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A Fashionable Indulgence

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A Fashionable Indulgence (2016) K. J. Charles

Set in London in 1819

As I continue to read backwards through this series, we come to the story of Justin and Harry.

Harry’s father was disowned by his family, and took his wife’s name, Gordon. The family ended up on the continent when they were charged with sedition and incitement to riot when Harry was 12. After the death of his remaining son and grandson, grandfather Vane seeks out Harry, so that he might have a male to inherit.

Julius is a dandy who befriends few, and speaks to fewer of his past. After Richard Vane finds Harry and takes him from where he was working at a bookstore, Julius is given the task of taking the young man and turning him into a young gentleman.

“Manners are so important.” He glanced at Gideon. “And, as you observed, he cannot learn them at home.”

“Harry’s home is with me now,” Gideon pointed out.

“So it is,” Mr. Norreys agreed amiably.

“In any case,” Lord Richard put in, “Julius is quite right. I am very happy to introduce Harry to his peers, but as to helping him achieve the correct style there is nobody better qualified than Julius. You doubtless know the Norreys of Wiltshire, Cousin Gideon.”

Julius feels himself Pygmalion to Harry’s Galatea, and in matters of style, he is correct.

“G-good afternoon, uh, J-Julius.”

“Without stuttering. You are permitted to speak. I may even, on occasion, require your opinion.” He obviously noticed Harry’s alarm. “You need not fear being wrong. I shall tell you if you are wrong.”

“Yes, sir.”

Julius.”

“Julius.” Harry just managed to bite back the “sir.”

In matters of life and love, however, Harry is no innocent to be taken advantage of, which is a major strength of this story. It initially feels as if the power between the two is uneven, but it becomes clear that although Julius may be a man of society, he is nearly naive when it comes to some aspects of the world, and I quite liked that.

I want you to decide, so it’s nothing to do with me. I want to remain untouched by it. I want it to be out of my hands, not my choice, forgettable.

I’m a coward.

“He’s doing remarkably well. Blood will out.”

Julius tilted his head, acknowledging the sentiment rather than agreeing. In his view, Harry would be a success because of his modesty, his quick smile and eager pursuit of enjoyment, the sheer joy he took in his new life. None of those were characteristics of the well-bred people he knew.

There is, of course, lots of boinking in this story. But there is also a very good story. I enjoyed the slow discovery of Julius’ past, and why he was so damaged. I liked seeing Harry come into his own, and be forced to decide what was truly important to him. And I liked Verona, who was in a weaker position than Harry, and had some regret over how she used him.

Publisher: Loveswept
Rating: 8/10

Categories: 8/10, British, Historical, LGBT, Romance, Sexual Content     Comments (0)    



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