Book Review by Mel: A Fashionable Indulgence, by K.J. Charles

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A Fashionable Indulgence, by K. J. Charles
Series: Society of Gentlemen, Book #1
Publisher: Loveswept (Penguin Random House)
Release Date: August 11, 2015

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars5-of-5


In the first novel of an explosive new series from K. J. Charles, a young gentleman and his elegant mentor fight for love in a world of wealth, power, and manipulation.

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.


M/M Pairing
Bisexual Character
Gay Character
Historical Romance
Class Differences

Review by Mel

It’s oddly soothing and therapeutic to write this review on the day of doom, aka the day of the election results in the US. I wasn’t sure whether I would be writing a review for this book at all, because many people have already read it and, well, maybe it would also be nice to take a break from reviewing once in a while.

But this book gives me hope.

We can learn a lot from history, and while I think there is often an emphasis on learning how to not repeat bad history, we can also see development and how everything improves in the long run. Um… I might be oversimplifying here, I know. And what comfort does it bring to know that there always are and have been people who are/have been off worse? However, with thoughts and writing and art and everything, we always frame reality and give it a personalised focus.

And mine today is hope.

For a better future. A Fashionable Indulgence tells an incredibly beautiful love story before the background of class difference and sedition. The rights of the poor, of women, of queer people were close to non-existent, and yet, in this book they persevere and get to live a better and happier life than the life they started out with.

It’s fiction and it is framing reality, but history shows us that, yes, indeed, life is better in general today than it was back then. It’s never fast enough. It’s no help for the individual in their personal burden.

But it can give us hope.

To persevere. To keep going. To look into the future with more than just dread.

Getting more into detail of the book now, A Fashionable Indulgence emits a very strong sense of time and place and comes alive on the page. The language, the descriptions, the interactions between the characters all seem true and together build a strong and dense image of events past. It was a delight to dive into this world and to get to know Harry and Julius, and also several secondary characters who add to the story and setting, and I am delighted to see that some of them will get their own books in the series.

To comment on the romance, let me just shout: Harry & Julius forever!!! My heart broke for them and was put together in the best way. These kisses. Damn.

Harry made a little noise of pleasure in his throat, but continued his slow, soft kisses, hands still locked between them in front of pounding hearts, so that only their lips touched. But that was enough. Harry kissed him in the warm night, and Julius allowed himself to be kissed, allowed the intimacy and the closeness and the wetness of it, until Harry’s flesh felt so familiar that he could forget it wasn’t his own.

I don’t often feel like naming favourite couples in fiction. That is just something that I don’t even think about. Usually. But the thought struck me here, about Harry and Julius.  What they build together is just, ahhhh, so, so, so wonderful. I don’t even have words. Luckily, Charles does have them…

If I could, I should have you at my side to remind me that I am alive, because I have not felt alive in so damned long, and with you, I do. No, I don’t want you to marry, any more than I want you to return to your dirty democrats. I want to show you the world, and see you smile, and keep you with me while my soul grows back.

The plot of the book is surprisingly exciting and suspenseful even. Like, OMG, what and how and this can never end well… I was on the edge of my seat reading this, and I loved it. A book can get too stressful for me to read very soon (especially if there is too much angst around the romance and relationship), but this wasn’t the case here. I’d describe it more as gripping and it’s like being lead forward by a secure hand that knows what it’s doing.

What a fool I’ve been for not reading this book earlier—or, to be more precise, for stopping after 15% last year, because I was too exhausted to read or something… I’m thrilled there are more books in the series and I’m diving right into the next one. YES  😀

I highly recommend this book and I’d daresay the whole series, so get on with it, if you haven’t already  😉


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.

Find her on Twitter @kj_charles or on Facebook, join her Facebook group, or email her at kjcharleswriter {at] gmail {dot} com. She is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan, and published by Samhain and Loveswept.

You can purchase A Fashionable Indulgence from:
Barnes & Noble

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2 thoughts on “Book Review by Mel: A Fashionable Indulgence, by K.J. Charles

  1. Pingback: Book Review by Mel: A Seditious Affair, by K.J. Charles | Just Love: Queer Book Reviews

  2. Pingback: Book Review by Mel: A Gentleman’s Position, by K.J. Charles | Just Love: Queer Book Reviews

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