A Fashionable Indulgence (A Society of Gentlemen Book 1) by KJ Charles ~ Book Review by Josie Goodreads

A-Society-of-GentlemenTitle: A Fashionable Indulgence (A Society of Gentlemen Book 1)

Author: KJ Charles

Publisher: Penguin

Cover Artist: Loveswept Cover Department

Rating: 5.00 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 08/11/2015

Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)

Genre: Historical, M/M Romance, Regency

Blurb:

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.

My View:

In 1808 12 year old Harry Vane became a fugitive from English justice. His radical parents failed to incite an uprising and were forced to flee to the continent taking Harry with them. After his parent’s death from cholera Harry survived hand to mouth, alone, eventually arriv-ing back in London seeking refuge with his parent’s old friends and contemporaries. In 1819 Harry is tracked down by his cousin Lord Richard Vane. It seems that his embittered grandfather Gideon now needs an heir to succeed him. Harry’s father, Gideon’s son, turned his back on privilege and wealth for the love of Harry’s mother and now Harry is offered a chance to gain the life he never would have imagined could be his.

Harry is taken under the wing of Julius Norrey’s, his cousin Richard’s friend. Julius is tasked with teaching Harry how to be a gentleman, how to conduct himself among the Ton, how to eradicate his old life once and for all. At first it seems that Harry can have his cake and eat it too but soon he finds that everything has a price. Torn between his growing relationship with Julius and his increasingly bitter feelings towards the upper class he walks among can Harry embrace the future his grandfather plans for him? Does he even want to, and does he even have a choice anymore?

I love KJ Charles’s writing but I’ll admit I’m scared of her darker stories. The Magpie Lord series sits on my Kindle taunting me, so it was with eager anticipation that I awaited her new Regency historical series, Society of Gentlemen. The books follow a group of entitled young men known as the Richardians and in book one, A Fashionable Indulgence we along with Harry are introduced to the decadent world of the Ton (the upper classes) that existed in the pre industrial revolution twilight. Harry is introduced to a world that would send eleven men to parliament for a small borough of London and none for a city like Manchester of over fifty thousand inhabitants. A world of stark inequality, a world teetering on the edge of revo-lution. Harry struggles to find his place, which is complicated by his feelings for Julius and soon he finds he has choices to make.

I adored A Fashionable Indulgence. With its nod to Pygmalion, the idea of transforming a duck into a swan is enticing. The story is exquisitely almost beautifully written. I loved the old words of the English language scattered throughout the story which added authenticity to the period, even though half the time I struggled to find the meaning of them! I enjoyed reading about the clothes, the styles and also about social inequality; it was like a history lesson wrapped up in a story that made sense of the facts. I know so little about this period of English history and the story doesn’t hide anything as Harry finds to his cost. What starts out as a frivolous lark soon shows its more serious and damming side.

Harry comes over as quite naive initially, he wants to be rich, he wants nice clothes, to be warm and fed, to have a roof over his head, and thinks any price is worth paying for that until he’s faced with the price he must pay. Julius, he made my heart break, the pain he carried with him was so deep and painful that I desperately wanted him to get his chance at happiness, the horror of his past made me weep for him.

The other characters stand out as well, like Harry’s cousin Richard Vane, torn between Harry and Gideon, walking a fine line between his principles and his feelings. Dominic Frey, Rich-ards’s friend and ex-lover who tries to help Harry at the risk of his career. Cyprian, Richard’s valet, come man of everything, what he didn’t now or wouldn’t do was scary, and Sirus, Har-ry’s childhood friend and purveyor of sedition, he stood head and shoulders above them all as a steadfast and a principled man, the kind of man who would remain Harry’s friend whatever choices he made.

A Fashionable Indulgence has it all, joy, laughter, excitement, suspense and hand wringing tension. It was everything I hoped it would be and I’m eager for the next book A Seditious Affair, due out on 15th December. I hate to wish my life away but I really can’t wait.

Links

A Fashionable Indulgence (A Society of Gentlemen Book 1) on Goodreads
Penguin
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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