July 20, 2016 by kitmoss
REVIEW: A FASHIONABLE INDULGENCE
by K. J. Charles
Publisher: : Loveswept (August 11, 2015)
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.
REVIEW by Christopher Hawthorne Moss
I have certainly been enjoying my little sojourn into Regency-era novels. I usually don’t care that much for them, mainly because all the viscounts and earls and dukes could not have existed, but now that I’ve read Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon as well as K.J. Charles, I am inclined to forgive that flight of fancy. One of the benefits is that you can have a gentleman consorting with less than gentlemen, sometimes even laborers, and that provides a rather refreshing look at male/male relationships. Harkening back to the Uranians’ belief in the best beneficial aspects of mixed-class connections, it can be a lot of fun as a modern American to see the fruition in these novels of the bit of liberty both men find. This first of the Society of Gentleman series gets right to the point, with one of the two men, Harry, not only being half one gentleman but also involved with radical politics in his youth. Having been involved in radical politics in my own youth, it was fun to watch how he handled arguments, the interpretation of news events, and his own sense of fair play. Harry doesn’t want to be poor; he wants to be a gentleman. But when having been trained to act like one he discovers the airy, intellectual approach to modern politics to be offensive, he can’t help but speak up.
You get a little look at his childhood at the beginning of this book. You can expect, as of course Harry does, that he might be much better off as a gentleman. He is already a good mimic of upper-class accents, so it takes a couple of months for his tutor, Julius, to get him acclimatized to the sartorial and mannerly habits of gentleman. He is then introduced to the Society of Gentleman, who appeared to be mostly same-sex appreciating fellows. When he is introduced to London society, sparks begin to fly as there has been a massacre of peaceful attendees of a speech by the yeoman guard. The topic comes up being in the news and of some concern to the landed gentry. Not only does Harry feel for the people who were killed for no reason but he has local contacts, leftist types who preach the overflow of the monarchy and are in danger whenever sedition is being routed up. Add to this that Harry is expected to marry, which at first he doesn’t mind, but when the woman he is engaged to treats them like crap he becomes convinced that she doesn’t want to be married any more than he does. And he most certainly does not want to marry a woman. He and Julius have broken through Julius’s own reluctance to become involved with anyone through the sheer joy and sunny disposition that Harry brings to the relationship.
It was fun and interesting to watch Harry’s reaction not only to the general public’s attitude towards the victims of the massacre but also of his reaction to the attitudes expressed by his Society of gentleman friends and others. The bald prejudice and sense of entitlement that these fellows express would be offensive to anyone who ever lived in anything resembling a democracy. The result is that it is no surprise when Harry, who dearly wants to be a gentleman , is expected to be compliant in quiet when the rather outrageous opinions are expressed by his “betters.” It is no surprise then that he is drawn back to his old seditionist society and expresses outrageous attitudes towards the complacent gentleman.
And of course it is a great pleasure to see a book about modern feminism that was written by Harry’s own mother find its way into his fiancé’s hands. It is a chance for people from this era of the early 21st century to see just how different things were in the 18 teams.