elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: A Fashionable Indulgence by KJ Charles

A Fashionable Indulgence: A Society of Gentlemen Novel by KJ Charles
Gay Historical Romance
Publisher: Loveswept (August 11, 2015)
Amazon Kindle: A Fashionable Indulgence: A Society of Gentlemen Novel

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.

Historical romance is often hit or miss, since the authors have a tendency to use only what they've encountered in other historicals, particularly Regencies. KJ Charles is so thorough with her research, you feel transported rather than merely plopped down in a setting. The feel of the streets, the pulse of London at that time, the mannerisms, the speech patterns, the smallest details of fashion are all so beautifully accurate, so painstakingly verified, I never once felt the need to look up a possible anachronism. Add to that the specific time placement around actual events, and the setting becomes so much more than window dressing. The characters are fully voiced and fully realized, always flawed as real people are, but with the growth one hopes to see in a romance. The despicable often becomes sympathetic as we're drawn farther and farther into the motives and machinations of a London in social turmoil. A beautifully paced and presented work, A Fashionable Indulgence hits all the right notes to render dry history a lovely, emotional tapestry.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  The intrigue behind the making or breaking of a gentleman in a very tumultuous time had me riveted to the read. KJ Charles takes the reader through the political unrest in both the government and the Ton as easily as silk slides through one's fingers--smoothly and luxuriously, and wanting more.  The characters were well rounded and their background stories added to the intrigue to move the plot along at the nice pace.

This historical romance manages to balance out a love story, a social commentary, and a young man's coming of age, and do it well. I loved Julius - his veneer of perfection was clearly hiding something deeper, and I was fascinated to watch it revealed. I also enjoyed Harry. He was in a tough spot, and it was easy to sympathize with his desire after all the hard years, to live a life of ease. Harry's dilemma, choosing between a happy life and the deep ideals of his parents, had no easy solution, and that gave just a touch of bitterness to the romantic resolution.

Very strong Regency with authentic details, solid writing, and steamy m/m relationship. Assured writing from beginning to end and many plot twists make it an entertaining read.

An emotional and entertaining historical romance! I liked the characters a lot, and the plot held my interest throughout.

It features a character who doesn’t know he’s descended from a wealthy family suddenly thrust into high society, and coached by a dandy obsessed with high-quality garments. It’s well-researched and a delightful read.

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Tags: rainbow awards 2015

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