Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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.
A risky romance between two people who should be enemies, people divided by their political views, upbringing and class was hinted at in A Fashionable Indulgence, reviewed by me in January. It sounded very nice so I wanted to know how Mrs. Charles would tackle this one. Be careful what you wish for, right?
After reading the first book in the series I had already some info concerning both gents which whetted my appetite so to speak. Dom was a Tory working for Home Office as one of their main investigators in charge of capturing seditionists while Silas was a staunch radical owning a small bookshop, a secret and illegal source of seditious pamphlets written by him as Jack Cade. To make things even trickier Dom and Silas were meeting every Wednesday in a house of ill repute to have D/s sex without knowing each other’s identity. That ended abruptly when Dom had to take part in a raid on Silas’s bookshop and blew his cover. I admit I was intrigued by a conflict that intense between feelings, duties and beliefs and, wanting to see how the author explored it, I bought the book. However, as risky as this romance was set up, it didn’t read as thrilling as I expected.
Imagine my surprise when, for the majority of the novel, practically nothing new happened – no conflict, no fiery scenes, no unexpected twists and turns, only those Wednesdays. As I knew about them after reading the first part I was left wondering: why I was given nothing more in the second?
I am not a BDSM fan so the secret trysts between “Tory” and his “brute” didn’t satisfy me sufficiently, especially that the sex was described in a rather tame and crude way. Still to my surprise also in terms of plot the author didn’t move forward almost at all which was strange. In fact she repeated most of situations hinted at or described earlier. The death sentence mentioned in blurb? It happened but only in last quarter and it was hardly anything new either. Finally let me add that the change of heart Silas underwent near the end seemed a bit too convenient for my liking – such a dramatic set-up almost demanded more drastic measures. I hoped for the Romeo-and-Juliet ending. I got soap.
A major meh and a big disappointment but it cannot be assessed differently with the author just recycling previous ideas. I am not buying the third part, thank you very much. I feel I’ve wasted enough money already.
The cover: complete meh.
Other books by K.J. Charles reviewed on this blog:
- The Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpies 01)
- A Case of Possession (A Charm of Magpies 02)
- Flight of Magpies (A Charm of Magpies 03)
- Think of England
- Non-Stop Till Tokyo
- A Fashionable Indulgence (Society of Gentlemen 01)