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4.3 out of 5
(29)
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  • 2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    Riveting m/m historical romance!

    Anyone familiar with K.J.Charles body of work knows that they can expect a story with interesting characters, a tight plot and a page turner - whether it's because of the drama or the sex or the relationships. In this case, it's all three as Harry discovers that his grandfather is willing to claim him as a relative despite his father's abandonment of the family ideals, so long as Harry marries and produces an heir to continue the line. To that end his Uncle Richard has persuaded his personal friend and dandy Julius to outfit and school Harry in the ways of society. As members of the Society of Gentlemen, Julius and Richard are part of a small group of comrades who happen to be more interested in the male persuasion than the female. When Harry realizes this, and the fact that Julius is more interested in him than expected, it becomes more and more difficult to keep their hands off each other, in the name of fashion or otherwise. But Harry's seditious background is in danger of being discovered as the people on the street revolt against the upper class and he's caught in the middle. Can he find peace in his new role and a love worthy of the sacrifices it will require? I think what interested me the most about this story was that it's a given that the men involved are homosexual, and that they must keep that a secret from society in general or risk prosecution and loss of society status. So the drama is never about whether they will be revealed as such. The society of Gentlemen is discreet, with well paid servants and strict rules about their public behavior and so you never get the feeling that their sexual orientation is going to be an issue in the plot of the story (other than to direct the romance of course). Instead the drama is all about Harry's background, his being raised by radical parents who had to flee the country, and in doing so leaving Harry as a 12 year old boy with a warrant on his head should he venture back to England from his home in France. But Harry does in fact return after his parents' deaths, and reunite with their friend Silas (to whom Harry owes his life), and who runs a print shop that happens to deal with inflammatory and secretive pamphlets that would easily get him hanged if discovered. When his Uncle Richard (his father's brother) finds him there to bring him back into the family fold, it's with the clear understanding that his past, where he's been, and how he grew up must be kept hidden from society. While Harry can immerse himself in this new life of wealth and status, he can't change the deep held feeling inside him for the people in the position he used to be in - the public servants, the ordinary workers, the oppressed. He's hard pressed to hold his tongue when in the presence of the very Lords who are a part of the problem. Caught between a rock and a hard place, discovering that his tutor has the same lustful feelings towards him as he has towards him, and with attempted threats on his life, it's no wonder that this story kept me up late flipping pages faster and faster! I loved the slow burn romance between Julius and Harry as they discover the men behind the facades, and the will to be together no matter the cost. With the fascinating politics, fashion and society manners of the time expertly revealed, it was a joy to read. 5 stars.
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    m/m romance and class conflict

    Historical m/m that digs deeper into realistic history and class structure than most. Much as I love Regency romances (even the fluffier ones), it's nice to see one like this, which doesn't ignore the fact that not everyone was rich and privileged during that period. If you like a little magic with your m/m, check out Charles's "The Magpie Lord" too!
(29)

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