Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A beautiful lesbian love story wrapped in an intriguing mystery, this is most definitely KJ Charles at their best. No matter what the plot or who the characters, I always recognize this author’s writing style. The mystery is superb, the characters diverse and interesting, and the setting in rural England is beautiful.
Patricia (Pat) Merton is invited to a shooting party at a friend’s estate and is shocked to find that besides the men she expected to be there, her hunting buddy’s fiancé and a host of others have been invited. The All-England Ladies’ Shooting Champion, her hopes were for a peaceful hunt without having to deal with social niceties or other foolish games. Pheasant hunting is right up her alley. Sitting in the parlor with the ladies? Not so much.
Fenella (Fen) Caruth is lovely, in Pat’s estimation. Literally well-rounded, with a large-sized bosom and plenty of curves, she’s also charming, witty, and fun-loving, and Pat falls hard. But the house party isn’t all good times. The host’s son-in-law is a dastardly villain. In fact, I constantly pictured cartoon character Snidely Whiplash every time the man opened his mouth. He was so bad, he was almost a caricature, and yet, he wasn’t. He was serious about cutting people down and most serious about the blackmail schemes he engaged in—until he was stopped.
After a rough start, Pat and Fen gravitate together to solve the mystery. Aided by Pat’s brother Bill and her friend Jimmy, son of the Earl and next in line for the title, the quartet eventually put together a good working theory. And then another disaster strikes. I loved the pacing of this story. There’s so much to like. First, this underlying blackmailing cad constantly throws out tidbits meant to upset the whole household. Then, there’s a rift between engaged couple, Fen and Jimmy, and a romance develops between Pat and Fen, while another two couples pair off as well. In fact, there’s a lot of coupling and there’s explicit FF sex in the relationship with Pat and Fen that appears to be heading for a HEA by the end.
So those who don’t wish to read a FF romance, with a wonderful underlying mystery, should not pick this up. It would be a travesty to downgrade it due to a misunderstanding. This is a historical romance between women—two very unique, very engaging women at the turn of the 20th century. Those who appreciate KJ Charles’s work, with attention to historical detail and ability to hide the “bad guy” in a whodunit story, will love this book and I highly recommend it.
And a PS—the story takes place two years before Think of England (my first KJ Charles read) and the cover design is by the same artist. A pretty woman stands looking toward the sky against the background of an estate house. This is Pat and she’s beautifully portrayed in this artwork by Lexiconic Design.
Expected publication: May 8th 2019 by KJC Books
Original Title Proper English
Edition Language English
SeriesThink of England