REVIEW: The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen by KJ Charles


Bridgerton meets Poldark in this sweeping LGBTQIA+ Regency romance from award-winning author KJ Charles

Abandoned by his father as a small child, Sir Gareth Inglis has grown up prickly, cold, and well-used to disappointment. Even so, he longs for a connection, falling headfirst into a passionate anonymous affair that’s over almost as quickly as it began. Bitter at the sudden rejection, Gareth has little time to lick his wounds: his father has died, leaving him the family title, a rambling manor on the remote Romney Marsh…and the den of cutthroats and thieves that make its intricate waterways their home.

Joss Doomsday has run the Doomsday smuggling clan since he was a boy. His family is his life…which is why when the all-too-familiar new baronet testifies against Joss’s sister for a hanging offense, Joss acts fast, blackmailing Gareth with the secret of their relationship to force him to recant. Their reunion is anything but happy and the path forward everything but smooth, yet after the dust settles, neither can stay away. It’s a long road from there—full of danger and mysteries to be solved—yet somehow, along the way, this well-mannered gentleman may at last find true love with the least likely of scoundrels.



📕 Historical romance crossing the classes

📘 smugglers, intrigue, action

📙 characteristic KJ Charles sizzling connection

📗 twists and turns


My Thoughts

I’m familiar with the earlier work of KJ Charles. I’m a big fan of the “A Charm of Magpies” series. This prolific author has a variety of books for folks to choose from. While it’s been a while for me, I saw this one and wanted to read it. The blurb was intriguing and the book lived up to it!

“London” and “Kent” have met in London where they’re safe to be who they really are. For stolen moments in a private room, they enter into an affair without knowing who each other is. Their connection is immediate when they lock gazes and Charles does a wonderful job of building the beginnings of these two characters without initially revealing who they are. I was lost in the not-knowing just like the characters and was equally confused and surprised when “London” abruptly ended everything.

Sir Gareth Inglis is a newly anointed Baronette. Upon the death of his father, he inherited the home he’d never had including some characters from his father’s life. He moves to Romney Marsh to begin again and finds a challenging path ahead of himself.

Josiah Doomsday is the head of his smuggling family. He and Sir Gareth collide in court when legal matters come between them. Of course, these men have met before. The world of the marsh is very different from the anonymous world of London. The feelings between these two men may still be there, but they are living in a fishbowl… a fishbowl with crime, smuggling, violence and blackmail.

This is a delicious novel with plenty of spice from the chemistry between the main characters. The plot is purposely driven on two fronts… the forbidden romance and the mystery of missing gold and smuggling families. Charles always writes mystery and intrigue with great skill and I found myself thoroughly engaged throughout the story.



🖊 Author

🖊 Goodreads


I received an ARC of The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen by KJ Charles from Sourcebooks Casablanca via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

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