Cover Image: The Gentleman's Book of Vices

The Gentleman's Book of Vices

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Member Reviews

London, 1883. Charlie Price has reached one of the lower spots in his life - in only a few short  weeks he’s set to be married to a woman he cares for but could never love, and in deep debts as he’s lived past his credit for too long. He’s reached new levels of depression, and then a friend passes him a name: the real name of his favorite writer of erotic fiction. Reginald Cox is nom de plume for Miles Montague, owner of a small bookshop, and a man protective of his ghosts and his reputation. So when Charlie walks into Miles’s shop with a worn copy of Immorality Plays asking for an autograph, Miles is wary but still very intrigued. Being together feels easy - and yet with Charlie’s wedding looming and Miles’s business not bringing in any real money, it starts to feel like a life together is impossible 

I really enjoy Harlequin’s Carina Adores imprint, and when I heard they had a historical romance coming out, I raced to request an eARC. Charlie and Miles are such vibrant characters, and Jess Everlee brings them to life from the dark molly house to the worn apartment to the struggles they face within their more public personas. I was on the edge of my seat for the whole last half of the book, concerned about how Everlee would wrap this up, but I was ultimately both satisfied and surprised, even if it was a little tidy.  

One of my favorite components of Gentleman’s Book of Vices is the setting. Everlee gives us the dark alcoves of the molly house, a bright and open townhouse with a long-suffering butler, a charming bookstore, all of which helped to give a strong picture of her Victorian London. 

I’m always looking for more queer historical romances, especially as I continue my love affair with the Victorian Era, and I’m very excited for this debut from Jess Everlee to reach more readers.
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likeable characters and an interesting plot line.  Not the best queer historical fiction I've read, but certainly good.
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Unfortunately I didn’t love this book. While it was a fun read and I enjoyed the characters, I didn’t believe them, which made it hard to really get lost in the story. I also really disliked the ending. Some elements were really fun, but overall it was very deus ex machina and made it feel like the main characters hadn’t had any agency in the story
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The Gentleman’s Book of Vices is a queer historical romance novel set in London. Charlie likes to collect gay erotica and frequenting molly-houses in secret although he knows he may need to stop as he’s soon to be married. Charlie’s only agreed to this in order to clear the large debt he’s found himself in and while he’s gay, he figures this arrangement can’t be so bad, can it? Before he weds, he decides he needs his favourite erotica book signed by its mysterious author who turns out to be Miles, the owner of a local bookstore. Their first meeting doesn’t quite go as planned but soon Charlie and Miles start a passionate affair that has both of them questioning everything they thought they wanted.

The book was pretty good. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but it was by no means bad. I liked both Charlie and Miles – I liked that they were both flawed characters whose lives had shaped them by the time we meet them when they’re in their mid-thirties. Their chemistry was good, and I appreciated their banter.

However, I did feel the pacing was off at times and I found myself growing bored during some of the longer passages at the molly-house. I also found it quite strange how suddenly the book would cut to dark during the sex scenes when this is a book about an author writing filthy gay erotica – I kind of expected a bit more spice. I also didn’t love the ending and how it seemed like the entire big drama could’ve been so easily avoided if the characters just talked to each other much earlier. 

On another note, The Gentleman’s Book of Vices is a queer histrom with a main character with the last name Montague. Anyone else’s thoughts go straight to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, another queer histrom where one of the main characters also has the last name Montague? The actual plots are nothing alike, but those similarities just struck me.
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This was a lovely, spicy little historical read. Miles and Charlie were so sweet and it was nice to understand them as their own stories unfolded over the course of the book. I will say that this wasn't a super face-paced, plot-heavy read and I didn't need it to be because the vibes were great, but good know going into it.
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The Gentleman's Book of Vices is a fascinating period piece that captures the peril of same sex love in Victorian England, it's witty, it's smutty, and it's a deeply touching romance.  An unexpected pleasure!  So happy to see it is Book #1 in a series, as I look forward to reading more Jess Everlee books.
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This was sooo cute! All throughout this I constantly caught myself smiling and grinning like an idiot.

I loved Miles and Charlie's relationship. I was living for the grumpy/sunshine trope between them. Also all of Charlie's friends are amazing and his little found family was great.

if you're looking for a cute and adorable grumpy/sunshine romance set in 1800's England, look no further then this little gem!
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I really enjoyed this one. It was fun, well-written, and full of heart. There was a lot of historical relevancy, many period-accurate tidbits were woven and it made for a fascinating read. The cast of characters was diverse, fun, and intriguing. I loved the dialogue between many of them and I was immersed throughout. 

The romance was central to the plot and it was lovely. From the start, Charlie and Miles are head over heels and it's cute. There is a fair amount of angst but it never got too heavy-handed and it worked very well for the story. Interestingly there is no 'villain' in this. All of the 'issues' facing the characters are due to the time period, circumstances, and their own choices. It made for an interesting read and made it easy to root for pretty much everyone. 

I had a great time reading this and look forward to reading more by the author in the future. 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an e-arc of this in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you Netgalley and Carina for this arc. 

For the last couple of years I cannot recall reading a historical m/m romance that worked for me (maybe a couple or so did, I just do not remember), so when I was offered arc of your book I was tempted.

I certainly was not bored when I read this story. I don’t recall a historical romance which has the main characters meeting over one of the characters asking another one for an autograph.  I thought this was unusual and fun and I liked it.  I liked that even though both men had their own issues and they did not always deal with those issues right away, to me they still acted as adults even if sometimes misguided ones. Charlie and Miles, to me, were interesting characters. I enjoyed their interactions, chemistry and I actually found the sex scenes to be really fun. Please note that the sex had a little d/s element to me. They don’t talk about it in those terms, but one partner was more often in control and they both seemed to really enjoy it and so did I.

I loved the language of the story. I have to say again – I can miss anachronisms and if I did I apologize, but to my eye at least, overall the story did not read as anachronistic. I did feel that I was transported to end of the nineteenth century. Actually the whole story did not feel anachronistic. Miles, for example, had something happened to him few years before this book started and he is still dealing with the repercussions of that event on the pages of the book.

It felt very real and very time appropriate to me.  I know that many many LGBTGIA folks found their happy endings in the past centuries of course, but they could not live openly and they often could not express a “devil may care” attitude about whom they loved. I wish more historical romances would reflect that. I am not advocating for showing people being afraid all the time (of course that is a very valid and very possible scenario), I just feel like in many alleged historicals, characters throw caution to the wind and I am just not buying. I am glad that this book did not follow the trait.

I also liked that amongst the issues both characters were dealing with was figuring out how they were going to be making money even if they were approaching it from the different angles. Miles trying to decide what to do with his book shop and Charlie well, Charlie actually also had a profession he was good at. Charlie’s family were far from being poor, but they were not nobility either.

I think Charlie’s impending marriage plot also ended quite unexpectedly for me. I am sure I am not the only one who has read a historical m/m romances where the problems one of the main character is facing are solved by him getting married, then he and his wife miraculously remain friends and it turned out she was a lesbian too.  I don’t mind when this happens – super contrived, but I would take happy ending over no happy ending any time I can. Here the author went a different route and on one hand I was very grateful and on another super annoyed.

At the end we learn about a giant manipulation in Charlie and Miles’ story which cheapened their story for me a great deal.  I don’t care that good intentions were involved, I disliked it a lot.
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Thanks to the publisher for the complimentary hard-copy ARC & the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.

Jess Everlee’s The Gentleman’s Book of Vices feels so distinctive to me—it’s a MM Victorian romance set in a grim London that’s relieved by sex, friendship, genuine goodwill, & love, & all of these good things are related somehow plot-wise to the creation & publication of erotic texts written by one hero & read devotedly by the other.

Charlie Price is engaged out of what he feels is necessity. But before his wedding he decides to conduct an investigation into the real identity of a favorite Queer erotica writer—secretly a bookshop owner named Miles Montague—in the hopes of getting his autograph.

Soon after both men are drawn into a relationship that consumes them with desire, even as the “Real World” continues beating at their door.

Both men have to make difficult choices, particularly Charlie, who becomes aware of his privilege & for once wants to take a real & difficult stand for what’s right.

Everlee really builds up the suspense & the angst, & though I was frustrated for part of this plotline, by the end I was retrospectively happy about how it had all worked out as well as terribly relieved.

I love love the found family in this one & how Miles also realizes he can make new friends—that he can feel safe somewhere that isn’t home.

Though their relationship runs a bit fast for me—I felt like I was missing a little something from its arc—this is very good MM historical romance with a touching undercurrent of care & community that really warmed my heart. But also be advised this is not light reading material.

4.5⭐️. Out 11/29.

CWs: Imprisonment & death of Miles’s previous partner. Previous blackmail. References to self-destructive behavior. Shame surrounding Alma’s (Charlie’s former fiancé) pregnancy & the lingering effects of that labor. Her parents made her give up baby for adoption.

[ID: a white woman wearing jeans, a red sweater, & brown houndstooth booties stands in a yard & holds the book.]
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This story is told in third person dual points of view from Charlie and Miles. The adorable and lovable Charlie sets out to procure an autograph from his favorite smut author, Reginald Cox, in 1883 London and manages to scare the poor hermit, Miles Montague, hiding his identity in his late lover’s bookshop. Miles would rather be writing his smutty stories than keeping track of transactions and register drawers but letting go of the bookshop means letting go of Ethan. Miles assumes Charlie is there to shake him down but upon realizing his mistake, sets off to apologize and ends up the sommelier for Charlie’s wedding party. Wait, what? 

Charlie keeps his carefully curated smut locked away in a cabinet destined for a bank vault since in order to make good on his insurmountable debts, he is preparing to marry the lady his family has arranged. But what if he could find happiness with Miles and another way out of debt. Charlie is surrounded by a cast of colorful characters that hide many things about their personal lives even as they meet in secret and share vices. I enjoyed the characters in this book, especially Charlie’s sense of loyalty to his friends, including his fiancée Alma and the atrocities she might face were he to leave her at the final hour. I felt his love for Miles and his despair over his friendship with Alma and what would happen to her if he made the selfish choice. Will definitely read the next book in the series.

Thank you to Netgalley and Carina Adores for a copy provided for an honest review.
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If you’re looking for a LGBTQ+ historical fiction that will sweep you back to London 1883 with a grump and sunshine trope this one is for you. THE GENTLEMAN’S BOOK OF VICES is a story about two people trying to find happiness in a world that would see their love as a crime. What stood out most was how Everlee crafted the sense of urgency, desperation, and high level anxiety of being queer in 1883. Where, like Lee’s characters, readers will feel that constant tension of if these characters will have their happy ending.

And you want that for Charlie and Miles.

You become desperate yourself in wanting their happiness to last a lifetime.

Filled with humor, charmingly protective characters, while capturing the time period with authenticity and detail, readers will be ready for Everlee’s next story.

Happy Reading ~ Cece
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oh my god. i have recently been obsessed with reading historical romance and so far ive only been able to find passing mentions of queerness, never a full on story so this book was one i had to have. i am fully obsessed!
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I really enjoyed The Gentleman’s Book of Vices. I loved the differences  in and complexities of the characters. Charlie is so gregarious and delightfully hedonistic on the surface, but harbors a much deeper sadness underneath. Miles is so gruff and closed off but is hiding vast emotional wounds. The unlikely pairing makes for an engaging  story. I had an emotional connection to both characters and was able to feel their joy and their pain while reading. The book is well written. The setting and character descriptions are excellent and provide wonderful imagery for the reader. The passage of time is a bit distorted throughout the book. The chapters sometimes jump in time a bit. I was also hoping for more detailed love scenes. The first such scene was the most graphic and I expected the rest to build upon that, but they were all relatively tame from my perspective. That being said, I prefer a steamy romance, so this is just a note in my preference. Overall the book was well written with intriguing characters and a great deal of heart, I would read more books by this author.
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Charlie Price is delighted to finally know the true identity of his favorite author, but Miles Montague is horrified to have his illegal writings traced back to his previously untainted bookshop. Miles believes Charlie is there to blackmail him, but Charlie merely wants an autograph for his collection. After this misunderstanding, a relationship grows between the two men, who face a dilemma when Charlie is forced into a marriage of convenience.
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I really loved this book. The energy reminded me of some of my favorite period romances, but with queer characters and fun references to queer culture in the 180os that not everyone might know. The romance was well done, although I wish we could see a bit more character development and less wedding related shenanigans. Overall, an extremely fun read.
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This was a fun and lighthearted queer period romance that is sure to make a lot of people smile.
There is no villain, no blackmail and all the main characters are accepting and supportive, which is refreshing for a book set in the period where being gay could end in a death sentence.
I did not expect the multiple explicit scenes but I think that's my mistake for not reading the summary.
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In this book we meet Charlie Price, a bit of a disaster of a man (I say in the most loving way) who, knowing that he will soon be married to a lovely woman that he loves but is not in love with, makes it his mission to obtain the autograph of his favorite erotica writer as his last foray in bachelorhood before he must lock away his beloved and priceless smut collection after his wedding. 
Enter Miles Montague, the favorite erotica writer who has long ago given up the prospect of not living out his days alone and is becoming increasingly (understandably) paranoid with his identity being leaked. 

This book is funny in a tongue in cheek way, but also never shies away from bringing the heart. Both our main characters grow and learn from another and though they both push each other's boundaries, it’s never done in a way that feels forced. The relationship is very give and take and the only word I can think of to describe this piece is “gentle”, which is rather ironic in itself considering the subject matter of Mr. Miles Montague’s own works. 

This book reads quite a lot like a Cat Sebastion or KJ Charles novel (high praise) and though it gets dicey near the end there, I assure you, a happily ever after is coming! 

Special thanks to Carina Press & Carina Adores along with NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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I liked the developing love between Charlie and Miles.  I loved Charlie's friends.  I loved that Charlie was such a personality and was so outgoing in contrast to  outwardly staid Miles (it's always the quiet ones to look out for).  I did not expect to like the fiancée Alma as much as I did.   I spent much of the story feeling conflicted because as much as I loved Charlie and Miles and I was rooting for them I also wanted Alma to be happy as well. I thought she was a genuinely lovely person and I wanted a happy ending for her as well.  I enjoyed how the story came together and I loved that everyone I liked got their happy ending.
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Oh my gods. This book tore me up, chew me, and spat me out. And I loved it. Of all of the historical LGBT novels I have read, this one seems to be the closest to reality, with the worry of being caught warring with the love and happiness that the characters can find. I was rooting for the main characters while not knowing what was going to happen and preparing my heart for the worst. You should definitely read this book, if you are inclined to do so. You won't regret it.
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