Sometimes I’ll get a book that I know I’m going to like a lot and I’m reluctant to read it because then it will have been read. I got my e-arc quite some time ago and was resistant to reading it for weeks. And then I finally opened it yesterday and read with brief breaks for sleep and food. I knew I would love it, I’m so glad I finally read it, and now I’m jealous of everyone who gets to read it for the first time.
The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen open in London with two lovers meeting for a tryst. They know each other as London and Kent. When Kent announces he has to go home, London reacts badly. They part, never expecting to see each other again.
London is Gareth Inglis. Shortly after the incident at the bar, he finds out his neglectful father has died. He has inherited a baronet title, a house on Romney Marsh (in Kent), money, and a sister who didn’t know he existed. He discovers that his father was even more selfish than he knew, but also that they share a fascination with the plants and insects of the marsh.
The plot really gets rolling when Sir Gareth discovers that his former lover is Joss Doomsday, the head of a smuggling family/gang. After a very unpromising start, the two build a lovely relationship. The work through misunderstandings and the class division between them. The threat of exposure is real, but they also find that there are people in their lives who accept them. There is drama and high stakes aplenty with disgruntled family members, treason, and greed.
I found myself looking up maps and images of Romney Marsh and the beetles Gareth found so fascinating. I started dreaming about I definitely want this one on my physical shelf because the cover is gorgeous.
CW: homophobia, misogyny, assault, murder, physical abuse by parent to child, emotional abuse and neglect by parent, attempted murder of child, torture, threat of rape, threat of hanging, death of parents and family in past.
I received this as an advance reader copy from Sourcebooks Casablanca and NetGalley. My opinions are my own, freely and honestly given.