The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen

- KJ Charles


Abandoned by his father as a small child, Sir Gareth Inglis has grown up prickly, cold, and well-used to disappointment. Even so, he longs for a connection, falling headfirst into a passionate anonymous affair that’s over almost as quickly as it began. Bitter at the sudden rejection, Gareth has little time to lick his wounds: his father has died, leaving him the family title, a rambling manor on the remote Romney Marsh…and the den of cutthroats and thieves that make its intricate waterways their home.

Joss Doomsday has run the Doomsday smuggling clan since he was a boy. His family is his life…which is why when the all-too-familiar new baronet testifies against Joss’s sister for a hanging offense, Joss acts fast, blackmailing Gareth with the secret of their relationship to force him to recant. Their reunion is anything but happy and the path forward everything but smooth, yet after the dust settles, neither can stay away. It’s a long road from there—full of danger and mysteries to be solved—yet somehow, along the way, this well-mannered gentleman may at last find true love with the least likely of scoundrels.



Kent was still there.


* Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided. *

meh, nothing special:
I spent most of The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen trying to convince myself I was enjoying it. Unfortunately, there are a lot of parts that feel disjointed and don’t come together well in the end.

The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen is sold as a Regency romance, but it’s missing any elements that would place you in that setting. You can’t just call someone a baronet and drop all pretence of status and manners. There’s no witty banter or societal ladders to climb. There’s intermingling of all classes with barely a second thought, and Joss moves very freely through a society that should be much more difficult for him, even in a small town. I had to keep reminding myself of the time period because Charles most certainly did not. Maybe I was expecting too much Austen or even Klassen, but something was missing from the writing to really place you in this highly regulated society before breaking all the rules. I’m not saying you can’t write smutty Regency fiction; I’m just saying you have to follow at least some of the rules before you break them.
It doesn’t help that the smut was not very spicy – it read like someone going through the motions, almost detached from the actions. And if I see the word ‘prick’ again, I may have to roll my eyes right out of my head.
It’s pretty rare to finish a romance novel and feel cynical about the love story, but I kept thinking how unlikely Joss and Gareth would last as a couple without all of the excitement. Instalove plus adrenaline is fun, but they basically speak different languages, and the only thing holding them together is physical attraction. And I guess convenience since they now live near each other? Not exactly heartwarming pieces of a puzzle coming together.



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