I’m pretty much an official* KJ Charles fangirl, so unsurprisingly, I’m loving this series so much. Yes, this would be one of the books where I just want to ❤ ❤ ❤ all over, and I’m doing my best to write something vaguely coherent.
I’ve said previously how Charles always brings the setting to life in her stories, be they fantastical, historical, or contemporary. This time round, it’s the politics of early 19th-century Britain that breath passion into A SEDITIOUS AFFAIR (one of my favourite reads of 2015).
A SEDITIOUS AFFAIR is the second book in her Society of Gentlemen series, and while it does work as a standalone romance, I do think you really have to read the preceding book to appreciate the full depth of the story here – events in the previous book continue to play out in this one.
K. J. Charles turns up the heat in her new Society of Gentlemen novel, as two lovers face off in a sensual duel that challenges their deepest beliefs.
Silas Mason has no illusions about himself. He’s not lovable, or even likable. He’s an overbearing idealist, a Radical bookseller and pamphleteer who lives for revolution . . . and for Wednesday nights. Every week he meets anonymously with the same man, in whom Silas has discovered the ideal meld of intellectual companionship and absolute obedience to his sexual commands. But unbeknownst to Silas, his closest friend is also his greatest enemy, with the power to see him hanged—or spare his life.
A loyal, well-born gentleman official, Dominic Frey is torn apart by his affair with Silas. By the light of day, he cannot fathom the intoxicating lust that drives him to meet with the Radical week after week. In the bedroom, everything else falls away. Their needs match, and they are united by sympathy for each other’s deepest vulnerabilities. But when Silas’s politics earn him a death sentence, desire clashes with duty, and Dominic finds himself doing everything he can to save the man who stole his heart.
Dom and Silas’s beliefs form the backbone of who they are. Both have such similar principles and yet diametrically-opposing politics; add in the fact that homosexual acts were illegal and secrecy therefore paramount, and the stage is set for a romance so impossible that you have to hold your breath as Dom and Silas try for their happily-ever-after. And trust me about the suspense – there were scenes of such high tension that I found myself flipping several pages forward to get reassurance that it would all work out.
And the book wasn’t just about Dom and Silas in isolation. The network of relationships that Dom and Silas have is fully-realised and plays a large part in the resolution of the plot – the Ricardians from previous books make an appearance (as always, I love seeing old friends from different POVs – Julius from A FASHIONABLE INDULGENCE is such a dandy!), plus we get to know a few more new characters in this book. I appreciate how Charles populates her books with diverse characters – it may be 19th-century Britain, but that doesn’t mean only white males existed then.
A SEDITIOUS AFFAIR was worth the wait – it’s one of those rare historical romances that both bring history to life and are truly romantic, and I cannot wait for the third book. (I mean that – I read the preview of A GENTLEMAN’S POSITION, and I kind of need it right now. May seems a very very long time away.)
*Just joking – I don’t think there’s actually such a thing.