDF as an option, no mobi - ridiculous. Anyway, I eventually worked out that this was pubbed using Smashwords so I bought it from them and, hallelujah, I a) actually received it immediately and b) there was Note for fellow readers: This book can't be obtained via Amazon. There is a link on Goodreads for Lulu but whatever you do DON'T try to buy it through them. I paid for this yesterday from them and I still don't have it. **I did eventually receive it.** Also of note, I was only offered epub or PDF as an option, no mobi - ridiculous. Anyway, I eventually worked out that this was pubbed using Smashwords so I bought it from them and, hallelujah, I a) actually received it immediately and b) there was a mobi option. Audio-visual review at

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rosa, really

    When the Music Stops; Or, How to Seduce a Mental Patient in Ten Steps or Less! OH MY GAWD THAT WAS FUCKING FANTASTIC. I thought I was going to die toward the end. And then the last line. I'm dying. So good. So beautiful. Wanna cry. Loeder's review says it all. Read it for something that makes sense. I'm still waving my hands around and babbling in excitement. Auuuuugh! So good! Can't speak! Hugging Kindle! Thank you, Lena! Has this author written more? WHY THE FUCKING FUCK NOT? When the Music Stops; Or, How to Seduce a Mental Patient in Ten Steps or Less! OH MY GAWD THAT WAS FUCKING FANTASTIC. I thought I was going to die toward the end. And then the last line. I'm dying. So good. So beautiful. Wanna cry. Loeder's review says it all. Read it for something that makes sense. I'm still waving my hands around and babbling in excitement. Auuuuugh! So good! Can't speak! Hugging Kindle! Thank you, Lena! Has this author written more? WHY THE FUCKING FUCK NOT?

  14. 5 out of 5

    Silvio

    *This review might contain spoilers* It has been a long time since the last time I read a short story. It's not that I don't like them, quite the opposite actually. I often felt more connected with the characters in them than long novels, and therefore when they ended I was left aching for more, and like an unfulfilled wish, despite how much irrational or impossible it was, I couldn't help being frustrated. And it is exactly the case with this little perfection of a story. First off, I have to say *This review might contain spoilers* It has been a long time since the last time I read a short story. It's not that I don't like them, quite the opposite actually. I often felt more connected with the characters in them than long novels, and therefore when they ended I was left aching for more, and like an unfulfilled wish, despite how much irrational or impossible it was, I couldn't help being frustrated. And it is exactly the case with this little perfection of a story. First off, I have to say that I'm very impressed by the author's writing. It's superb, fantastic, addicting, everything you would think about the kind of writing that sucked you into the story right after a few first lines, kept you raptured and mesmerized for the rest of it, and probably never ever would forget about. It's pure genius, simple at that. It is, however, not the only admirable feature. The characters are amazingly well-drawn, complexly multi-layered and excellently developed. I particularly like moments when the doctor, Archer, was trying to justify his desires by some kind of self-assumption and self-deception relating the patient, White's actions. They felt so genuine, real, and very much human, his inner conflicts. And White, as opposed to what you might think, is not emotionally dull or blankly ignorant. He's an endless wonder, an unceasingly interesting individual who provoked in me such intense affection and sympathy I almost had a heart attack when something horrifying, a lobotomy operation specifically, might happen to him. The plot is pretty uncomplicated, but it's captivating and engrossing for a simple and interesting reason. It's more like a masterfully handled character-driven story, the kind I generally enjoy. I have some small problems with it, though, mostly about the way it ends. 1. I had fully expected, or more accurately, dreaded, a tragic ending. Don't get me wrong, I longed for them to be happy together, but the title suggested differently, at least for me it was. And with White liking the music, surely when it stops something's going to happen, if for no other reason than it'd definitely leave an absolute impact on reader's mind? 2. I rather the story is without the epilogue. It feels somewhat unnecessary, rushed, incomplete. I'd love to remember it with the way White says Archer's name. I very much hope the author will expand Archer and White's story, ideally after they escape from the hospital. Soon, please? And because I love the beginning so much I'm going to quote it here. He doesn’t speak; they never knew his name. It’s the case for a lot of the patients at Link Hill, they are re-christened by the staff: Mr. Smith, Mr. Brown, Mr. Black. Mr White. Very highly recommended.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Em

    What a wonderful surprise this little book was. It's beautiful and unique and so touching in places I almost cried. It was over way too quickly, I would have liked another hundred pages or so and have so many unanswered questions about where Mr White came from and his background, but I suppose in the grand scheme of things it doesn't really matter. What a wonderful surprise this little book was. It's beautiful and unique and so touching in places I almost cried. It was over way too quickly, I would have liked another hundred pages or so and have so many unanswered questions about where Mr White came from and his background, but I suppose in the grand scheme of things it doesn't really matter.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cristina

    I've read John T. Fuller's When the Music Stops twice in a matter of a week or so. The first time around, I was so taken in by the story that I really wanted to know what would happen at the end. The second time, however, I gave myself plenty of space to fully enjoy the novella's wonderful prose and characterizations. Set in a gloomy mental institution in Victorian England, the book follows the strange relationship between a doctor, Daniel Archer, and one of the asylum's inmates, the mysterious I've read John T. Fuller's When the Music Stops twice in a matter of a week or so. The first time around, I was so taken in by the story that I really wanted to know what would happen at the end. The second time, however, I gave myself plenty of space to fully enjoy the novella's wonderful prose and characterizations. Set in a gloomy mental institution in Victorian England, the book follows the strange relationship between a doctor, Daniel Archer, and one of the asylum's inmates, the mysterious and contradictory Mr. White. Mute and apparently oblivious to his surrounding reality, Mr. White attracts Archer's attention and curiosity and the two men start gravitating towards each other by means of little experiments, one-sided conversations and small acts of kindness and recognition. Archer is at first intrigued by the medical mystery posed by Mr. White: who is he? Where does he come from? Why, whilst clearly not being illiterate or dumb, does he refuse to be independent, to dress and feed himself, to interact with the other inmates and the hospital's personnel? I truly loved the way Fuller manages to combine Archer's intellectual curiosity with his growing feelings of affection and attraction towards White. In particular, the way Archer initially attempts to deceit himself about the true nature of his feelings by investing them with a feeble veneer of professional attention and Christian charity was entirely compelling. On his part, Mr. White remains a real puzzle throughout the novella. The author adds very small touches to build up the character and his process of transformation; a different quality in his stare, a subtle smile, a shy gesture. The grim and creepy atmosphere of the classical Victorian asylum provides the perfect background to their story. Dark and dangerous, full of long corridors and damp cells, Link Hill seems to be molded on the perfect template of a Gothic novel. The language is beautifully nuanced, and the writing is the present tense adds a lot of tension and depth not only to the story's events but also to Archer's stream of consciousness. When the Music Stops is a real delight - dark, erotic, emotionally unsettling and often disturbing (also because of the potentially uneven relationship between the two MCs) - the story lingers on well after the last, beautiful and profoundly moving line. Very highly recommended!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jack Pyke

    4.5 Stars This novella leaves me so torn -- literally forcing me to jump back and forth over a barbed wire fence and hiss with the cuts I’ve been given. Fuul review on at my blog: http://jacklpyke.blogspot.co.uk/ 4.5 Stars This novella leaves me so torn -- literally forcing me to jump back and forth over a barbed wire fence and hiss with the cuts I’ve been given. Fuul review on at my blog: http://jacklpyke.blogspot.co.uk/

  18. 5 out of 5

    Al

    Wow. I may find some more words soon

  19. 5 out of 5

    Pam Faste aka Peejakers

    Wow. What a remarkable book. It is, by turns but sometimes all at once, dark & heartbreaking & beautiful, disturbingly erotic, morally ambiguous, full of longing, achingly tender, horrifying, riveting, haunting. And ends on a tremulous note of hope. The writing is moving & beautiful. This is an author I will definitely be reading again, just as soon as he publishes something new! I can’t believe it took me this long to get around to reading this. Note: In early reviews I saw references to an epil Wow. What a remarkable book. It is, by turns but sometimes all at once, dark & heartbreaking & beautiful, disturbingly erotic, morally ambiguous, full of longing, achingly tender, horrifying, riveting, haunting. And ends on a tremulous note of hope. The writing is moving & beautiful. This is an author I will definitely be reading again, just as soon as he publishes something new! I can’t believe it took me this long to get around to reading this. Note: In early reviews I saw references to an epilogue some readers didn’t care for. The version I read was purchased from Smashwords on Mar. 10, 2015, but copyrighted 2012, & consists of 12 chapters but nothing identified as an epilogue. I downloaded a PDF version & uploaded from my PC to my Kindle in Kindle format, if that makes a difference.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura Lascarso

    I've read this novella three times now and it gets better each time. Sensuous and beautifully written. I love complex characters with questionable morals and this book delivers. The tension throughout is masterfully done and the mystery surrounding Mr. White is superb. The ending is wonderfully romantic. I've read this novella three times now and it gets better each time. Sensuous and beautifully written. I love complex characters with questionable morals and this book delivers. The tension throughout is masterfully done and the mystery surrounding Mr. White is superb. The ending is wonderfully romantic.

  21. 4 out of 5

    monika

    dnf - 71% I don't know what to say. It's not about the taboo. Although, in my opinion, one scene at the beginning was very creepy and thus tainted for me this story. I guess my problem is that I don't feel a connection to Dr. Archer and this is mainly his story. The only thing that kept me reading was the writing. John T. Fuller is a talented writer and has a very fertile imagination. But this one I'm stuck and I don't feel like keep on reading, sorry :( dnf - 71% I don't know what to say. It's not about the taboo. Although, in my opinion, one scene at the beginning was very creepy and thus tainted for me this story. I guess my problem is that I don't feel a connection to Dr. Archer and this is mainly his story. The only thing that kept me reading was the writing. John T. Fuller is a talented writer and has a very fertile imagination. But this one I'm stuck and I don't feel like keep on reading, sorry :(

  22. 4 out of 5

    BlackTulip

    Reviewed By BlackTulip for Confessions from Romaholics What can I say? John T. Fuller's work is a little gem. In this story he's able to elicit very improbable but beautiful feelings in the most dreadful place and he makes me believe in it. Our mind is a very strange thing that can play tricks on us where only a word can trigger all sorts of visions or feelings that cannot be controlled. They can invade you in a split second. A Lunatic Asylum is exactly what I'm talking about here, these few words Reviewed By BlackTulip for Confessions from Romaholics What can I say? John T. Fuller's work is a little gem. In this story he's able to elicit very improbable but beautiful feelings in the most dreadful place and he makes me believe in it. Our mind is a very strange thing that can play tricks on us where only a word can trigger all sorts of visions or feelings that cannot be controlled. They can invade you in a split second. A Lunatic Asylum is exactly what I'm talking about here, these few words have the power to fill me with dread and I become receptive to everything and anything. Dr. Archer is a very lonely man with no joy or emotion to fill up his days—work is his only companion. His inner turmoil begins and becomes perpetual as soon as Mr. White has crossed the threshold of Link Hill Insane Asylum. Poor Archer's silent struggle and conflicted mind with unsettling ideas becomes only too real ... You can easily feel his obsession, his frustration, his despair and then his hope ... the translation of his torment is not lost here, you can live it and feel it on these pages. White is like a fragile and enticing flower with an intoxicating fragrance and Archer cannot help but want to smell its bouquet and pick its petals ... even if Mr. White doesn't speak and is quite an enigma. The fact that we know next to nothing about White's past doesn't really matter here, I though that it would, but on the contrary, it only enhances this very attractive, intriguing and irresistible story. At a given time, an idea that Dr Archer thinks to be foolish and unrealistic becomes a necessary decision to make when a terrible threat arises that could obliterate the only person that henceforth matters in his life ... Though there's an obvious ethical issue doctor-patient here, I wasn't really disturbed by it—maybe it's the way the story is told. The author is very attentive to allow the story to unfold without divulging too much. Though it's a short novella, I never once thought that it was TOO short; in my opinion it's simply perfect. John T. Fuller’s writing takes you inside the scenes in a manner that makes you experience everything that happens, it's insanely magical! It certainly isn't a horror story in the true sense of the word; nevertheless, because of the place where everything happens, the atmosphere is rather tense, bleak with a Gothic and claustrophobic feel. This story is vibrant with emotion and stunningly imagined; it's a riveting tale between sanity and madness about an impossible and forbidden love with both tender and highly erotic moments but where danger is ever present. I love the cover, I love the title, I love absolutely everything! I cannot but very highly recommend this novel. I give When the Music Stops 5 stars!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elizabetta

    4.5 stars Between uneasy feelings about Dr. Archer’s medical ethics and sympathy for his loneliness and then for his finding love in a strange place… this was a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride. It’s a beautiful story and finely rendered— an uneasy love story. I was so worried for Dr. Archer and his Mr. White— the suspense was well done as Archer risks all for him. I only wish we could have been told the solution to White’s mysterious background and what caused his affliction. I suppose it 4.5 stars Between uneasy feelings about Dr. Archer’s medical ethics and sympathy for his loneliness and then for his finding love in a strange place… this was a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride. It’s a beautiful story and finely rendered— an uneasy love story. I was so worried for Dr. Archer and his Mr. White— the suspense was well done as Archer risks all for him. I only wish we could have been told the solution to White’s mysterious background and what caused his affliction. I suppose it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of the story, but I’d like to have known. The epilogue gives some other appreciated information but still seems a bit awkward and tacked on. (As, I guess, most epilogues naturally are. Tacked on, that is.) I would recommend this unique read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    WhatAStrangeDuck

    This was a totally unexpectedly brilliant book. Despite not loving present tense narration as such, I have to give kudos to the author. This time it worked amazingly well. And seriously - the writing is really, really good. Tight, nuanced and subtle. Sometimes I can get very stubborn if I feel that the author is trying to manipulate me into certain reactions - but, dayum - yes, I noticed it but I went along willingly. So, the book... Is it more than a little morally ambiguous? Yes, absolutely. Do I This was a totally unexpectedly brilliant book. Despite not loving present tense narration as such, I have to give kudos to the author. This time it worked amazingly well. And seriously - the writing is really, really good. Tight, nuanced and subtle. Sometimes I can get very stubborn if I feel that the author is trying to manipulate me into certain reactions - but, dayum - yes, I noticed it but I went along willingly. So, the book... Is it more than a little morally ambiguous? Yes, absolutely. Do I think that this is a quality in itself? Nope. Don't. Do I think that there could be several (dozens of) issues raised with regard to politcal correctness? Yeep. Amen. Absolutely. Do I care? Actually, no. No, I don't. Did I love it? Well, duh, yes. And, gah, I'm tired. Make of this what you want.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    I apparently have a thing for books about medical professionals with questionable ethics. I loved witnessing Dr. Archer's inner conflict regarding his feelings toward his patient, and I enjoyed watching it all play out. At one point, my heart pounded in terror right along with the doctor's, and I love when a book can get me involved to that extent. I just wish the book were longer so that I could have been shown rather than told about some of the interactions between doctor and patient (ex: (vie I apparently have a thing for books about medical professionals with questionable ethics. I loved witnessing Dr. Archer's inner conflict regarding his feelings toward his patient, and I enjoyed watching it all play out. At one point, my heart pounded in terror right along with the doctor's, and I love when a book can get me involved to that extent. I just wish the book were longer so that I could have been shown rather than told about some of the interactions between doctor and patient (ex: (view spoiler)[Dr. Archer's discovery of Mr. White's love of music, and more of what happened between the night at his home and the day they made their escape (hide spoiler)] ).

  26. 5 out of 5

    CharlotteSometimes

    Oh my, that was just beautiful. Well worth the half hour of head scratching, quickly followed by complete rage at not being able to figure out how to get a book purchased on Smashwords sent directly to my kindle. But I did it, and quite I'm over the whole ordeal. Yay! So, When the Music Stops..What an absolutely beautiful and enthralling story. You know sometimes when you start a book, and you've only read the first paragraph, and you know, you just know you're going to absolutely love it? Yep, Oh my, that was just beautiful. Well worth the half hour of head scratching, quickly followed by complete rage at not being able to figure out how to get a book purchased on Smashwords sent directly to my kindle. But I did it, and quite I'm over the whole ordeal. Yay! So, When the Music Stops..What an absolutely beautiful and enthralling story. You know sometimes when you start a book, and you've only read the first paragraph, and you know, you just know you're going to absolutely love it? Yep, that happened. That last page...be still my beating heart 💓 If I could give it more stars I would

  27. 5 out of 5

    Al *the semi serial series skipper*

    I found this book just ok. It didn't wow me the way it seems to wow everyone else. I honestly couldn't connect with the characters. The story was poignant but not just enough to move me. I found this book just ok. It didn't wow me the way it seems to wow everyone else. I honestly couldn't connect with the characters. The story was poignant but not just enough to move me.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kynthos-the-Archer (Kyn)

    About 3.5 Stars. I liked it well enough but it didn't blew me away as I expected. I am rounding it up to 4 Stars in view of the writing. About 3.5 Stars. I liked it well enough but it didn't blew me away as I expected. I am rounding it up to 4 Stars in view of the writing.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Karel

    Fascinating. I've always been a sucker for caretakers and seriously disabled individuals, so that's probably a +1 star just for satisfying those tropes alone. The writing style fits the story - makes it feels kind of nostalgic even though it's hard to follow sometimes because it's all written in the present tense. The choice of tense makes some sentences seem really awkward, and while it flows okay, it's not the easiest book in the world to digest. The angst was nicely done though - lots of self-f Fascinating. I've always been a sucker for caretakers and seriously disabled individuals, so that's probably a +1 star just for satisfying those tropes alone. The writing style fits the story - makes it feels kind of nostalgic even though it's hard to follow sometimes because it's all written in the present tense. The choice of tense makes some sentences seem really awkward, and while it flows okay, it's not the easiest book in the world to digest. The angst was nicely done though - lots of self-flagellation without treading into the territory of morose crap. Back to fascinating: I'm actually more fascinated by the dynamics of the relationship. I couldn't care less about the morals of it (I find that moral outrage over fiction is such a first world problem anyway), but like I said, it's got a very fascinating dynamic. Here we have the doctor, intelligent and in love with the patient, and then you have the patient, whose intellectual prowess ends at a few drawings and a copied signature. Whatever you dress it up as, it's not fully consensual. No matter how sentient White seems, he's not fully there. He's not aware of consequences, only his body's immediate lust. He may understand Archer's kind intentions - maybe not. The bottom line though, is that you don't really know. Ergo it's consensual, but not really. Ergo it's a crime. Ergo it's interesting, because White - a man incapable of ever being fully independent - is not only dependent on Archer; Archer is indirectly his only choice out among indifferent orderlies and a senior doctor who's cruel to him. Caught between the devil and the nice guy, White turns to Archer. Is that really love? I vote 'not really', which is why I like this so much. Nothing gets my gears going like a little moral ambiguity. On the epilogue though: way too short, and feels like the writer just wanted to get it over with. Felt like an author's note more than an epilogue, and a few more pages on it would have improved this immensely, à la Amy Lane's Hammer and Air.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lexi

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was the sort of staggeringly pleasant surprise that makes you smug about going on a hunch or outside your comfort zone to find literature. Please do not be deterred by its moral ambiguity or its verb tense (for god's sake) because there is a lot to enjoy in this story and marvel over. You will keep thinking about this long after you have finished it, as I have, and it will serve as a point of comparison for the other m/m and historical fiction/romance you read. It is that compelling, that w This was the sort of staggeringly pleasant surprise that makes you smug about going on a hunch or outside your comfort zone to find literature. Please do not be deterred by its moral ambiguity or its verb tense (for god's sake) because there is a lot to enjoy in this story and marvel over. You will keep thinking about this long after you have finished it, as I have, and it will serve as a point of comparison for the other m/m and historical fiction/romance you read. It is that compelling, that well written. "When the Music Stops" is a beautiful, haunting, uncomfortable (and also super hot) story that follows the relationship of a Victorian asylum doctor and a mute patient, as one tries to resist the other with varying degrees of success. Yes, there is some moral fuss, but it was entirely addressed to my satisfaction and you're supposed to squirm and cringe a bit: it's called "feeling things" and it's why I read. The plotting here is excellent: while you are completely consumed by the evolving interactions between Archer and White, a huge, terrifying element of suspense gets slipped in there and just eats you up. I had to stop reading it for a few days because I was scared. (P.S. I am an adult.) But it goes to show the depth to which one can become attached to the outcome of this story, to the characters themselves. Yes, it's daunting. You may not be sure what's right or wrong here. But it is so, so worth experiencing that to come out on the other end, very surprised and not devastated, as I eventually did. Finally, the writing here is deft. The big, complex sentences should not read as prettily or as evocatively as they do, but John manages to cover a lot of ground in them without you even noticing that density. His descriptions and characterizations are immersive and everyone comes alive, just as they should. Do yourself a favour and read this. edit: +1 for Byron

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