Review: ‘The Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting’ by K. J. Charles (Mild spoilers)

Its a beautiful day in Romancelandia and I’m here to review a book that has blue birds of joy tweeting all around me like I’m a fairy tale princess. Yes, its true. The new K.J. Charles is coming out soon and its glorious as ever. But first, the big things.

Content warnings and trigger warnings: Discussion of past physical, financial and verbal abuse of main characters and secondary characters, financial insecurity, deception between main characters and secondary characters, discussion of past deception between main and secondary characters, retelling of slurs used against main characters, internalized homophobia, periodic specific sexism, discussion of secondary character’s past enslavement and slavery in general and class disparity between main characters that results in some complex consent discussions. As always, feel free to reach out to me via twitter if you need more description or clarity on any of these before diving into the book.

I didn’t quite know what to expect, as K.J had said on Twitter that this book had essentially abducted her muse and run off with it while she was trying to write another book. But clearly, it knew what it was about.

Robin Loxleigh (obviously not his real name) and Marianne Loxleigh (also so not her real name) have come to London with one goal: to marry rich and finally be secure. By hook or by crook or by heated look, they will make it happen.

There’s just one problem: feelings. Those pesky things. Oh and consciences and also the fact that the wealthy person Marianne eventually ends up going for is an absolute turd of the finest water by the name of Lord Tachbrook, a wealthy marquess. Robin sets his eyes on a slightly less elevated mark of young Alice Fenwick, a plain girl with a secret fortune that will be bestowed upon her following her marriage. However, Robin begins to like Alice and finds himself somewhat conflicted about his decision to marry her, knowing that he is not attracted to women.

Enter Hartlebury, Alice’s uncle by marriage who senses that perhaps not everything is as it should be with Robin. Though a peer himself, Hartlebury manages the brewery for his sister after her husband’s passing and enjoys himself far more spending time with Cits and those of lower class than himself. He begins the process of finding out why a handsome, charming man like Robin all of a sudden wants to hover around his plain, bookish niece. In the process, he finds himself looking a bit closer at Robin than is really comfortable for both of them, until its quite comfortable.

I won’t go into too much more detail, because frankly the fun of this book is watching it all unfold, but its utterly spectacular. A true Happily Ever After at the end for all involved, with trouncing of classist jerks and freedom to be who they are for others. If you’re feeling a bit stifled by the world and wanting a way out, I can’t recommend this book enough. It hits all the right points and leaves one slightly unable to start another book afterwards cause you know it won’t quite live up until the book high wears off.

As always, I received this book in exchange for an honest review and cannot tell you how happy I am to own it. I’ll probably reread it later this week, just for fun, but snag a copy, you won’t regret it.

Until next time,

NJB

Review: K.J. Charles’s ‘The Sugared Game’ (Spoiler free)

I often say that the highest amount of praise I can offer a book these days is saying I lost sleep reading it in the wee hours of the night. What with having a toddler at home these days, sleep is the most precious of currencies, only outweighed by alone time.

I woke up 2 am randomly and decided to finish this book if that tells you anything. I am currently typing this review at 4:45 am.

Its really good. Like really good.

Ok, so some TW and CW: Death, dismemberment, period typical homophobia, deceit, conflict between family, misogyny, health difficulties, survivor’s guilt, discussion of prior self harming habits, and a great deal of lying on many people’s parts.

So, if you read the previous book, you will know that Kim Secretan, our erstwhile protagonist’s love interest, is the truest meaning of a disaster. At the beginning of the book, we find out that he has scampered off after a lovely time with Will Darling, our protagonist and failed to call.

Clearly, he has issues. But Will, while good naturedly stomping around his bookshop and attempting to take his best friend out for drinks, stumbles back into his world by chance and the whole merry go round starts again.

We’ve got Zodiac back in the picture, a lot of skulking about, smooching in shadows and, from my part, the intensely desperate desire to get Kim into therapy if it exists at this time.

The book is also a fascinating look at how damaging the Great War was to England and how it changed ideas of class and proper behavior. I always love K.J.’s attention to detail and period.

Its very much got the feel of some of the later Feximal books, so fans of that will likely enjoy it. I would say its blood and gore content is roughly equivalent to a modern mystery show, like Elementary.

However, if you love mystery, suspense, figuring out your sexuality on the run and being slightly too attached to your weapons for anyone’s comfort, you will love this book. I can’t wait to read the next one and god I hope someone gives Kim a nice holiday and some books on loving yourself or something cause he is going to make me cry at this rate.

Until next time,

Not Just a Buzzword