Thanks to the publisher for the complimentary hard-copy ARC & the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Jess Everlee’s The Gentleman’s Book of Vices feels so distinctive to me—it’s a MM Victorian romance set in a grim London that’s relieved by sex, friendship, genuine goodwill, & love, & all of these good things are related somehow plot-wise to the creation & publication of erotic texts written by one hero & read devotedly by the other.
Charlie Price is engaged out of what he feels is necessity. But before his wedding he decides to conduct an investigation into the real identity of a favorite Queer erotica writer—secretly a bookshop owner named Miles Montague—in the hopes of getting his autograph.
Soon after both men are drawn into a relationship that consumes them with desire, even as the “Real World” continues beating at their door.
Both men have to make difficult choices, particularly Charlie, who becomes aware of his privilege & for once wants to take a real & difficult stand for what’s right.
Everlee really builds up the suspense & the angst, & though I was frustrated for part of this plotline, by the end I was retrospectively happy about how it had all worked out as well as terribly relieved.
I love love the found family in this one & how Miles also realizes he can make new friends—that he can feel safe somewhere that isn’t home.
Though their relationship runs a bit fast for me—I felt like I was missing a little something from its arc—this is very good MM historical romance with a touching undercurrent of care & community that really warmed my heart. But also be advised this is not light reading material.
4.5⭐️. Out 11/29.
CWs: Imprisonment & death of Miles’s previous partner. Previous blackmail. References to self-destructive behavior. Shame surrounding Alma’s (Charlie’s former fiancé) pregnancy & the lingering effects of that labor. Her parents made her give up baby for adoption.
Give me that HEA, please.
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