If you follow my reviews at all you may remember me proclaiming my love for The Will Darling Adventures earlier this year. I fell in love with Will Darling and Kim Secretan, the trilogy was full of action, danger, and romance – I couldn’t get enough. One of the secondary characters we meet is Kim’s boss, the mysterious DS. We don’t get to know very much about him but then I learned that he was actually one of the main characters in this novel! Naturally, I had to check it out to figure out what this guy was all about. So while this wasn’t really related to The Will Darling Adventures, it was still nice to be back in this universe in at least some capacity.
This was book 2 in the England World series but I read it fine as a standalone. You do meet the characters from the first book but I don’t think you have to have read that one in order to enjoy this one. As I mentioned earlier, this book features Daniel da Silva (known as DS in the Will Darling series) and Captain Archie Curtis. Curtis was horribly injured in a terrible military accident and is set on discovering if the loss of his fingers, livelihood, and friends was truly just an accident or if it was the result of sabotage. His quest takes him to a remote estate in the English countryside where he meets – and instantly clashes with – the sophisticated, foreign, and clearly queer Daniel da Silva. It turns out that da Silva is there with a mission of his own and it may be in Curtis’s best interest to work with da Silva rather than against him. A common goal isn’t the only thing they share. Much to Curtis’s surprise, the sexual tension between the two men is enough to leave Curtis questioning everything he thought he knew.
So much of what I loved about The Will Darling Adventures was here in this book as well. Chock full of intrigue, blackmail, scandal, and danger – you never knew what to expect. I was on the edge of my seat for much of the second half of the book! And woven seamlessly into that was a really great romance between Curtis and da Silva. My heart went out to da Silva because of how he was constantly treated by people, being both gay and Jewish in 1904 was not an easy life. He handled it well enough but you could see how it had hardened him out of self-preservation. Curtis was a gentleman through and through and even before his attraction to Daniel bloomed he was one of the few to treat him with kindness and the respect that he deserved. I loved seeing both Curtis’s awakening in terms of his own sexuality and how he broke through Daniel’s walls. Both men were proud and displayed great strength but we also saw a lot of vulnerability from both of them and it really endeared them to me. Between Curtis’s physical strength and Daniel’s cunning, the two were quite the pair when it came to uncovering the scandal and getting themselves out of more than one sticky situation.
Reading this book just reinforced my love for KJ Charles’s writing and I honestly can’t wait to work through more of her backlist (and of course scoop up whatever new works she comes out with)! If you’re a fan of queer romances and/or historical romances you definitely need to check her out!