The Gentleman's Book of Vices
A Gay Victorian Historical Romance
by Jess Everlee
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Pub Date 29 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 29 Dec 2022
Carina Press & Carina Adores (Harlequin), Carina Adores
Finely dressed and finely drunk, Charlie Price is a man dedicated to his vices. Chief among them is his explicit novel collection, though his impending marriage to a woman he can’t love will force his carefully curated collection into hiding.
Before it does, Charlie is determined to have one last hurrah: meeting his favorite author in person.
Miles Montague is more gifted as a smut writer than a shopkeep and uses his royalties to keep his flagging bookstore afloat. So when a cheerful dandy appears out of the mist with Miles's highly secret pen name on his pretty lips, Miles assumes the worst. But Charlie Price is no blackmailer; he’s Miles's biggest fan.
A scribbled signature on a worn book page sets off an affair as scorching as anything Miles has ever written. But Miles is clinging to a troubled past, while Charlie’s future has spun entirely out of his control…
Carina Adores is home to romantic love stories where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters.
Lucky Lovers of London
Book 1: The Gentleman's Book of Vices
Very possibly my 2022 best book of the year. Trapped in an impending marriage to a woman he likes but cannot love, happy-go-lucky Charlie is desperate to meet his favourite smut writer before sealing away his collection of explicit m/m novels forever. With his cheerful personality and sparkling wit, Charlie manages to coax bereaved and unsociable writer Miles back into the world of the living, as they embark on a forbidden, absolutely illegal, and beautifully scorching romance. But when one foot wrong or a single word out of place could spell a lengthy prison sentence, can Charlie and Miles find their happily ever after in Victorian London?
I am officially in love. I adored this book with my entire heart and soul. There were moments that had me full of joy, such as the gorgeous description of Charlie getting dressed to take Miles out to The Curious Fox; and beautifully soft, tender moments when Charlie and Miles believe they cannot be together. I loved how we got to see without question how deeply Charlie and Miles loved one another through their own narrative perspectives, and the obvious love the author has for these characters shines through on every page. They leapt straight out of the book. Charlie, in particular, I found such an engaging and loveable character. His physicality was wonderfully depicted, and I could so clearly see how everyone wants him to be their friend. I think the author did such a good job at showing her characters and who they were, to the point that this rarely explored part of Victorian London history was brought to vivid life.
I often find it's quite rare in a Romance for me to feel the relationship is ever in real jeopardy during the final Act, or that the reason for the characters breaking up ever holds its weight, but in this case, both were done so well, that I completely understood the difficulties Charlie found himself in, as well as feeling complete sympathy for Alma. I think the author did such a good job of demonstrating the very real difficulties people such as Charlie, Miles, and Alma would have lived through at this point in history, and the grief they would have to endure. Because of this aspect of the plot, I found myself feeling quite emotional, thinking about how The Gentleman's Book of Vices must offer a happy ending to honour so many who never got to experience one in their own lifetimes.
Beautiful, moving, tender, funny, endearing, I really can't recommend this book highly enough. I am grateful to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC of The Gentleman's Book of Vices. These opinions are my own.
That was even better than I anticipated. I knew it would be a fun read, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so tender and warm-hearted. Everlee succeeds at writing romance that is equal parts spicy and sweet. But this novel provides so much more than romance. It also turns a critical lens on Victorian society, putting the loving relationships of the “depraved” clubs alongside the distant and often shallow relationships of “proper” society to showcase the flaws of the status quo. The world building, lush prose, and layered characterization had me entirely captivated. The Gentleman’s Book of Vices is a celebration of art, love, queerness, self acceptance, and so much more. I really enjoyed it.
Fantastic! If you're a fan of KJ Charles or Cat Sebastian definitely pick up this book. However, I will warn you that it does get a bit stressful at times in ways that Charles and Sebastian typically avoid.
Charlie is a man who hangs out at his local gay bar and collects erotic novels. He just wants one last autograph before he puts his collection away to get married. Miles carefully hides his night job as an author of gay erotica and struggles to keep his bookstore afloat by day. When they meet, it's hard to tell whether their commonalities can override their individual attitudes towards hiding their sexuality.
One of the major plot points deals with the contrast between the way Miles is desperate to hide any indication that he might be gay (refusing to stock any erotic books at his shop) and how it clashes with the way Charlie carelessly frequents a gay bar (and--god forbid--has queer friends). The novel doesn't shy away from the danger of being gay at a time and place where jail is a very real consequence. And it was this plot point that had me looking up the book to make sure I was reading a romance and was actually going to get an HEA. Let me put your mind at rest and reassure you that there is an HEA!
My one other comment on the book is that there were a few "fade to black" type scene changes that took me off guard. It was the type of writing where everything is moving along and, suddenly, there's a larger paragraph break and it's the next day. These moments took me by surprise and took me out of the story, making me think more about plot devices and writing styles than the characters. I think there was even one of those moments where the character was remembering what had happened in the scene before, so it wasn't like we missed a key moment, but it felt jarring.
Overall, I loved the book! I can't wait to see what Everlee writes next!
The Gentleman’s Book of Vices is my number one read of 2022!
Jess Everlee depicts the most compelling and captivating romance of the year!
A m/m love story in the nineteenth century is something I never knew I needed, but now can’t picture myself without. The entire premise is remarkable and its execution is perfect!
A closed off risqué smut writer who ceased believing love was in the cards for him long ago.
An adamant follower of said works, a hopeless romantic who expresses himself without fear of consequence.
Together, they make the match of a lifetime. Apart, they are a shadow of their truest selves.
Will Charlie Price and Miles Montague’s story have a blissful ending? Or will circumstances tear them apart forever?
The only way I can describe The Gentlemen’s Book of Vices is in unintelligible rambles. In fact, I can not establish a proper response that would convey how impressed and thrilled I was by reading Everlee’s work. Still, I will try my best!
The Gentlemen’s Book of Vices is astronomical! It is officially over for me - I am obsessed with Miles Montague and Charlie Price. From their first meeting, it is obvious they have something unspoken between one another. If I went in with no knowledge on this book, I’d know Charlie and Miles were soulmates.
Everlee writes their interactions with sparks flying!
Above all, The Gentleman’s Book of Vices is a story of all-consuming love. It is a novel that speaks to readers’ hearts and pours devotion off of each page.
Equally important, Everlee shares some of the most intimate and tender scenes I have ever read! While this book is quite amorous, it displays passion and affection, like it is the easiest thing in the world. I’ve never read such blissful and all-consuming love that felt so real.
I can confirm, The Gentleman’s Book of Vices is a written work seen once in a lifetime. It is ethereal; it is romantic, and it is stunning! Every part of this novel comes together in perfect harmony!
Readers will never forget The Gentleman’s Book of Vices because it leaves a mark on one’s soul. Deep down, Everlee writes from her heart to every reader.
To conclude, I have already pre-ordered a copy and I hope you will too! It is the shining star of 2022 releases. Do not miss out on this novel! I wouldn’t miss it for the world! Word for word, on my life, if I died, I’d stick around as a ghost until I saw this novel through. Jess Everlee has written pure magic!
November 29, 2022. I’ll see you there!
Thanks to Carina Press & Carina Adores (Harlequin) and NetGalley for this ARC!
Charlie is engaged to a very nice girl, who he likes like a sister. He has many vices including spending most evenings at a "molly house" with his friends, as well as his large collection of erotic art and literature. In the weeks before his wedding his friend Jo offers him the oppurtunity to meet one of his favorite authors, and Charlie jumps at the opportunity. Miles is so far in the closet that he barely admits to himself that he enjoys the erotica he writes to keep his deceased partener's bookstore open. When some gentleman shows up requesting an autograph, he nearly dies of fright of the possible consequences of his secret being revealed. When he decides that his fear made him rude and he must apologize, he finds himself at Charlie's cake tasting pretending to be a sommelier as they unintentionally charm one another.
This book was so fun and sweet that I read it in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the characters of Charlie's found family and their acceptance of each other. I don't know how I would rate it for historical accuracy, but for a love story it was fantastic. 5/5 absolutely will recommend to those who need a love story with just the right amount of laughs, angst, joy and Happy-Ever-After!
Hey, big time shout out to NetGalley and Carina Adores for letting me read this book early because this is exactly what I needed to get out of my little reading slump! Those of you who watch my “currently reading” on the side of the homepage may have noticed that the book I read right before this took me over a month to read, which is very unusual for me. While trying to work my way through it, I started to feel a bit like reading wasn’t fun anymore, and maybe I should just do something else, and so on and so forth. After I finally finished it, I immediately went to my NetGalley shelf because I’d remembered I’d been approved for a historical romance because I figured if anything could get me to love reading again, it would be some fluffy, Victorian-era love. And boy, was I right!
On a previous review of a romance novel, I said the book had a three-act structure. After reading this romance novel, I’m wondering if three-act structures aren’t just key to how romances work, because this one has it as well! You have Act One: The Lead-Up, Act Two: The Honeymoon, and Act Three: The Fall-Out and Reconciliation. I think in some cases, the Fall-Out and Reconciliation can be separated into 2 separate acts, but in these last two books I read, I’m inclined to make them the same act because of their length in comparison to the rest of the story.
Now that I’ve talked about my theory of the construction of romance novels, I’m going to use that act structure to tell you why this book is so good and you need to read it right now.
Act One: The Lead-Up. Handsome, rich?, pretty boy Charlie Price is about to get married, and he’s planning to lock his collection of erotica away in a safe-deposit box in the near future. Before he does that, though, he needs one last thing to make it complete–the signature of one Reginald Cox, who is not only Charlie’s favorite author, but an author who nobody knows the real identity of. Enter to the scene a delightful side character Miss Jo. In this same scene, we meet a cast of other side characters like Miss Penelope, Warren, and Mr. Forester, who just add such color and depth to the story. And, finally, we meet Miles Montague, the true identity of the aforementioned Reginald Cox, his slightly absurd publisher, and his sad little bookstore. And then Charlie and Miles meet. Is it a pleasant meeting? No, not really, but it is the start of something absolutely fantastic, which brings us to…
Act Two: The Honeymoon, AKA the best part of any romance book, the part where they’re so in love it seems like nothing can go wrong. This is the part where there’s starry-eyed gazing at each other, and cute dinner dates, and all kinds of hanky panky… And for those of you, who like me, are not the biggest fans of reading graphic hanky panky scenes because they make you feel icky and uncomfy, have no fear, for this adorable romance is fade-to-black for the most part! There are some scenes that are a bit more graphic than fade-to-black, but they aren’t as graphic as an erotic novel by any means, and most of the sex happens off-screen. Charlie and Miles are so cute and sweet during this part of the book, just as they should be, but, alas, not even a romance novel can have no conflict, and so we get…
Act Three: the Fall-Out, AKA the worst part of any romance book. This is the part that gets you teary-eyed and puts a lump in your throat and also sometimes makes you want to punch the characters because they’re being idiots. One of the things I really like about the Fall-Out in Gentleman’s Book of Vices is that both of the characters are 100% making understandable choices at the time, and they’re doing it with all of the information. I’ve spoken before about how much I hate miscommunication as a means to creating conflict in romance novels, because if you’re miscommunicating so poorly that you end up breaking up…getting back together isn’t just going to fix what is obviously broken in your ability to communicate/trust/treat each other as equals/etc. Miscommunication isn’t the problem for Charlie and Miles; in fact, they’re really good at communicating their needs. Unfortunately, their needs and desires aren’t lining up with external pressures, and it leads to the fall-out. But have no fear! This is a romance novel! And, as everyone knows, the definition of a romance novel includes the words “happy ending” which is how we end up with…
Act Three Part 2: The Reconciliation. I will not spoil for you how reconciliation happens, but know that there are some fantastic side characters working in the background to make sure these two idiots can end up happy together, and these side characters are good at getting shit done.
I highly recommend this book for fans of historical romance everywhere. It’s immediately going on my list of books to purchase because I know it’s one I will reread a bajillion times.
This book was wonderful! I really felt for Charlie and Miles and the situations they found themselves in. The book takes place in the Oscar Wilde era, which makes any LGBTQ+ activity a crime. It was poignant to see how the characters carve out space where and friends with whom they can be themselves, despite the laws of the day. It made me very thankful for how far we have come in that respect. I enjoyed the supporting characters and really feel like they are the best types of friends one could have. The relationship between Miles and Charlie was so lovely and romantic and erotic. I would love to see more adventures with these two gentlemen!
The Victorian romance many queer readers have been searching for. Excellent writing and compelling characters. Recommended.
Absolutely wonderful in all of the best ways!
After reading the sample chapters available on NetGalley I knew I needed more and took a chance on requesting the full book. Luckily I was approved because I ADORED this book.
Historical Romance, especially when it involves LGBTQ is always my type of literature and this story perfectly captures the secrecy that era required. We have sunshine and loving Charlie who has consistently made wrong choices and gotten himself in to enough monetary trouble that he's being forced in to a loveless marriage to receive a bailout. Before he signs away his life though he wants one last hurrah in the form of getting an autograph by his favorite erotica writer.
What Charlie didn't know was that meeting this man in a quite failing bookshop was going to start a series of events that completely upends his life, his way of thinking and his way of loving.
Miles and Charlie were so incredibly wonderful to follow along with and the ensemble of this book is really enjoyable. Book 2 focuses on two characters I adored and I'm just as excited for that one too!
I could read this book a thousand times over and enjoy it just as much as the first. Its not very spicy despite the general plot of it but it has some strong scenes that fit with the book and aren't just there for gratuitous reasons. This book is beautifully written and I just couldn't put it down until I saw the ending. I would read an entire series of Charlie and Miles if given the opportunity.