A Christmas stopover with Jack and Ethan

Interlude: First NoelInterlude: First Noel by Tal Bauer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s weird going back with Jack and Ethan to see their first Christmas together after the story had moved on in time at the end of book one.

But it’s also a really sweet insight into how they made their long distance relationship work after Ethan got banished to Iowa.

There’s also a nice little side plot with an investigation into counterfeiting which takes a sideways turn into an FBI murder case while Ethan deals with his local chief not wanting him there.

Their actual Christmas together is seriously sweet and emotionally satisfying.

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Utterly compelling end to this Regency series

A Gentleman's Position (Society of Gentlemen, #3)A Gentleman’s Position by K.J. Charles

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh Richard, you and your sense of position and fear of abusing your power, you beautiful idiot. And David, brilliantly clever David, what a pair you made.

This book stunningly brings to a close Charles’ Society of Gentlemen stories with a pairing which is both utterly compelling and also extremely frustrating as society position and hide-bound adherence to the rules of the Ton keep two men so obviously perfect for each other apart.

There’s not as much overt politics on this one, it’s much closer in tone to a traditional Regency romance with the hero fighting to overcome obstacles in his way and learning a few painful home truths along the way.

There’s also more of a sense of adventuring in this one as the Ricardians must rely once more on David’s impressive talents to keep their secrets and see off once and for all an enemy of the group.

There were odd bits which I didn’t think worked quite as well as the previous novels when Charles used actual political events to twist her plot around. Richard’s trip to the wilds of Yorkshire to visit his estranged mother seemed simply to be a vehicle through which he and David could be alone enough to ‘have a moment’ rather than a necessary journey.

However, that’s the only real niggle in what is another wonderfully realised glimpse into a period of history which saw huge political unrest and change in Britain.

Oh and a final thought, Charles brilliantly places people of colour and a ftm transgender character right into the heart of this world with narry a second thought. Their skin colour and sexual identities are referred to only in passing and only as part of a deeper exploration of the incredibly dangerous line this group of men were following simply because they loved within their own gender.
I think sometimes it pays us well as a society to see how far things have changed and why they still need to go further and why we should never stop fighting for people to be allowed to love.

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