"...but we know who is really the master here."
Worth the wait of several months since the last one. And when I say wait, I mean I'm impatient. It's only like five to six months between books, but they're that good and I'm that hooked on the characters.
There's a weird thing that's happened to me this series - at first I was intrigued at the concept with the first book, Harry and Julius in A Fashionable Indulgence. I had some issues with some of the plot complications in it not being some of my favorite tropes, but I enjoyed it overall. Still, when it was over I couldn't wait for the story of Dominic and Silas, it sounded even more intriguing. After months of waiting, I devoured A Seditious Affair, figuring that would be the book I wanted the most, but when I closed THAT one (a book better than the first, by the way), I couldn't wait for this third and final one, to show the relationship between Lord Richard and his valet, Cyprian.
Third time's a charm - or should I say, all three books were charms, but this is the biggest gem in the pack?
There's a reason why K.J. Charles remains my favorite romance novelist. She creates stories in different worlds and with different characters - some paranormal and others not - and makes them rock in all ways - personal, societal, wide-reaching, friendship. The Society of Gentlemen focuses on a few very different men who bond over much, namely their nonconventional and illegal sexual preferences. They all have heart, they all have issues and past hang-ups, but they all finally meet their matches in this series.
Fascinating blending - Lord Richard as always been the more powerful and influential of the group, overseeing everyone's wishes to keep them out of trouble, the key instrument in bringing in Harry from the first book, a long-found relative he asks Julius to train up in the way of the world. It is to he and his valet that they turn to rescue Silas in the second book....it's only fitting that his time has finally come here. I admit he was off-putting and too over-handed before to where I wasn't crazy about him, but now that I've been in his head, I totally get it. And Cyprian? He was always fascinating, from scene one in book one.
By exploring more of his nature, K.J. Charles kept the exciting character alive without changing him from previous impressions in other books, but he comes more fully alive and explained with his third tale. His friendship with Silas was hilarious - loved their interchanges, and now can't wait to read the free short story she just released as a bonus for joining her newsletter. The two as friends, doing stuff the "Lordships can't handle or fix themselves" is priceless. Street strength and loyalty crosses perfectly.
We see all of the group in this final full-length story, which just makes me want to re-read the series eventually. I'm sure I will, how can I resist otherwise? And the ending battle with Lord Maltravers, a worthy villain of the snobbish ton, was priceless. A great ending for our group - including Silas making another positive change in his life that I liked to see.
The story is a strong one on the emotional strengths and entangles the group always manages to get into - sigh, that sweet but hopeless Ash - so the bedroom play doesn't dominate the story. That comes much later after talking and thinking and the old song and dance between two people who love each other but can't cross that line to broach the breach. When it does come up, it's almost perfect, sweet and convincing and what I was hoping for.
If you like historical romantic m/m fiction, this series is an absolute MUST. Really, if you like any m/m fiction, this series is a must, historical fan or not.
Ash and Francis (Short Story) - The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh
Harry and Julius - A Fashionable Indulgence
Silas and Dominic - A Seditious Affair
Richard and Cyprian - A Gentleman's Position
“Such an easy thing, to be liked. All you had to do was make sure people didn’t know you.”