Society of Gentlemen is set at a time of incredible privilege for the few and social turmoil for the many. Regency England is torn by war, poverty and social unrest, ruled by a draconian government. People are starving, rioting, rebelling. But the aristocrats dance on, in their glittering existence of balls, gambling, silks and scandal…
The trilogy covers three couples between autumn 1819 and spring 1820. A young Radical discovers his noble birth and is catapulted into a world of privilege, fashion and murder with a dandy as his guide. A government official and a revolutionary seditionist find common ground in their unconventional desires, under the threat of the gallows. And a lord in love with his valet struggles to find a way across the social abyss that divides them.
Each book is a standalone romance but the plots are linked. (And all three novels were rated Desert Island Keeper, the highest honour at All About Romance!)
“You can certainly read Ruin as a standalone and Fashionable Indulgence works as a single story too, but to truly appreciate the magnificence of this series you need to read the whole lot of them, preferably one after the other. This is because the stories are as intimately entwined as the lovers.”–Sinfully
Reading order is
- The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh
- A Fashionable Indulgence
- A Seditious Affair
- A Confidential Problem (short interlude, available free here)
- A Gentleman’s Position
- A Private Miscellany (short coda, available by subscription to my newsletter)
You can find a complete cast list here. Well, they’re biggish books.
The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh
The youngest son and the blackest sheep in his family, Lord Gabriel Ashleigh never imagined he could sink so low. Though he’s a notoriously bad gambler, he takes on the formidable but strangely alluring Francis Webster, only to lose everything: all his money, the lovely estate he inherited from his aunt, and any hope of future happiness. So it’s a shock when Webster summons him to a private game for a chance to win back his possessions. The stake? If he fails, Ash must surrender his body.
Francis has been waiting years for this moment. At Eton, Ash’s elder brother harassed him relentlessly. Now, consumed by lust and rage, Francis is only too happy to exploit Ash’s foolish indiscretions. But as Francis strips the magnificently built youth—first of his family assets, then his clothes—he begins to wonder whether he’s been plotting revenge . . . or exquisite seduction.
PLEASE NOTE. This is the same story as originally appeared in the anthology Another Place in Time. Do not buy this if you have that. (If you don’t have it, it’s a terrific anthology of m/m historical romance with some fabulous authors, and all the proceeds go to All Out.)
“Her writing is fantastic, her characters are complex and flawed and realistic, and she perfectly balances historical details with plot. For only a dollar, you really can’t go wrong!” Just Love, 5*
A Fashionable Indulgence
When he learns that he could be the heir to an unexpected fortune, Harry Vane rejects his past as a radical fighting for government reform and sets about wooing his lovely cousin. But his heart is captured instead by the most beautiful, chic man he’s ever met: the dandy tasked with instructing him in the manners and style of the ton. Harry’s new station demands conformity—and yet the one thing he desires is a taste of the wrong pair of lips.
After witnessing firsthand the horrors of Waterloo, Julius Norreys sought refuge behind the luxurious facade of the upper crust. Now he concerns himself exclusively with the cut of his coat and the quality of his boots. And yet his protégé is so unblemished by cynicism that he inspires the first flare of genuine desire Julius has felt in years. He cannot protect Harry from the worst excesses of society. But together they can withstand the high price of passion.
“I’m giving A Fashionable Indulgence a wholehearted recommendation. Ms Charles has created a cast of memorable characters in her club of “Ricardians”, all of whom are three dimensional ; the writing is superb with a strong feel for time and place, and all the relationships –the friendships as well as the romantic ones – are very strongly written. I will definitely be reading the other books in this series as soon as I can get my hands on them.” – All About Romance, grade A
A Seditious Affair
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.
Let me tell you why this novel is so phenomenal that I skipped two meals and disconnected my phone so I could read it uninterrupted. … heart-wrenching romances, clever characters, buckets of chemistry, and a conflict that keeps your turning pages as fast as your e-reader allows you. (Just Love, 5*)
Ms Charles has done an amazing job of weaving a compelling and deeply romantic love story through the rich tapestry of real historical events. … I was completely won over by both Silas and Dominic, who are wonderfully drawn, strong characters, and by the sheer depth of emotion that lies between them… Without doubt, A Seditious Affair is one of the best books I’ve read this year. (All About Romance, A+)
This book is, in all ways, an absolute triumph for KJ Charles. (Binge on Books)
This book owns me. It grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let me go. 5 stars are not enough for the best historical I’ve ever read. (Gay Book Reviews, 5+*)
KJ Charles writes some of the most inventive historical romances around, and A Seditious Affair is one of my favorites. … The stakes are high and deeply felt, and once you start, there’s no way to stop reading this one. (Courtney Milan)
Many congratulations to K.J. Charles proving that it can be done. Romance can incorporate meaty socio-economic and political context into the story-telling. And the resulting tale can be riveting and most definitely hot. (Smart Bitches Trashy Books, A grade, Keeper Shelf)
A Gentleman’s Position
Among his eccentric though strictly principled group of friends, Lord Richard Vane is the confidant on whom everyone depends for advice, moral rectitude, and discreet assistance. Yet when Richard has a problem, he turns to his valet, a fixer of unparalleled genius—and the object of Richard’s deepest desires. If there is one rule a gentleman must follow, it is never to dally with servants. But when David is close enough to touch, the rules of class collide with the basest sort of animal instinct: overpowering lust.
For David Cyprian, burglary and blackmail are as much in a day’s work as bootblacking—anything for the man he’s devoted to. But the one thing he wants for himself is the one thing Richard refuses to give: his heart. With the tension between them growing to be unbearable, David’s seemingly incorruptible master has left him no choice. Putting his finely honed skills of seduction and manipulation to good use, he will convince Richard to forget all about his well-meaning objections and give in to sweet, sinful temptation.
“The realities of class, societal mores and politics heighten the tension in this emotional, deeply romantic look at the remarkable lengths we will go for love.”–Washington Post
“As usual with KJ the history is spot on but not to the point where one feels as though one is being educated, there’s far too much plot and incident for that. Also character is the most important thing in the story arc. Every single plot point, every action, is derived from the fundamental character of the man performing it. The conflicts are real and the dangers are deadly and when the chips are down the only man for the job is little foxy Cyprian. Oh it’s glorious. The only downside is that the story is finished and I’m devastated about that.”–Sinfully (5*)
“Everything I enjoy in a historical romance can be found in A Gentleman’s Position. Accurate, confident and luscious, the writing brings Lord Richard Vane and his ‘fox’, David Cyprian, to glorious life.”–All About Romance (A)
“KJ pulled it off flawlessly, writing Richard’s doubts and Cyprian’s desires in such a way that the relationship is not only plausible, but perfect. … The rest of the plot was riveting, and I couldn’t read fast enough to find out what would happen next.” — Just Love Romance (5*)
“Charles’s writing was the best I’ve read in this book. … the ending was everything I could’ve wanted and more. Brilliant writing and storytelling! Highly recommend!”–Gay Book Reviews (5*)