Welcome to my review o the first in a new historic series, A Society of Gentlemen by K.J, Charles. Please read on for my review, be sure to read the excerpt, and don’t forget to see what other readers thought about the title by checking the tour stops and don’t forget to enter the tour wide giveaway where you could win a Loveswept Prize pack including Loveswept and Flirt mugs and an eBook bundle of Select titles.
A Fashionable Indulgence
In a detail laden opening, the time and the political tumult of 1819 will play a large part in the story, and Charles is careful to give readers sufficient background to set their understanding for the story to proceed smoothly. And then we are off and running!
I couldn’t help but keep making references to Pygmalion (My Fair Lady) with Julius and Harry’s story, although Harry wasn’t quite on the streets selling flowers, his position and lack of connections, title and money made him very much the perfect recipient of the polishing up that Julius could provide.
Harry’s family is impoverished and radicalized, and always had a fascination and desire for more. While his ‘defection’ could have been seen as hypocritical for all he had known, his struggle with his beliefs and the new life and riches he so desperately wants is understandable and easy to understand. He’s not perfect, but he does have a heart and soul, and both are clearly apparent to readers. Julius, on the other hand, is a bit of a tough nut to crack: he’s a snob in every sense of the word, with a single glance he can accurately measure one’s wealth, position and upbringing. But then, it was the time when the smallest missteps in dress or deportment could mark you as coarse, unpolished, or worse; a fraud. So he sets out to polish and school Harry, giving him the gift of his knowledge and insight, as their relationship grows steadily from mentor to friend to lovers. His transformation from aloof and sarcastic man to one who could trust and share his biggest secrets was a wonderful arc and added greatly to the story.
These two grew and developed in a way that felt natural and plausible, all set against the background of political tumult and strife, social upheaval and the tyrannical grip of government and tonne. Readers are more familiar with the ballrooms and machinations of that rather rigidly constrained social group, never truly seeing the lives of those belowstairs or not invited into the drawing rooms. Charles balances the two with this story, giving potential and breath to an unusual and unconventional couple who are sure to enchant readers.
Title: A Fashionable Indulgence
Author: K.J. Charles
Series: A Society of Gentlemen #1
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by: Loveswept
Published on: 11 August, 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 8 Hours: 47 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google See this Title on Goodreads
In the first novel of an explosive new series from K. J. Charles, a young gentleman and his elegant mentor fight for love in a world of wealth, power, and manipulation.
When he learns that he could be the heir to an unexpected fortune, Harry Vane rejects his past as a Radical fighting for government reform and sets about wooing his lovely cousin. But his heart is captured instead by the most beautiful, chic man he’s ever met: the dandy tasked with instructing him in the manners and style of the ton. Harry’s new station demands conformity—and yet the one thing he desires is a taste of the wrong pair of lips.
After witnessing firsthand the horrors of Waterloo, Julius Norreys sought refuge behind the luxurious facade of the upper crust. Now he concerns himself exclusively with the cut of his coat and the quality of his boots. And yet his protégé is so unblemished by cynicism that he inspires the first flare of genuine desire Julius has felt in years. He cannot protect Harry from the worst excesses of society. But together they can withstand the high price of passion.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
This book may be unsuitable for people under 18 years of age due to drug and alcohol use / violence and/or sexual content in a genre not specified as Erotic.
Silas made a face. “Alexander Vane married Euphemia Gordon. You were born a Vane, you lived as a Gordon, not hard to make the link. It doesn’t make a difference, lad. They’ve nothing, or they’d have arrested you by now. Keep a closed mouth and no harm will befall, understand?”
“Right.” Harry felt a sinking sensation in his gut. “Yes. Right. Uh, Silas . . .”
There was a short pause.
“Hell’s tits.” Silas took his hand off Harry’s shoulder. “What did you do, you bloody fool?”
“Nothing!” Harry protested. “Really, it wasn’t much.” He swallowed, aware this would not sound impressive. “I was in the Spotted Cat—”
“Were you tupping the barmaid?” George asked eagerly.
“No.” Harry had, a few times, and he’d hoped to do so again last night, but he’d found himself rejected for a man with a catskin waistcoat and a pocketful of silver. “I went for a jug of ale and a man bumped into me. Spilled my drink. Bought me another.”
“For Christ’s sake.” Silas growled in his throat. “How many drinks?”
A lot. Much of it gin. Harry had had the devil’s own head all day, but that was nothing compared to the lurking fear that he’d said something he shouldn’t. “Uh, a few. We talked, idly.” Silas gave him a look of combined exasperation and resignation that made Harry flush. “I didn’t say anything of importance! Nothing about here. Just, uh, about my travels on the Continent.”
“Did you tell him who your parents were?”
“No.” Harry swallowed. “But I did say that they were . . . political.”
“Blast you, Harry.” Silas put his hands through his cropped, grizzled hair. “Who was this fellow?”
“I don’t know. He had red hair, like a Scotsman, but an English voice. Slim. Brown eyes. He said his name was . . . something odd, what was it . . . Cyprian? Do you know him?”
Silas shook his head. “If he’s an informer, he’s a new one. No less dangerous for it. You’re a damned fool.”
“I’m sorry. I just wanted a drink.”
Harry sounded plaintive. He felt plaintive. Since the cholera had taken his parents and left him orphaned in Paris, aged seventeen and a known democratic agitator, life had been hand to mouth. He’d returned to London, hoping things might be easier there, but men and women were out of work across all of England thanks to the new machines, the endless taxes, and the war. There had been no work for a friendless youth. He’d had only the old radical crowd to turn to, and that was no great comfort, with the law ever harsher against them.
Harry hadn’t wanted to be a radical again. He didn’t want the fight, the fear, any of it. But his heart had lightened with that old boyhood feeling—or, rather, illusion—of safety when he’d come back to Theobald’s Bookshop for the first time in more than a decade. When he’d walked in and seen Silas there, grizzled and lined now as befitted his forty years, but still thick-muscled and indomitable, still setting his face against the world, it had felt like coming home.
Not an easy home. Silas’s rough, powerful embrace, once he recognized the hungry young man in Frenchy rags, had been all the welcome Harry could have hoped for, and he’d given Harry work and what wages he could without question, but he would never be a comfortable man to live with. It didn’t surprise Harry that nobody dared try.
Silas was glaring at him now as though it were a crime for a man to seek a jug of ale and a warm body to hold. Harry hadn’t even had the latter, since the barmaid had preferred coin to compliments.
It had crossed his mind last night that his drinking companion, the fellow Cyprian, might be amenable. Harry wasn’t at all averse to a man in his bed when he couldn’t have a woman, and Cyprian was quite appealing in a foxy sort of way, except for that dreadful hair. Thank God that, even in his befuddled state, Harry had decided not to make an approach. Sedition was bad enough; sodomy could see a man hanged.
“Nothing happened. I’m sure I didn’t say anything important,” Harry told himself as much as Silas. “It was probably innocent. Just a man wanting company.”
Silas grunted. “Well, we’ll face trouble when it comes. Enough of this nonsense, back to work. Watch your back. And don’t sup with strangers again.”
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