After witnessing firsthand the horrors of Waterloo, Julius Norreys sought refuge behind the luxurious facade of the upper crust. Now he concerns himself exclusively with the cut of his coat and the quality of his boots. And yet his protégé is so unblemished by cynicism that he inspires the first flare of genuine desire Julius has felt in years. He cannot protect Harry from the worst excesses of society. But together they can withstand the high price of passion.
Comment: This book has been in the pile for some time but since I've liked so much the previous books by the author, I felt like reading this too and I'm so happy to say I was everything but disappointed because this story hit all the right notes for me.
This story is the first in a series featuring men from the Regency period in England, who have particular tastes and protect themselves through one of theirs, someone with some power and influence, Richard Vane.
Recently, Harry vane has been discovered by his grandfather to be his heir. His father, Alexander, was a radical and had a marriage his family didn't approve of. Now that no other heir exists, Harry's grandfather saves him from his poverty existence with the condition he has to put aside everything he ever known or defended. Harry says yes because he is, indeed, tired of poverty and uncertainty but can he really put aside everything his parents fought for?
To help him enter society there's Julius Norreys, a former official who is an expert in fashion and behavior of a gentleman. Richard is his friend and asks his help for his cousin Harry. But Harry finds in Julius much more than a simple teacher...
I had such a great time reading this novel and only put it down so I could sleep and work. I really liked the environment, the descriptions, the whole idea of bringing someone with a radical past to become the type of person opposite everything that person has always gone against.
The author has talent and the writing style somehow appeals to me quite a lot.
It also helps that the settings and plot have a purpose and a meaning, things aren't there just because, there's thought and care about which elements to use and that means the author thinks about how things will turn out, if they make sense to reader. I appreciate that a lot in books.
One of the best elements in this story is the difference in classes, which allows for some interesting debates and conflicts to arise. Harry's need to change, his desire for security, for something that allows him to have an easier life drives him to accept a bargain that, in the end, would always fight with his beliefs. He wants to have better life but at wat expense? I liked that, when the HEA is achieved, he manages to maintain his desires and his soul.
I liked Julius as well, especially after we learn why he is so serious, why he wants to make a statement with his clothes and his attitudes. I liked he was calmer and more thoughtful than Harry but together they balance each other well, neither is reckless but they are different enough for their relationship to suit.
The secondary characters are intriguing and I feel very curious to know more about them. I know who the next couples will be and I can't to see it develop based on the little clues we've got here. The author has done a great job letting us get small details, enough to make us want to read more.
The plot also evolved well, things aren't easy just because, characters have to work on what they face, they aren't silly, there's always a notion of reality in the air and that made the characters see more human to me. What happens in terms of plot is linked with character's personalities, some actions/decisions affect the plot and things happen because of it or by it. The whole plot-character mixing is done quite well.
I liked pretty much everything about this. I'd change one or two minor things, I believe that if Harry and Julius' relationship had started one or two chapters after that would have emphasized their attraction even more and made them look even better and perfect together but all things considered, it was great to read this, so... another winner, in my opinion.