Here’s the premise: shy, innocent Guy and his sparky sister Amanda are living in seclusion after a scandal. When Amanda breaks her leg in a riding accident, she’s forced to recuperate at the home of Sir Philip Rookwood, where he’s hosting a group of his disreputable friends. But the disreputable friends turn out to be artists and scientists and other intelligentsia, and Guy finds them fascinating. And the most fascinating of them all is Sir Philip himself, who is equally fascinated by Guy.
So yes, this is an m/m romance with a shedload of sex, so if that’s not your thing, steer clear.
However, the sex is (in many ways) less interesting than the cautious way the two men inch their way towards an understanding, and the experienced Philip leads the virginal Guy towards a relationship that’s far, far more than just sex. Most of the book is simply talking, as Guy attempts to work out exactly what he wants. As he gradually becomes more confident of his own wishes, he is not the only one who’s learning and opening up to new experiences. And let’s not forget the backdrop to this, for here we are in the Regency where homosexual acts carried the death penalty. The choices here are not at all straightforward.
The dramatic climax (so to speak) is a little over the top, but by that point I was quite happy to go along with it. If you don’t mind a lot of blokeish sex, I highly recommend this for the larger-than-life characters, the sparkling wit and the unconventional setting. This is as far from the traditional Regency of balls and Almacks and stupid misunderstandings as it’s possible to get. It’s clever and funny and a fine love story to boot. I found it an absolute delight. Five stars.