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Band Sinister

Friday, November 16, 2018

Band Sinister (2018) K.J. Charles

Set in England in the 1800s.

This is probably the sweetest KC Charles book I’ve read. It’s a M/M romance, and there is boinking, but there is less boinking than I’ve come to expect, and I absolutely adore the main characters.

Guy Frisby and his sister Amanda live in seclusion. Their mother was a scandal, their father squandered his fortune, forcing them to be dependent upon their aunt, who is acting in what she believes to be their best interests. Never able to leave the small town where they live, Guy spends much of his time continuing his studies, while Amanda has written a gothic novel–loosely based upon their neighbor and his friends.

“It’s all perfectly decent,” Amanda said. “Or at least, if it isn’t, the indecent parts are only hinted at, which means they’re in your head. I can’t be held responsible for your thoughts going awry.” “Oh yes you can,” Guy said with feeling.

Sir Philip Rookwood was never supposed to be their heir. But his older brother ran off with a married woman, and then died, leaving Philip an estate in which he has no interest. So he spends his time with his friends–a supposed Hellfire club called the Murder.

Sir Philip never hosted balls, or dinners, or made any effort to meet his peers or cultivate his tenants. Upsettingly for the narrative, he was an excellent if eccentric landlord, possessed of a superbly efficient steward. This was deeply resented by landowners who had more moral character but were less prompt in carrying out repairs.

They have some rather shocking ideas.”

“Shocking ideas about rocks?”


“Goodness,” Amanda said dubiously.

The plot is similar in some ways to Georgette Heyer’s Venetia, but different in important ways to make a unique and lovely story. Where it’s similar is the horse riding accident, and the love the two siblings have for one another, where the elder of the two has given up much of their life to look out for the other.

Except that the romance is between Guy and Philip (although Amanda is not left dependent up on her brother and his lover at the end of the book). There are of course misunderstandings, some of which were due fact that homosexual men were forced to keep themselves hidden, lest they be jailed or even executed. But those misunderstandings are always cleared up by the two of them talking to each other.

The Bible does tell us that the sins of the parent are to be visited upon the child.”

“The New Testament tells us that children belong to the kingdom of God,” Frisby said. “And that the erring woman was forgiven, and that only he who is without sin is entitled to cast a stone at her. I’d rather hold to that.”

On of best parts of the book were the love between Guy and Amanda. They clearly and truly are devoted to each other, and one will do anything for the other.

“Don’t talk nonsense.”

“You look wonderful,” Guy repeated. “Because you aren’t feverish and you aren’t lying there barely breathing and I’m not afraid of— of— Don’t do that again, Manda, please.”

I also liked that although all the characters had horrors in their past, their love and reliance for one another allows them to be strong and relatively healthy.

(T)hat’s how life tends to work in all its aspects. We try things out, and make mistakes, and recover, and learn from our experiences. We live, we learn.

I think if you’re going to forgive someone, you should do it, and not keep dragging things up afterwards, or it isn’t really forgiveness, is it?

OBVIOUSLY, I loved this bit.

“Glorious,” Philip said, shoulders shaking. “It takes a truly special gift to find indecency in flowers.”

“Not at all,” Street said. “They’re disgraceful things. Notoriously promiscuous with bees and butterflies.”

The one thing I’d ding the story for is that there are a LOT of characters, all with their own complicated backstories, and to be honest it would have been helpful to have a cast of characters to keep them straight at the beginning.

Otherwise, I really loved this story.

Publisher: KJC Books
Rating: 8.5/10

Categories: 8.5/10, 8/10, British, Historical, LGBT, Romance, Sexual Content     Comments (0)    

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