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4.4 out of 5
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  • Come for the romance, stay for the murder mystery

    Patricia Merton, recently-crowned All-England Ladies’ Champion shooter, has recently found herself without an obvious place in the world. Her eldest brother has married, so she won’t be running his household any longer, she doesn’t think much of men and marriage, she has neither the temperament for nor experience with ladylike pursuits that are usually required to be a lady’s companion, and she isn’t sure she has sufficient funds to do something useful and independent like open a school and show other ladies how to fill things full of lead. “To be honest, if I had to marry, I’d far prefer a husband who was mostly unaware of my existence.” “Men are dreadfully self-centred in my experience. One is expected to listen to everything they want to say while making their lives pleasant and all without a word of thinks”. Pat Merton, Proper English Lucky for Pat, then, that she can put off thinking about it for a while to attend a shooting party at her friend Jimmy’s family home in Northumberland. No ladies will be there, expecting Pat to sit around and do girly things. Nope, Pat’s going as “one of the guys”, to bag herself some partridge. Perfect. Until it isn’t. Turns out, there are unexpected guests, including Jimmy’s dreadfully unpleasant relations. Oh, and his fiancée, the irresistibly attractive Miss Fenella Carruth. Who he totally doesn’t deserve. Nope, not one bit. And then…wait for it…someone gets murdered. From then on, it’s a delightful country house murder mystery including shocking secrets and dastardly deeds and nasty people reaping what they’ve sown, with due time still taken for romance, because this is KJ Charles and you can trust her to have your back. Just don’t get confused about floor numbering - it follows European convention (duh), meaning it’s 0 for ground floor, 1 for the first level above ground, etc. So, the plot is solid, and lots of fun. But what I liked best about Proper English are our leads, Pat and Fen. Pat sees herself as sensible and mannish and not particularly attractive. As uncompromising. And despite her instant attraction to Fen and all her glorious curves, she quickly judges her as frivolous and not terribly bright. Not that she blames Fen for that. As she points out to her friend Jimmy: “…men don’t tend to marry for competence…If a woman is brought up to do nothing except get married and mix in society, it’s hardly fair to blame her for carrying out the job she was given.” Pat Merton, Proper English But Fen isn’t as simple as she lets people believe. She fills the role she’s been given in life because it is expected of her, and besides, nobody ever takes her seriously anyway. Nobody sees her. At least, until Pat teaches her how to shoot. Pat’s got no patience for girlish displays. If Fen wants to learn, she should stop squealing and get on with it. “You won’t learn anything if you’re busy being helpless…[by] being too silly and frivolous to do anything. It may be what men want of you, but you’re not going to learn that way.” Pat Merton, Proper English And that’s it. Pat sees Fen and takes her seriously. And Fen sees Pat right back, and shows her it’s OK to let a little frivolity in to her life. This is classic KJ Charles. Her leads aren’t perfect people with romance abs (eeeeeew) or a bazillion dollars or whatever other nonsense seems to sell a lot of mainstream romance. They’re just people. Who see each other and find something in each other worth loving. They bring out the best in each other. And then they have lots of good sex. Sold yet? Go add it to your cart! ***** The standard disclaimer - I received an advance copy of this book from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

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  • Wholesome Historical Lesbians <3

    I read this book all in one night and GOSH this might be my new favourite KJ Charles book!! If you're a fan of her other works, you'll love this one!

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    1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Decent Backstory

    Charles is a great writer, but this isn't her best book. Some of the characters are overdone (Haworth) and others (Bill, Victoria) underdone. The detective work is clever and plausible; the romance less so. It's nice to know where Pat and Fen (from Think of England) came from, but this story didn't confound or charm me the way other Charles stories have. No immediate, delighted re-reads this time.

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    0 person found this review helpful

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    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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