A Seditious Affair by KJ Charles #LGBT #AudioReview #RGRGiveaway

A Seditious Affair (Society of Gentlemen series, Book 2) by KJ Charles (Published by Loveswept, December 15, 2015, 253 pages. Released on audiobook December 15, 2015, 7 hrs and 22 min length. Narrated by Matthew Lloyd Davies)

During RGR’s anniversary celebration the readers had a chance to vote for which books they wanted us to review the most. A Seditious Affair was one of them. Because I loved book 1 of the series and  had already purchased the audiobook, I gladly picked it to review for Reader’s Choice Week. The author also took some time to answer interview questions and offered an ebook giveaway.

*****

seditious affair

Blurb: 

K. J. Charles turns up the heat in her new Society of Gentlemen novel as two lovers face off in a sensual duel that challenges their deepest beliefs.

Silas Mason has no illusions about himself. He’s not lovable or even likable. He’s an overbearing idealist, a radical bookseller and pamphleteer who lives for revolution…and for Wednesday nights. Every week he meets anonymously with the same man, in whom Silas has discovered the ideal meld of intellectual companionship and absolute obedience to his sexual commands. But, unbeknownst to Silas, his closest friend is also his greatest enemy, with the power to see him hanged – or spare his life.

A loyal, well-born gentleman official, Dominic Frey is torn apart by his affair with Silas. By the light of day, he cannot fathom the intoxicating lust that drives him to meet with the radical week after week. In the bedroom everything else falls away. Their needs match, and they are united by sympathy for each other’s deepest vulnerabilities. But when Silas’ politics earn him a death sentence, desire clashes with duty, and Dominic finds himself doing everything he can to save the man who stole his heart.

Buy links:  Amazon | ARe | B&N | Audible  Add to Goodreads

*****

Interview

1) When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I don’t honestly remember. I’d spent a lifetime narrating stories in my head before it occurred to me that writing them down might be a useful next step. I didn’t start doing that till my mid 20s.

2) Are there any books or authors that inspired you to tell your own stories?

Um, all of them really. For me it’s a combination of loving all the wonderful books and narratives and facts out there, and wanting the story someone else hasn’t written for me yet so I have to do it myself.

3) What is more difficult, editing or research?

The one I have to do today. :/

4) It seems like most of your books take place in the 1800’s, British society. What inspired you to write in that time period?

I love the Victorian period, its history and novels. That’s my natural home. The early 1800s takes more work but it’s so interesting. I love political upheaval, class turmoil, rigid power structures that are begging to be subverted. And I really love writing about periods where keeping up appearances is crucial, and all the skulduggery and shenanigans are behind closed doors. Power play and false fronts are my favourite things.

5) How difficult is it to write a gay romance in a time where it was outlawed?

Completely depends on your set-up. In the case of Society of Gentlemen, it’s set at a point where sodomy could get you the death sentence. But equally, it’s a time of huge homosociality, where men were expected to spend time together, and privilege for the few. My wealthy Lord Richard can afford to buy safety. Other characters can’t.

6) The Society of Gentleman series is written in a time of political unrest and there is frustration building in the social classes. Do you feel this is relatable at this time in particular? Was there any message you hoped to get through to readers?

A lot of political resonances came across while I was writing, with the current rise in poverty, austerity and the wage gap, many issues that I hadn’t seen coming. If I have a message, it’s that ordinary people fought and struggled and died for the right to vote, and powerful people ordered them killed or imprisoned to keep them from having it. When we don’t vote, we give away a power that is so great, and so frightening to the ruling classes, that people were literally cut down en masse with sabres to prevent them demanding it. Vote for who you like, vote for who you least hate, but in heaven’s name, vote.

7) Do you have any plans on continuing this series beyond a trilogy?

I don’t, I fear. I loved doing it but it was always planned as a very intricately linked trilogy. There will be a Christmas coda though!

8) I love that the series is on audiobook now. How difficult was it choosing a narrator?

Not. I was sent a batch of sample voices, and replied with “Matthew Lloyd Davies or bust”, basically. I’m so thrilled I got his narration for the whole series, he’s brilliant.

9) Do you plan to release your Charm of Magpies series on audiobook as well?

Samhain, the publisher, hold the audio rights, so there’s nothing I can do about that. It would be lovely to have audio, but it’s out of my hands.

10) Can you tell us about any future books or series you have in the works?

I’m working on another historical trilogy, mostly m/m, which is in the Victorian Sensation tradition. Gaslight, fog, intrigue, family secrets, sordid goings-on, fake spiritualists, taxidermy, music hall, inheritance plots, murder, and plenty of romance between the kind of Victorians who definitely didn’t cover up their piano legs. (That is, incidentally, a total myth: covers on piano legs were furniture protectors, not anti-sexual-thought devices.)

Thank you for having me!

*****

Review

The narration: I think Matthew Lloyd Davies was the perfect voice for this series. There is the fact that he has an English accent and that is appropriate for a story set in the English regency era. He was so effective in creating different voices for the different characters, with a crisp, proper accent for the wealthy Tory, Dominic, and a roughened cockney accent for the seditionist, Silas. It was an enjoyable listening experience and I would listen to more from this narrator.

The story: I was a huge fan of historical romances before reading m/m romance, and I’ve recently renewed my love for historical novels within this genre. I’ve always felt I’ve take away a better knowledge of history from reading books set in different time periods along with enjoying a great romance. This series is no different. In school, I learned about revolutions against English rule by countries such as France and the USA, but didn’t know much about the political unrest among the English people opposed to the government. Though the first book touched on it briefly, A Seditious Affair delves more deeply into the unfair treatment of the poorer classes and the punishments for breaking the law.

There is so much I love about the book, it’s difficult to decide where to start. The characters Silas and Dominic come from two different classes of society. Dominic is wealthy and conservative and Silas is poor and radical. The two meet through an arrangement because Dominic has needs that can’t be filled by just anyone. It’s not just that he’s gay, because even though that is very illegal in this time period, he belongs to a group of friends called the Ricardians that all engage in homosexual activities. His former lover Richard ensures that the men have a safe place to spend their time together but drew the line when it came to Dominic’s darker needs to submit to another’s control, to be bound and flogged. Silas, who has been whipped for breaking the law, can’t bring himself to cause physical pain to Dominic, but he does provide the domination and humiliation that Dominic needs. I really liked the element of BDSM in this story because even though it was acceptable among the friends, at least, to fall in love with another man, it is something that sets Dominic apart in a different way, in a way that only Silas understands.

Silas is portrayed as very gruff, he dominates Dominic in the bedroom, and publishes radical literature against the government, but he is so much more as a character. His treatment of Dominic is very lover-like and he encourages the man to not feel guilty or ashamed of his needs. Silas also helps out those in his neighborhood when they are taken advantage of, he would never incriminate anyone else to save himself, and his deep friendship with Harry from book one show him to actually be one of the best characters in the story, even though the law would never see it that way. It made me really like him. I like how Dominic was around him as well.  What I like about a gay romance set in this time period is that both characters could be strong and opinionated because they are men, but because of the illegality of their relationship it does have it’s drawbacks. Silas and Dominic won’t be able to have a traditional happily ever after, but I do think that author created a next best possible scenario.

Besides the love story going on in this book, there is a tale of politics and revolution. I’ve mentioned it quite a bit as Silas is under suspicion of treason because of the books he sells and the pamphlets he produces in secrecy. They say that history repeats itself, and I truly feel that this story is very identifiable in these present times, and in many countries. I see it myself in the political elections coming up in the US. When reading this story I felt very connected to it, not only because I love a good love story but because of the politics. It resonated with me more than the first book, though I loved that one, too. I also can’t wait to start reading the third book of the trilogy. I definitely  recommend this book and the series.

10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars

pot of gold

*****
Giveaway
KJ Charles is giving away one ebook copy of A Seditious Affair.
Comment on this post along with your email and preffered format for your chance to win.
Contest ends on May 5th, 2016 at 11:59 pm CDT
Rules and Restrictions apply. Must be 18 to enter.
*****

AuthorBio

KJ Charles is a writer and freelance editor. She lives in London with her husband, two kids, an out-of-control garden and an increasingly murderous cat.

KJ writes mostly romance, gay and straight, frequently historical, and usually with some fantasy or horror in there. She specialises in editing romance, especially historical and fantasy, and also edits children’s fiction.

Find her on Twitter @kj_charles or on Facebook, join her Facebook group, or email her at kjcharleswriter {at] gmail {dot} com. She is represented by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency, and published by Samhain and Loveswept.

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4 thoughts on “A Seditious Affair by KJ Charles #LGBT #AudioReview #RGRGiveaway

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