Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Lie back and think of England…
England, 1904. Two years ago, Captain Archie Curtis lost his friends, three fingers, and future to a terrible military accident in Africa. Was it only an accident, though? Alone, purposeless and angry, Curtis is determined to discover if he and his comrades were the victims of fate, or of sabotage.
Curtis’s search takes him to an isolated, ultra-modern country house, where he meets and instantly clashes with fellow guest Daniel da Silva. Effete, decadent, foreign, and all-too-obviously queer, the sophisticated poet is everything the straightforward British officer fears and distrusts. Still the opposites attract, right?
As events unfold, Curtis realizes that Daniel has his own secret intentions. And there’s something else they share—a mounting sexual tension that leaves Curtis reeling. As the house party’s elegant facade cracks to reveal treachery, blackmail and murder, Curtis finds himself needing clever, dark-eyed Daniel as he has never needed a man before…
Warning: Contains explicit male/male encounters, ghastly historical attitudes, and some extremely stiff upper lips.
What I liked:
The sense of humour. Some scenes between both protagonists were simply too funny not to quote them. Here is one: Archie Curtis stumbles in the dark and falls on da Silva.
‘‘Jesus!’’ he yelped.
‘‘I fear not,’’ said a silky voice, and Curtis realized that he had collided with da Silva. ‘‘Both Jewish, of course, but the resemblance ends there.’’
It went only better. The relative straightforwardness of Archie and effeminate intellectualism of Daniel were a powerful mix, able to carry even a far weaker story. And this story was far from weak.
Yes, the novel had an actual plot which, surprise, surprise was equally important if not more important that the m/m romance itself, go figure. It was nothing less than a proper historical fiction book, mentioning correctly such events as the Boer Wars in Africa, not a romp masquerading as ‘his-fic’ just to throw in some obnoxiously rich dukes, viscounts and whatsnots. There were multiple chapters or scenes in which da Silva was not even present or, if he was, the scenes in question didn’t focus on him. I admit I was impressed.
The author possesses uniquely beautiful writing style, definitely created for historical fiction or fantasy. Words seem to come so naturally to her and she always takes in consideration the context and the period she is writing about.
Finally the author made me a really happy reader featuring two very likeable and intelligent females beside a horrible one. Pat and Fen added to the story a lot as they defied so many cliches!
What I didn’t like:
The secondary characters looked like accessories or necessity to further the narration alone. As much as I enjoyed every single scene featuring Archie and Daniel, I love shadowy baddies and those presented in this book were simply too forgettable for my taste. Pity.
My last carping: this novel definitely has a huge series potential. I rarely say that but I would really love to read a sequel. Or even a third part. Or the fourth. Pretty please.
A captivating writing style, a bit dark and angsty m/m romance, great sense of humour, an interesting plot, good enough atmosphere to never question the historicity of the novel – these are huge advantages of Think of England. I recommend it wholeheartedly if you like murder mysteries set in the English countryside at the beginning of the 20th century and m/m pairing doesn’t offend your sensibilities too much.
Other books by K.J. Charles reviewed here so far: