ROMANCE

The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen

Sourcebooks Casablanca (The Doomsday Books, Bk. 1). Mar. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9781728255859. pap. $16.99. LGBTQIA+ ROMANCE
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Charles (Subtle Blood; “A Charm of Magpies” series) successfully balances a complicated suspense plot and an emotionally resonant romance. Gareth Inglis has never felt wanted, which causes him to lash out when he feels he might be hurt. After the untimely death of his father and his inheritance of a baronetcy in Kent, he must confront his past, including a former partner he parted with on bad terms. Joss Doomsday thought he’d never see the man he knew as “London” again after they quarreled the last time they saw each other. When Gareth appears as the heir to a baronetcy in the area, he assumes their paths won’t cross, until Gareth spots Joss’s sister on a nighttime smuggling run and decides to present evidence, something Joss is determined to stop. A rocky reunion gives way to a lasting connection as Joss and Gareth reunite and discover more about themselves. Charles skillfully sketches the early 19th-century Kentish marshes, allowing readers to understand the geography of the story without overwhelming them.
VERDICT This novel launches a delightful new Regency romance series from Charles; readers will be eagerly anticipating the next installment.
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