Title ~ A Seditious Affair (Society of Gentlemen #2)
Author ~ K.J. Charles
Publisher ~ Loveswept
Published ~ 15th December 2015
Genre ~ Historical M/M Romance
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.
Advance praise for A Seditious Affair
“This book is so good I read it in one sitting. I just couldn’t put it down. K. J. Charles has long been one of my favorite authors, and this book doesn’t disappoint. A Seditious Affair is a beautiful love story interwoven with the realism of the political unrest of the time—another winner from K. J. Charles!”—USA Today bestselling author Carole Mortimer
I’m sure we’ve all read those books where the romance is king. They can be delicious, filled with incident and angst, passion and fidelity, but the setting is very much secondary to the relationship. Honestly it wouldn’t really matter whether the heroes were dealing with codpieces, candlelight and horses, or top hats, gas lamps and Hansom cabs, or for that matter compression suits, lux panels and warp drives, the period, the props etc are just a little window dressing that we visit in much the same way as a pebble skips across the surface of a pond.
Well, A Seditious Affair isn’t like that. It’s more like falling into bracingly cold water in which all kinds of things with teeth are lurking. Yes, it’s got romance in it but it has all the foundations to support it, incredible set piece action scenes, skull duggery, double dealing, chases, panicky escapes and some heart breaking true stories mixed in with the fiction. This book is rooted so deeply in the social mores, the politics, the incidents of the times that it could not work anywhen else.
The action in this book takes place in part at the same time as the previous book in the series, A Fashionable Indulgence, which should be read first. In my review of A Fashionable Indulgence, I mentioned the turmoil of the period. Social grievance fostered, in part, by the example of the revolutionaries in France and in part by better communications and increased literacy, contributed to growing militancy amongst the poorer classes expressed most famously by the Luddites, the Tolpuddle Martyrs and the Chartists. The government, landowners and new industrial entrepreneurs reacted with panicky viciousness – just think of the 1% without any kind of human rights agreement to restrict them – and imprisoned, flogged, hanged or transported anyone they could catch.
One of the men charged with catching and punishing these political dissidents is Dominic Frey. One of the most critical of the radicals, writing and distributing scathing political pamphlets, is Silas Mason. It’s a sheer fluke that these two, knowing nothing of each other’s background, have been carrying out an intense somewhat brutal love affair every Wednesday evening. It’s inevitable that their lives should begin to overlap at other points than their short weekly meetings and as disaffection grows, as the radicals plot and plan, as the net around them tightens, it’s inevitable that, at some point, Silas’s life and Dominic’s soul should be in the balance.
Much as I loved A Fashionable Indulgence, I think I love this one more for reasons I really can’t go into because of spoilers. What I can say is how much joy I took in seeing these two men with such diametrically opposed views yet immense mutual respect, go from squabbling, to listening, to comprehending each other’s views, their love increasing with their sympathy, but without either of them giving an inch in their personal beliefs of what is right and true. But when Silas’s immoveable object meets the irresistible force of the law something has to give. My heart broke. I’m not one to sob over a book, but I’ll admit to having a tight throat on a couple of occasions. It’s all glorious.
It was also really good fun to see the other members of the Society of Gentlemen cast again, especially to see Harry and Julius through other less sympathetic eyes and discover more about the astonishing, and increasingly scary Cyprian. The third part of the series, A Gentleman’s Position isn’t out until January, but at least that gives me something to look forward to in the dark month of the year.
Read A Fashionable Indulgence first and then read this. It’s a cracker.
Meet KJ Charles
KJ Charles is a writer and freelance editor. She lives in London with her husband, two kids, an out-of-control garden and an increasingly murderous cat.
KJ writes mostly romance, gay and straight, frequently historical, and usually with some fantasy or horror in there. She specialises in editing romance, especially historical and fantasy, and also edits children’s fiction.